By Jordan Zuniga
This year’s John Deere Classic was a thriller, and it was especially thrilling for the winner, the 23 year-old Bryson DeChambeau.
The 46th-annual John Deere Classic was played at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
DeChambeau played well all weekend, and he started Sunday’s round with sole possession of second place at 11-under. He was 2 shots behind leader Patrick Rodgers.
Halfway through the final round, DeChambeau ran into trouble; he was even on the front nine and several shots back from the lead.
Instead of crumbling under the pressure, DeChambeau rallied, birdieing back-to-back holes on 10 and 11, then doing it again on 13 and 14.
At this point, DeChambeau was right back in the thick of things with a solid chance at his first-ever PGA Tour victory.
He needed a strong finish in order to win, and he did just that. Once again, he birdied the last two holes to finish the final round 6-under.
As DeChambeau saw the ball go in on his final hole to tie him for the lead with Rodgers, he was visibly excited.
Because DeChambeau finished his round tied for first, he had to sit and watch Rodgers play the final two holes and hope that Rodgers would at least bogey one of them.
His prayers were answered, apparently. Rodgers hit his drive on 17 into the rough and ended up bogeying the hole.
This meant that Rodgers needed a birdie on 18 to tie DeChambeau for the lead at 18-under.
Rodgers came oh-so close, but his ball barely missed the hole, giving DeChambeau the win.
DeChambeau, who was the fifth player to win the NCAA Division 1 Championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year, now has a PGA tournament. The SMU alumnus finished the tournament with a four-round total of 266.
Zach Johnson also competed at the Deere Classic; he was born in Iowa City, and he won the 2012 Deere Classic.
He finished the tournament tied for fifth with a 72-hole total of 269, which put him at 15-under for the tournament.
Johnson started off Sunday strong, shooting 4-under on the day after the front nine, even finding himself tied for the lead at one point.
But it was a pace he could not keep up, going even on the back nine, which put him 3 strokes behind the leader.