Thompson wins first PGA Tour title at John Deere

Sports

SILVIS, Ill. — Davis Thompson won his first PGA Tour title Sunday with a 7-under 64 to set the 72-hole scoring record at the John Deere Classic and leave all the drama to second place.

Staked to a two-shot lead, Thompson made a 45-foot birdie putt on the opening hole and no one got any closer to him the rest of the way. He opened with five birdies in six holes, stretched his lead to six shots and ended up winning by four strokes.

Thompson, a 25-year-old from Georgia, finished at 28-under 256 to break by one the John Deere Classic record set by Michael Kim in 2018.

The victory gets him into the next three majors, starting with the British Open in two weeks at Royal Troon. He also will make his Masters debut next April.

Thompson is the 24th player to get his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic, the most of any tournament dating to 1970.

The final hour was all about who would finish second and earn the other spot to the British Open. That went to C.T. Pan of Taiwan, who birdied the 16th and 17th holes and finished with a two-putt par from 20 feet for a 64.

But a pair of youngsters made him sweat it out.

Florida State sophomore Luke Clanton holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 63 and was the first to get to 24 under. Michael Thorbjornsen, the No. 1 player in the PGA Tour University ranking after finishing at Stanford, hit out of a fairway bunker to 18 feet and made the birdie putt for a 63 to join Clanton.

With a three-way tie for second, the British Open spot went to Pan based on the world ranking.

Clanton, meanwhile, became the first amateur since Billy Joe Patton in 1958 to finish in the top 10 in consecutive PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments. Patton was low amateur at the Masters and the U.S. Open that year. Clanton tied for 10th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week.

Clanton’s last two weeks would have been worth just over $804,000 if he had been pro.

Carson Young also was in the running for second place and would have earned the British Open spot. But on the 18th hole, he went from the right rough over the green, chipped about 25 feet by the hole and missed the par putt. He shot 63.

As for the winner, that was never in doubt. Along with that 45-foot birdie putt to start, Thompson rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 5 and had seven birdies through 10 holes.

He finally dropped a shot on the par-4 12th, and Thorbjornsen looked to have a chance to at least make it interesting. The Massachusetts native ran off six straight birdies and was playing the reachable par-4 14th. But his drive went well to the right and he hit a heavy chip to some 35 feet. He three-putted for bogey, missing a 4-foot par putt.

Thompson is in his second year on the PGA Tour and he was a runner-up last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. His hope was to keep the momentum going.

Perhaps his choice of lodging played a role, too.

Several players from Georgia have been renting a house near the John Deere Classic for the last few years. J.T. Poston stayed there when he won the Deere two years ago. Sepp Straka stayed in the house last year and won.

Straka brought his wife and young son with him this year and gave up his room to Thompson.

“I think I have to pay for the whole house, which is unfortunate,” Thompson said with a smile. “But I’ll gladly pay it.”

The victory was worth $1,440,000. It also moves Thompson to No. 22 in the FedEx Cup standings, all but assuring he will be in all the signature events next year.

Jordan Spieth, playing the Deere for the first time since he won it in 2015, never got anything going and made three straight bogeys around the turn. He closed with a 70 and tied for 26th, leaving him in 59th in the FedEx Cup with four weeks left in the regular season.

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