Sensational Spieth at it again
Jordan Spieth beat Tom Gillis on the second play-off hole to complete the perfect tune-up for The Open by winning the John Deere Classic.
The Masters and U.S Open champion will be bidding for his third straight major title at St Andrews next week, and he heads to Scotland in the best possible way after claiming his fourth PGA Tour win of the season.
Having held a two-shot lead overnight, Spieth fired a three-under round of 68 to finish on 20-under, a mark he was joined on by the unheralded Gillis who carded a closing 64.
Spieth had a chance to finish the contest at the first play-off hole, but lipped his birdie putt. With the pair heading to the 18th for a third time on Sunday, it was Spieth who held firm, registering a par after Gillis found the water with his approach.
After carding a career-best 10-under 61 on Saturday, the Texan’s second title at TPC Deere Run in three years looked in jeopardy after he failed to get moving on the opening nine on Sunday, with a bogey at the first one of two dropped shots in the first nine holes.
Spieth surrendered a further shot at the 11th to fall off the pace, but four birdies in five holes from the 13th to the 17th – which included a chip-in from the fringe at 16 – saw the 21-year-old force a play-off after he was unable to sink a 30-foot putt for the win at 18.
Gills, who at 46 was bidding to become the oldest first-time winner on the PGA Tour in 20 years, had set the early clubhouse pace after a round of eight-under 64 which was powered by a red-hot front nine that included six birdies and a lone bogey at the ninth.
Three more birdies followed on the back nine, before a bogey at the par-three 16th pulled Gills back to 20-under.
Zach Johnson (65) and Danny Lee (67) just missed out on a place in the play-off after finishing on 19-under, and both players will have reason to feel disappointed to fall just short.
Lee bogeyed the last to drop back from 20-under, while Johnson failed to pick up a shot on the last seven holes, having started the day in top form with seven birdies and a single birdie in the first 11 holes.
Chris Stroud (63), Johnson Wagner (67), and Justin Thomas (67), finished in a tie for sixth on 18-under.
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