SILVIS, Ill. – Third-round leader Patrick Rodgers knew that it would take a ton of birdies Sunday to win the John Deere Classic.
Bryson DeChambeau took that advice to heart.
DeChambeau overcame a four-stroke deficit to beat Rodgers by a stroke for his first PGA Tour title – and a spot next week in the British Open.
The 23-year-old DeChambeau birdied four of the final six holes at TPC Deere Run for a 6-under 65 and an 18-under 266 total. In 2015, the unconventional former SMU star became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year.
The win punctuated a comeback of sorts for DeChambeau, who capped a string of eight consecutive missed cuts last month in the U.S. Open — where he was 6 over for two rounds.
“I was able to right the ship about three or four weeks ago, and it’s been steady Eddie ever since,” DeChambeau said. “It is vindication.”
Rodgers closed with 70.
DeChambeau made a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to pull even with Rodgers. Rodgers then had a par putt on No. 17 lip out, and sent his tee shot on 18 into the rough.
“He’s a great competitor, and I was kind of shocked he bogeyed 17,” DeChambeau said about Rodgers. “I thought I was going to be in a playoff.”
Wesley Bryan (64) and Rick Lamb (66) tied for third at 16 under, and past tournament champions Steve Stricker (64) and Zach Johnson (67) topped the group at 15 under.
DeChambeau became the 10th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.
“Our tendency when you have the lead is to kind of hold on and play safe and guard against making mistakes,” said Rodgers, who remained winless on the PGA Tour. “But I had guys coming at me with some really low rounds. Obviously, Bryson shot a great one.”
Stricker, who won at TPC Deere Run from 2009-11, grabbed a share of the lead before Rodgers teed off Sunday.
The 50-year-old Stricker went 8-under par through 14 holes to jump all the way up from 34th place. But his only bogey came on the 18th hole, when his par putt grazed the cup.
“Realistically, if I could have made a couple more birdies there and could have got it to 18-under, who knows? Just couldn’t get it in there,” Stricker said.
EUROPEAN: In Irvine, Scotland, Rafa Cabrera Bello birdied the first hole of a playoff with Callum Shinkwin to win the Scottish Open, securing his first title in 51/2 years.
Shinkwin left short a 4-foot par putt for victory on his 72nd hole to shoot a 4-under 68 in his final round and drop into a playoff with Cabrera Bello, who shot a course-record 8-under 64. Both were on 13 under par overall.
Returning to the 18th at Dundonald Links, Cabrera Bello sent his second shot from 275 yards to within 8 feet. His eagle putt came short but he tapped in for birdie, leaving Shinkwin a 7-foot birdie putt to force a second hole.
Again, his putt didn’t reach the cup.
CHAMPIONS: In Owings Mills, Maryland, Scott McCarron shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Sunday and took advantage of an uncharacteristic crash by three-time defending champion Bernhard Langer to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
McCarron finished 18 under to beat Langer and Brandt Jobe by one shot. The 51-year-old McCarron made up a six-shot deficit in the final round to capture his first major on the PGA Tour Champions.