It was an act of desperation that landed Jordan Spieth in a three-man playoff for the John Deere Classic. It was an act of bravado that won it for him.
Spieth, who turns 20 on July 27, won at TPC Deere Run with a par on the fifth playoff hole, defeating defending champion Zach Johnson and Canadian David Hearn. After all three players hit poor tee shots to the right of the fairway at the par-4 18th, Spieth hit a gutsy second shot leaving him just beyond the green. A two-putt par locked up the win, after Johnson found the water with his approach and Hearn could not make par from a similar position.
With the win, the native Texan became the first teenager to win a PGA Tour-recognized event in 82 years and the fourth-youngest recognized champion in Tour history.
The 19-year-old posted a 19-under total by making five birdies in the final six holes of the tournament, including a holed-out bunker shot for birdie on the 72nd hole.
Youngest Winners on the PGA Tour
19 years, 4 days, Harry Cooper, 1923 Galveston Open
19 years, 8 months, 3 days, Ralph Guldahl, 1931 Santa Monica Open
19 years, 10 months, 14 days, Johnny McDermott, 1911 U.S. Open
19 years, 11 months, 18 days, Jordan Spieth, 2013 John Deere Classic
With a good lie in the bunker, Spieth struck the shot too well, facing going long into the water hazard directly across from him. Instead, the ball took once bounce, struck the flagstick and went down into the hole for birdie.
When Zach Johnson bogeyed the final hole and Hearn made a 6-footer for par, the playoff trio was set.
For Spieth, the win gives him instant PGA Tour membership, an entry into next week’s Open Championship at Muirfield and high standing in the FedEx Cup points race. Only PGA Tour members can compete in the Playoffs, and Spieth’s win not only affords him that but also retroactively rewards him all of the FedEx Cup points he hypothetically earned in his other 2013 PGA Tour starts. He now sits 11th in points after having no standing a week ago at The Greenbrier.