SILVIS, Ill. – Jordan Spieth has accomplished something that superstars Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy never did.
Spieth won a PGA Tour event as a teenager — and now he is joining those stars at the British Open, which starts Thursday.
The 19-year-old defeated defending champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn on the fifth hole of a playoff Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years.
Dallas native Spieth won the playoff with a short par putt to earn a spot in the field at Muirfield in Scotland. He is the first teenager to win on the PGA Tour since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.
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“I didn’t think it would happen this early,” said Spieth, who turned pro in December after an All-American season as a freshman at the University of Texas. “I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded.”
Spieth was seven strokes off the lead with 17 holes to play but got into the playoff with three straight birdies at the end of regulation. The last came when he holed out of a bunker from 44 feet for a final round of 6-under-par 65.
“The shot on 18 was the luckiest shot I ever hit in my life,” Spieth said. “The fact that it bounced right and hit the pin and dropped down to the cup, it’s just extremely fortunate.”
Spieth, Johnson (68) and Hearn (69) were at 19-under 265 after 72 holes and each parred the first four playoff holes. Spieth earned $828,000.
Woods, Mickelson and McIlroy were all 20 when they picked up their first PGA Tour victories. Spieth is the fourth-youngest winner in Tour history.
The victory also earned Spieth a berth in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Ryan Moore (69) of Puyallup tied for 22nd place at 13 under.
Perry takes another major title
OMAHA, Neb. – Kenny Perry is getting the hang of these major tournaments. He only wishes it had happened sooner.
Perry completed a masterful performance with a 7-under 63 that gave him a five-shot victory over Fred Funk in the U.S. Senior Open.
The 52-year-old Kentuckian won his second consecutive senior major with a flurry. Perry’s 64-63 finish and the 10-shot deficit he overcame after 36 holes set tournament records. His 13-under 267 matched the lowest four-round score.
“It all came together. Why, after all these years?” said Perry, who earned $500,000. “Here I am, (almost) 53 years old, and it finally came together for me.”
On the PGA Tour, Perry won 14 times but was also known for collapses in the 2009 Masters and 1996 PGA Championship. Those memories haunted him again in May when he squandered a three-shot lead with six holes to play in the Senior PGA Championship and lost by two to Kohki Idoki.
“This is by far the biggest tournament I ever won,” Perry said. “I lost the playoff at the Masters and the PGA playoff. I didn’t get the job done.”
Kirk Triplett (65), a graduate of Pullman High School, tied for ninth place at 2 under and Seattle native Fred Couples (69) tied for 14th at 1 under.
• Mickelson prepped for the British Open by winning the Scottish Open in a playoff over Branden Grace at Castle Stuart in Inverness.
Mickelson birdied the first playoff hole after he and Grace shot final-round 69s to finish at 17-under 271 for 72 holes. Mickelson, 43, earned $740,000 for his 48th worldwide victory as a pro.
• South Korean Hee Young Park beat American Angela Stanford with a birdie on the third playoff hole to win the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Grey Silo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
They were at 26-under 258 after 72 holes of regulation play. Stanford closed with a 7-under 64. The 26-year-old Park, who earned $195,000, shot a 65.