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J.T. Poston holds on for wire-to-wire victory at John Deere

J.T. POSTON holds his John Deere Classic trophy after winning the John Deere Classic golf tournament. — REUTERS

J.T. POSTON’S 2-under-par 69 in Sunday’s final round was enough to secure a three-shot win at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.

Poston led wire to wire at TPC Deere Run after opening the week with a 9-under 62. He finished at 21-under 263, three better than Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.

Poston not only won his second career PGA Tour title and the accompanying $1.278-million prize, but also qualified for this month’s Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland. Both Bezuidenhout and Grillo also qualified for the Open with their top-three finishes.

“I can’t wait. I’ve always wanted to play in an Open Championship, and this will be my first one,” Poston said. “So for it to be at St. Andrews and the 150th is pretty special, and pretty hard to draw it up any better than that.”

Poston slept on a three-shot lead and got off to a hot start with three straight birdies, including a long putt from the fringe at the par-3 third. He left the door cracked open, though, when he posted consecutive bogeys at the par-4 fifth and sixth holes.

He held firm at 20 under by saving 10 straight pars before adding a birdie at the par-5 17th. It marked just the third wire-to-wire win at the John Deere.

Grillo got as low as 19 under before bogeying the 12th and 14th holes to drop further back. He matched Poston’s 69.

Bezuidenhout birdied three of his final five holes to finish off a bogey-free 66 and grab the other qualifying position.

“Definitely, a confidence booster,” Bezuidenhout said of the T2, his best career finish. “I’ve put in a lot of hardwork over the last week, especially my golf swing and just overall my game, my fitness. My trainer is here as well. We’ve been doing a lot of good things over the last few months, so it’s nice to see the results coming through and the hardwork is paying off.”

Christopher Gotterup (bogey-free 66) and Scott Stallings (70) tied for fourth at 17 under. Gotterup, a rookie making his fourth start as a professional, birdied each of his final three holes.

“Yeah, just more validation that I do belong out here,” Gotterup said. “And honestly, I didn’t have my greatest stuff this week. Hit it amazing, but just putted pretty poorly until coming down the stretch. So, yeah, you pick up things along the way.” — Reuters

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