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. Savannah’s Brian Harman followed his 63 on Saturday with a 67 to finish at 14 under par and in a tie for 1oth
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.
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 played the front nine in even par, then birdied six of the final nine holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
Rodgers, on the other hand, had four bogeys — and his approach on No. 18 sailed past the green. Rodgers nearly chipped in from 50 feet to force a playoff, missing the cup by a foot.
DeChambeau became the 10th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.
Bryan, who won the RBC Heritage in April for his first career victory, shot a 30 on the back nine. Lamb was 13 under for the final two rounds but was done in by pedestrian efforts in the first two rounds.
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.
McCarron stuns Langer to win
Senior Players Championship
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For 70 holes, Bernhard Langer did everything necessary to win his fourth straight Constellation Senior Players Championship.
Unfortunately, his performance at Caves Valley will be remembered only for what happened after that.
Langer’s uncharacteristic collapse on Nos. 17 and 18 paved the way for Scott McCarron to win his first major tournament on the PGA Tour Champions in sensational comeback fashion Sunday.
McCarron shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to make up a six-shot deficit and beat Langer and Brandt Jobe by a stroke.
Savannah’s Gene Sauers shot a 6-under-par 66, to finish in a tie for ninth at 10 under par.
“I’ve been working so hard for this,” said McCarron, a 51-year-old Californian. “That was one of my goals this year, to win three events and one of them being a major. So I’ve got one more event to go.”
McCarron’s victory at the Allianz Championship in February wasn’t nearly as exciting as this one, which came to fruition because Langer came apart just when it seemed he was well on his way to making history.
Seeking his third major win of the year, the 59-year German had a one-shot lead before dropping his tee shot in the water on No. 17. After taking the one-shot penalty, he missed a 4-footer and had to settle for a double bogey.
Playing in the twosome ahead of Langer and Jobe, McCarron didn’t need to see the leaderboard to realize what happened.
On 18, Langer lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff.
He finished with a 73 that included only two birdies.
Langer was trying to become the first player in the history of the senior tour to win the same major four years in a row. The run began in 2014 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, continued in 2015 at the Belmont Country Club in Massachusetts and stayed alive last year at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
And now it’s over.
“This is going to hurt for a little while because it was within my grasp to win the championship,” Langer said. “All I had to do was come home in even par more or less. Twenty under would have done it. But it’s easier said than done.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 66 to finish fourth at 16 under, and Steve Flesch (68) was fifth at 13 under.