SILVIS // Steve Stricker followed one of his best performances over 36 holes to win the John Deere Classic by three strokes in Illinois on Sunday. The players had to play the third and fourth round successively after Friday's play was washed out by heavy rain. Stricker, who tied the course record on Saturday, fired a seven-under 64 in the fourth round to finish at 264 for the tournament. That was good enough to give him his second PGA Tour win this year after May's triumph at the Colonial Invitational. His sixth overall victory also provided lot of momentum heading into the British Open to go with the $774,000 (Dh2.84million) winnner's cheque.
He also moved to second behind Tiger Woods in the FedEx Cup standings. Local favorite Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Brett Quigley all tied for second at 17 under. Quigley also qualified for the British Open, but he will not be making the trip to Turnberry. Instead, he's going to Milwaukee and will attend the memorial for golfer Chris Smith's wife Beth, who was killed last month in an auto crash that critically injured their two children.
"My heart's not into playing the British," said Quigley, who did not bring his passport. Stricker's biggest challenge, though, came from Tim Petrovic, who was in his group and was two strokes off the lead heading into the final hole. But he found water on his second shot and ended with a double bogey which dropped him into a tie for fifth. Stricker made a three-under 68 in his third round and was bogey free in his final round, eagling the par four sixth with a superb approach shot from 98 yards.
He had a stroke of luck on the 17th when an aggressive putt, which could easily have raced past the hole, came out off the lip for a simple tap-in. That allowed him a birdie which gave him a two-stroke cushion over Petrovic going into the final hole even before his compatriot self- destructed. * with agencies