(SILVIS, Ill.) — For the first time in his young career, Brian Harman played in the final pairing on Sunday. The 27-year-old handled that pressure, making three clutch birdies down the stretch to win the John Deere Classic by one stroke over Zach Johnson.
“It was very hard, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do in my life,” Harman said. “Just trying not to let your mind run wild is the hardest part out there.”
Johnson, a neighbor of Harman, shot a 7-under 64, tying the leader on the 14th hole with a birdie. When Harman approached the 14th, he was able to make par before knocking home birdie putts on each of the next two holes to pull away.
A bogey on 18 didn’t hurt the first-time PGA winner, who held a two-stroke lead as he stood on the final tee. The victory earns Harman the final exemption for the British Open and also gave him an invitation to the Masters and Tournament of Champions, both firsts.
Jhonattan Vegas finished tied for third with Jerry Kelly while Scott Brown and Tim Clark tied for fifth.
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Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
James Hanlon, CNN
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com Columnist