JT Poston goes wire to wire in John Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill, (AP) — JT Poston picked up a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the John Deere Classic for his second PGA Tour title and a berth at the British Open.

Three strokes before the start of the day at the TPC Deere Run, Poston closed with a 2-under 69 for a three stroke margin over fellow British Open qualifiers Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Emiliano Grillo.

Poston is the third wire-to-wire winner in tournament history, following Scott Hoch in 1980 and David Frost in 1992. The 29-year-old from Hickory, North Carolina finished at 21-under 263. He opened 62-65 -67.

“It’s just hard to play with the lead,” Poston said. “There is just a little extra pressure. Wire to wire, having pretty much the advantage from Thursday, I told all the media after every round that I was just trying to stick to my game plan and not going there think.

“The truth is, it’s hard not to think about the finish line and what comes with it, everything that comes with winning here. Even if you try to put that aside and not think about it , it’s hard not to.

Poston birdied the first three holes Sunday, bogeyed Nos. 5 and 6 and parried the next 10. He made a 4-footer for a birdie on the par-5 17 and parried the 18.

“I was just trying to breathe,” Poston said. “I was really. I think there were a lot of nerves, a lot more than the first few days. I was just fighting through them. I think after today, after this week, I feel like knowing that I can play with those nerves and I can still win, still shoot a solid score considering the pressure and try to win here.

Poston won a week after finishing in a tie for second place with Connecticut in the Travelers Championship. He also won the 2019 Wyndham Championship.

“They don’t come easy here and I really wanted to get that second win to kind of validate Wyndham,” Poston said. “So it feels good to get rid of it.”

The British Open will take place July 14-17 at the Old Course in St. Andrews.

“I can’t wait,” Poston said. “I’ve always wanted to play one of these at any venue, but first to be at St. Andrews and 150th, can’t wait to get there and see what it’s like .”

Bezuidenhout shot a 66 and Grillo a 69.

“I just knew I needed a good week,” Grillo said. “I just needed to play well, move up the rankings and have a job for next year. It was more important to me than going to the Open. Now I have both , so it’s pretty special.

Christopher Gotterup, the former Rutgers player on the field on a sponsor exemption, had a 66 tied for fourth at 17 under with Scott Stallings (70).

“Just more validation that I belong here,” Gotterup said. “And honestly, I haven’t had my best stuff this week. Hit it amazing, but just put in pretty bad until the end of the stretch.

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