By Jay Betsill
27-year-old Brian Harman took home his first victory on the PGA Tour this weekend at the John Deere Classic, a tournament that has been dominated over the past few years by Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson. By firing a 5-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under, Harman not only earned $846,000 and the last exemption for next week’s British Open, he bested Johnson, who finished one shot back and Stricker, who played with Harman in the final pairing.
“I just knew if I stuck to my game plan and did the things that I wanted to do, I knew that my golf swing was probably as good as it’s been all year,” said Harman. “I knew if I could just get a couple of putts to drop, I’d be in good shape.”
2012 champion Johnson had the best round of the day with a 64 that got him to 21-under. Stricker, who won the event three consecutive years from 2009-2011, had a double-bogey on the par-3 12th that all but eliminated him from any chance of winning the event. He finished with a 72 and a tie for 11th.
Notables included defending champion Jordan Spieth (T7, -16), Valero Texas Open winner Steven Bowditch (T11, -15), David Toms (T13, -14), FedEx St. Jude Classic champion Ben Crane (T37, -9) and Davis Love III (T37, -9).
Next up on the PGA Tour is the season’s third major, the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. The defending champion is Phil Mickelson, with Tiger Woods winning the last time it was contested at Royal Liverpool.
— Colin Montgomerie won his second Champions Tour major in his last three attempts in the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National. The Scotsman defeated Gene Sauers in a three-hole aggregate playoff for his first USGA title.
“My golf is as good as it was in the ’90s, when I was No. 2 in the world,” Montgomerie said. “It really is. I can’t see any difference between that.”
— On the heels of winning the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Justin Rose 6-under 65 to win the Scotish Open by two strokes. The win at Royal Aberdeen moves Rose up to No. 3 in the OWGR.
“It’s uncharted territory for me — I’ve never won two in a row before,” said Rose, who has earned nearly$2 million in prize money from his two consecutive victories.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson finished for 11th and Rory McIlroy was tied for 14th.
— The Reno-Tahoe Open has landed a sponsor and will change its name to the Barracuda Championship under a four-year, multimillion-dollar deal with California-based Barracuda Networks Inc. as announced by the PGA Tour. The event will be July 31-Aug. 3 at Montreux Golf & Country Club between Reno and Lake Tahoe.