The final PGA Tour event before the Open Championship is in the books — major season is upon us once again!
Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, lets put a bow on the John Deere Classic.
What this years event at TPC Deere Run lacked in competitiveness, it made up for in historic standing. Sunday at the John Deere was one of the more anti-climactic rounds of televised golf this season — but first-time winner, Michael Kim, it was one for the ages. Life changing, even.
Until Sunday, Michael Kim was known for his superb run as an amateur at the 2013 U.S. Open. Now, he’s a PGA Tour winner AND the tournament’s new record holder for lowest score in relation to par at 27-under. The new mark bests Steve Stricker’s mark of 26-under in 2010.
While Kim’s week was one he’ll never forget, there were still plenty of people who fell somewhere between his record-setting performance and that of Chad Proehl — who missed the cut and finished DFL at 9-over par.
Here’s a look at those who made an impact and those who are just glad the John Deere Classic is in the rear-view mirror:
Michael Kim — At the beginning of last week, I mentioned that going low at TPC Deere Run was just part of the part of the deal. What I wasn’t counting on was Michael Kim coming out of nowhere to set the tournament scoring record. Kim, who turned professional in 2013 soon after qualifying for the U.S. Open — a tournament he finished T-17 in — collected the first win of his PGA Tour career on Sunday on the strength of a final-round 66. Which, by the way, was his worst of the week.
Francesco Molinari — Two weeks after collecting PGA Tour win No. 1 at the Quicken Loans National, Francesco Molinari continued to build on what is already shaping up to be a career-year with a runner-up finish at the John Deere Classic. Molinari finished the week at 19-under — a distant eight strokes behind record-setting winner, Michael Kim. While it’s always relatively hard to keep form on the PGA Tour, you should consider Molinari a great streaming option next week at the Open.
Matt Jones — Matt Jones is a few years removed from his one and only PGA Tour triumph, but on Sunday it appeared he had as good a chance as any to get it done in Illinois. Instead, Jones stumbled. While those around him were going low, Jones struggled to a final-round, 1-over par 72. He was the only player who finished in the top-30 who was over-par for the day. While not entirely shocking considering Jones’ track record, it should remove him from any and all lists of consideration for this week’s tilt at Carnoustie.
Zach Johnson — I was not the only one advocating for Zach Johnson last week — and, thus, was not the only who had their fantasy lineups busted by the two-time major champion. Entering the week, Johnson was the all-time money winner for the JD Classic (and still is) and had posted one of the most ridiculously impressive stat lines any player has ever had at any venue. It seemed like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, Johnson never really got it going — until Sunday, when he fired a fantastic 64 to climb 23 spots on the leader board. While T-16 is nothing spectacular, it’s enough to at least keep him on your radar ahead of the Open.
Bryson DeChambeau — Speaking of busted fantasy lineups, another guy who ruined weeks for degenerates like us was Bryson DeChambeau. Unfortunately, DeChambeau’s was due to a WD due to injury. DeChambeau had entered the week playing some great golf and as the reigning John Deere Classic champion, which made him a serious fantasy star. Hopefully next week, golf’s (second) favorite mad scientist will be well enough to made a run major title No. 1.
Chesson Hadley — Alright, I’ll be honest — last week’s John Deere Classic was brutal. I was brutal. Chesson Hadley was yet another fantasy bust. After opening with promising rounds of 69 and 67 had him well above the cut line Friday, he flat-out threw up on his shoes on Saturday, MDF’ing after a round of 3-over 74. Ahh, golf.