Guthrie, Brown and Hurley Each Grab Top-10s at PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic
By Stewart Moore
Silvis, IL – At the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic, eGolf Tour players Luke Guthrie, Scott Brown and Billy Hurley each posted top-10 finishes on the week, with professional newcomer Guthrie stealing part of Sunday’s show thanks to a closing 7-under 64 that gave the hometown favorite a stunning T5 finish.
Guthrie, who finished a standout career at the University of Illinois just six weeks ago, parlayed rounds of 65-68-71-64—268 into a T5 finish after earning a sponsor’s exemption to his home-state event just two weeks prior.
After playing his way into tournament contention with opening rounds of 65-68, Guthrie struggled on moving day with an even-par 71 that left him tied for 27th heading into Sunday’s final round. A bogey at the par-4 first did little to forecast the final-round charge that Guthrie would make, but back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 gave a little glimpse into Sunday’s potential.
At 1-under 34 on the turn, Guthrie came alive on the back nine at TPC Deere Run. Birdies at 10 and 11 took him to 3-under on the day, while birdies at 13 and 14 moved him up to 5-under for the round and 14-under for the week.
Playing in front of a partisan crowd, the Quincy, IL native closed in a champion’s fashion, with birdies on 17 and 18 to round out a closing 7-under 64 that marked the low round of the day and moved him up 22 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for fifth.
“Being from Quincy, there has been such a large contingency of Quincy people, and then Illini Day and you see orange everywhere,” he said. “It's been a lot of fun playing in front of that crowd. Can't thank them enough for all the support.”
Guthrie’s top-5 finish further cemented an impressive start to his professional career. After finishing up the NCAA tournament in early June, Guthrie finished T19 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic after receiving a sponsor’s invite into the pre-U.S. Open event.
In his first career eGolf Tour start just 12 days later, the Illini “All American” posted rounds of 66-71-68—205 to notch T4 finish at the Spring Creek Classic, finishing eight shots behind winner Seamus Power of Ireland.
PGA TOUR rookie Scott Brown, the eGolf Tour’s leading money winner in 2009, carded rounds of 70-66-66-67—269 to finish solo-seventh at the John Deere, in turn picking up his second top-10 of the year.
The former USC-Aiken star entered Sunday’s final round in a tie for 13th place at 11-under 202, and proceeded to four of his first eight holes to fly up the leaderboard at 15-under on the week. A birdie at the par-3 12th took Brown further into the red at 16-under par, but a follow-up bogey on No. 13 dropped him back down to the 15-under mark.
On the par-5 17th, Brown posted his sixth birdie of the day to move back up to 16-under, but again followed it up with a bogey when he closed with a five at the par-4 18th to finish off his final-round 67.
The finish was Brown’s second top-10 of an up-and-down rookie campaign (T5, Puerto Rico Open) and moved his year-long earnings up to $302,849 – good for 151st on the PGA TOUR money list.
Brown’s year has been of the odd variety, with just four made cuts in 16 starts, and two of those made cuts resulting in top-10 finishes.
The roller coaster year plays in stark contrast to Brown’s dominant eGolf Tour performance in 2009, when he won three times and set a single-season earnings record on tour with $142,362 earned on the year. All told, Brown won five times on the eGolf Tour from 2007 through 2009 prior to earning his Nationwide Tour card for the 2010 season. He spent 2010 and 2011 on the Nationwide Tour, then earned his PGA TOUR card for 2012 when he finished inside the top-25 on the now-Web.com Tour money list.
Former Naval Academy star Billy Hurley continued his mid-season resurgence with rounds of 68-68-64-70—270 to finish T8 on the week.
Hurley, a two-time eGolf Tour member who notched his first professional title at the tour’s Cedarwood Classic in September of 2006, birdied Nos. 7, 8 and 10 in Sunday’s final round to move to 15-under on the week, but posted a late bogey at the par-3 16th that dropped him back to 14-under overall, and left him with a closing 1-under 70 on the day.
The finish was Hurley’s second top-10 in his last three starts on the PGA TOUR, dating back to a T4 at the AT&T National just two weeks ago. The mid-year comeback is a good sign for Hurley – a rookie on TOUR – after making just five cuts in his first 17 starts on the year. The T4 and T8 finishes have allowed Hurley to reach $465,210 in earnings on the year, which has him at No. 122 on the season-long money list.
Two-year eGolf Tour member and past champion Brian Harman opened the week with rounds of 65-65-69 to play his way into a tie for third entering Sunday’s final round. Paired alongside eventual champion Zach Johnson, the former Georgia star and two-time U.S. Walker Cup team member was 1-under through 10 holes on Sunday, and at 15-under on the week, but suffered a double-bogey at the par-4 11th that pushed him outside of the top 10. A final-round 73 left the Savannah, GA native tied for 19th on the week – marking the seventh top-25 of his rookie season on the PGA TOUR.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at the John Deere Classic include Tommy Gainey (T13), Brendon de Jonge (T19), Gary Christian (T19), Blake Adams (T25), Chris Kirk (T30), Josh Teater (T36), Tom Gillis (T36), Kevin Chappell (T45), Randall Hutchison (T45), Jamie Lovemark (T45), Tommy Biershenk (T54), Billy Horschel (T54), Martin Flores (T58), Matt Every (T58), Ted Potter (T58), Matt Bettencourt (T66) and Mark Anderson (76). For complete results from the Quad Cities on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
• At the Web.com Tour’s Utah Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission, current eGolf Tour member Morgan Hoffmann, as well as former eGolf Tour members Richard Scott, Brian Anderson and Lee Williams led the way with T9 finishes on the week. Hoffmann, who earned his spot in the event via a T4 at the United Leasing Championship two weeks prior, was the tournament’s 36-hole leader following rounds of 64-67, but finished the week with rounds of 72-70 to notch a second straight top-10. The finish pushed his 2012 Web.com Tour earnings up to $39,285, which leaves him approximately $4,000 short of earning temporary member status on the PGA TOUR’s developmental circuit for the remainder of the year. Hoffmann, one of the more heralded college players over the past four years, joined the eGolf Tour this spring, and posted a career-best T16 finish at the Irish Creek Classic in March. Scott, a two-time eGolf Tour winner and three-time winner of the Canadian Amateur Championship, posted rounds of 70-69-68-66—273 to notch his fourth top-10 of the year and third in a row. In his first full season as a Nationwide Tour member, Scott has amassed earnings of $97,393, which has him at No. 28 on the tour’s money list. Anderson, a member of the eGolf Tour from 2009 through 2011, was scheduled to play in the eGolf Tour’s Southern Open last week, but gained entry into the Utah event as an alternate on Wednesday morning. The long-hitting Jupiter, FL native took full advantage of his opportunity, posting rounds of 68-68-69-68 to make his first cut of the year on the Web.com Tour. Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut in Utah include Camilo Benedetti (T9), James Love (T9), Andres Gonzales (T9), Jin Park (T19), Brad Fritsch (T22), Matt Davidson (T22), Trevor Murphy (T22), Rob Oppenheim (T29), Jim Renner (T29), Adam Long (T33), Fernando Mechereffe (T36), Erik Flores (T42), Scott Parel (T46), Matt Hendrix (T46), James Nitties (T46), Aron Price (T46), Casey Wittenberg (T58), Ben Briscoe (T62), Alex Coe (T62), Derek Fathauer (T67) and Darron Stiles (T67). For complete results from the Utah Championship on PGATOUR.com, please click here.