Bryson DeChambeau celebrates with the trophy after winning the John Deere Classic golf tournament, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. DeChambeau will defend a title for the first time in his career this week at the John Deere Classic. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

DeChambeau looking to repeat at John Deere Classic

For the first time in his PGA Tour career, Bryson DeChambeau will enter a tournament looking to defend a title.

DeChambeau’s breakthrough on the PGA Tour came last year at the John Deere Classic, which tees off on Thursday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. After entering the final round four strokes off the pace, DeChambeau birdied six of his final nine holes for a one-shot win over Patrick Rodgers.

DeChambeau will enter this year’s event as a strong contender to repeat as its champion as well.

With most of golf’s big names playing the Scottish Open in preparation for next week’s British Open at Carnoustie, DeChambeau is the highest-ranked golfer in the field.

The 24-year old DeChambeau is sixth in the FedEx Cup standings after winning the Memorial Tournament earlier this season. He is also 22nd in this week’s world ranking.

“There has been a lot of things that have happened over the past couple years, growing a lot definitely, and just learning how to make better decisions for my body, my health, my game, and figuring out ways to execute shots better and more on demand,” DeChambeau said.

Two of the most notable names in the Quad Cities event are Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson— a pair of Midwesterners who make it a point to play the TPC Deere Run every summer.

Three of Stricker’s 12 career wins came at the JDC from 2009-11, and he finished tied for fifth a year ago.

Johnson grew up an hour west of the course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is so connected to the tournament that he’s on the board of directors. Johnson, who has shot 37 consecutive rounds of par or better at TPC Deere Run, tied for 12th at this year’s U.S. Open.

I “feel really good. I think if my caddie was up here he would be more honest. He feels really good. When your caddie feels confident in what you’re doing you know you got some stuff going,” Johnson said.

A pair of international golfers— Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Francesco Molinari of Italy — are playing about as well as anyone in the field heading into the weekend.

Niemann, just 19, has four top-10 finishes in nine PGA Tour starts and has already earned a special temporary membership after posting back-to-back top 10s earlier this season.

Molinari won the last PGA Tour event he played, the Quicken Loans National, by shooting 8-under in the final round. Molinari also won in England on the European Tour in May.

“I think for me being European, obviously first thing was to come over here and prove myself. So to get the first win already, I think it’s a big achievement,” Molinari said. “But I’m young enough or not old enough to think that I’ve got a few years in front of me, and definitely the goal is to win more,” Molinari said.

Dylan Meyer, a former All-American from Illinois who finished tied for 20th at the U.S. Open, leads the list of young golfers competing on sponsor’s exemptions — a tradition that’s become a big part of the John Deere Classic.

DeChambeau and Johnson competed at TPC Deere Run on exemptions early in their careers, and Jordan Spieth won his first career title while on one in 2013.

Just Posted

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Ontario finance minister projects $15B deficit for province

TORONTO — Ontario’s finance minister said the province will have to make… Continue reading

Most Read