CCU’s Gillis falls in playoff but earns British Open bid

ccugolf-gillisJordan Spieth defeated former Coastal Carolina University golfer Tom Gillis with a par on the second hole of a playoff to win the John Deere Classic on Sunday in Silvis, Ill.

Spieth closed with a 3-under-par 68 at TPC Deere Run to finish the tournament at 20-under 264. Gillis fired a 64 on Sunday make up a four-stroke deficit and force the playoff.

On the second extra hole, Gillis’ approach shot found the water, and Spieth seized the opening to earn his fourth win of the season and his second John Deere title. He won the Quad Cities event in 2013 for his first PGA Tour victory.

Gillis, 46, was attempting to become the second-oldest first-time PGA Tour winner since 1963. Ed Dougherty captured the 1995 Sanderson Farms Championship when he was 47.

The runner-up result was still valuable: Gillis captured a berth in the Open Championship. He will compete in the British major for the third time after withdrawing from the 1999 event and tying for 58th in 2008.

Gillis birdied six of the first eight holes Sunday to make his move. He bogeyed No. 9, then added three birdies on the back nine before making a costly bogey at No. 16. Gillis parred the 71st and 72nd holes.

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