Perry’s Star Rises at the Masters

15 04 2009

What a great Masters! For fans of the John Deere Classic it was extra special.

The sentimental favorite at Augusta National was JDC defending champion and world-class good-guy Kenny Perry, who was trying to become the oldest major champion in history.

Perry did just about everything to oblige before falling just short.

Meanwhile, Chad Campbell, the soft-spoken Texan who finished seventh at last year’s John Deere, opened with a first-round 65, hung tough through 72 holes, and made it into a playoff at 12-under par with Perry and eventual winner Angel Cabrera.

Sean O’Hair, the ’05 JDC champion, was one of only two players in the field to shoot three rounds in the 60s — 68-76-68-69 — and wound up in a three-way tie for 10th at 7-under par which means he has earned a return trip to Augusta in 2010.

Tim Clark, who finished second to Jonathan Byrd at the ’07 John Deere and was in the mix last year, tied for 13th with Camilo Villegas, a former John Deere Classic sponsor exemption.

Illinois native and John Deere Classic loyalist Todd Hamilton, whose mother lives in Rock Island, shot 5-under for the tournament, one of his best major championship showings since his 2004 British Open victory.

Australia’s Aaron Baddeley and California’s Nick Watney – young guns who played in last year’s JDC – also wound up in the Masters’ top 20 at 4-under and 3-under par, respectively.

Other JDC players who made the 50-player cut last week were: Dustin Johnson and ’03 JDC champion Vijay Singh (both 1-under), Ken Duke (even par), and Kevin Sutherland (6-over).

“I’m not going to feel sorry,” Perry told reporters after the round. “…I’ve said, if this is the worst thing that happens to me, I can live with it. I really can. So, you know what, I’m looking forward to (the U.S. Open) Bethpage Black. I’m looking forward to the British, to the PGA. You know what, I know I can do it now, because it was fun. I was actually having fun in the moment out there.”

We all look forward to having fun July 6-12 at the 2009 John Deere Classic. It will great to have Kenny back to defend.

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