2005 John Deere Classic Winner Sean O’Hair Tames Them All in Charlotte

4 05 2009

His star was born four years ago at the John Deere Classic. Ever since, he has been proving his victory at TPC Deere Run was not a fluke but an early indicator of things to come.

Now the rest of the world can’t help but acknowledge that Sean O’Hair is the real deal.

On Sunday, the 2005 John Deere Classic champion took it right to a host of major champions to record his first PGA Tour win of the year and third overall, a come-from-behind victory at the Quail Hollow Championship outside Charlotte.

Names like Tiger, Phil, Goose, Zach, Davis, Geoff, Furyk, Micheel, and others had to take a back seat to O’Hair whose four back-nine birdies were enough to get him to an 11-under par total and edge Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover by a stroke.

Sean shot 3-under 69 on Sunday despite bogeys on the difficult 17th and 18th holes – two-thirds of the dreaded “Green Mile.” He escaped a playoff when Glover was unable to birdie the final hole. Sean’s birdies on the difficult 16th hole and on the 15th – which played easiest of all 18 for the week – proved to be the difference.

Not bad for a guy who never before made the cut at Quail Hollow and considered skipping the tournament this year.

O’Hair is getting accustomed to being in the hunt. He played with Tiger and Zach in the final threesome earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where The Greatest Ever broke his heart. He has four other top 10 finishes this year. At age 26 – he turns 27 in July – the young man who turned pro following his junior year in high school now has more victories than any other American under the age of 30. President’s Cup team captain Fred Couples is going to love his game and his personality.

Sean’s scores for the week were 69-72-67-69—277. His key statistics: No. 7 in Driving Distance at 312 yards; he hit 75 percent of his Greens in Regulation, T-3 among the field; and he took 1.778 putts per green, 31st in the field.

A couple of other John Deere Classic past champions also had solid tournaments at Quail Hollow, widely regarded as a major championship-grade golf course. Jonathan Byrd, the 2007 JDC champ, shot 6-under 66 in the final round to finish T-5 at 8-under, his first top 10 finish of the year. It was the first time Byrd made the cut at Quail Hollow after several tries. Australia’s John Senden, the JDC’s 2006 winner, shot 3-under on Sunday and finished in a tie for 32nd.

Zach Johnson started the day with a two-stroke lead but was derailed by an early hiccup that he couldn’t overcome despite some stellar play. Nevertheless, the JDC executive board member finished T-11 at 7-under par going into next week’s big Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

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