New kid on the block Spieth rules PGA roost

2013-07-21 14:00

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Teenage golf sensation Jordan Spieth’s victory of the John Deere Classic made him the youngest golfer to win a US PGA Tour event, breaking an 82-year record.

The 19-year-old American overcame the odds to beat the highly touted David Hearn and Zach Johnson in the fifth hole of a sudden death play-off to win the coveted title at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, last Sunday.

In bagging the crown, Spieth, who only turned professional in December, has now equalled the record set by fellow American Ralph Guldahl, who won the Santa Monica Open in 1931, also aged 19.

Spieth’s victory earned him a spot in the star-studded Open Championship field that concludes today at Muirfield Golf Club in Edinburgh, Scotland, he carded a score of +5 for 76 in the third round yesterday.

A look at Spieth’s accomplishment shows that his age feat has surpassed how current world number one Tiger Woods, as well as Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, launched their careers.

They all achieved their first key victories at the age of 20.

Woods captured the Masters – his maiden title and a major – in 1997. This happened a year after he turned professional.

He still holds the record for being the youngest Masters winner. Mickelson, the gifted left-hander with his accurate fairway tee-shot slices, captured the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona in the US, in 1991.

This was his first notable achievement on tour.

McIlroy, the Irish sensation and a former world number one, recorded his first tour win – the Quail Hollow Championship – in 2010.

He became the first player since Woods to win a tour championship title before turning 21.

But despite the trio’s accomplishment on the course, Spieth has set a new record that will probably take decades more to be broken, as in Guldahl’s case.

The young man’s breathtaking showing in the final round of the John Deere Classic came after he forced his way into the play-off with three straight birdies, the last of which came after he holed out of the bunker.

His victory was in contrast with veterans such as Sergio García of Spain and Englishman Justin Rose who have gone through torrid times on the tour.

García (33) has been blowing hot and cold without a major in his controversial career, which spans 14 years.

His only notable victories were the MasterCard Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Buick Classic in New York in 2001.

He was, like Woods, the youngest tour winner at 20 when he won the Players Championship in 2008.

At the age of 33, Rose has also had an uncertain golfing run on tour since turning pro at 17.

The South African-born player took many years before becoming the first Englishman to win the US Open at the Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania last month.

But it remains to be seen if new kid Spieth can continue to rewrite the golf history books.

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