Thomas
Hunter at the Crikey sports desk writes:

Australian golf continues its annus
mirabilis with Queenslander John Senden winning the John Deere Classic in Illinois overnight
by one stroke.

Despite starting the day three strokes
ahead of the field, the 35-year-old Queenslander didn’t have it all his own
way. A “virtually mistake free” third round 64 (following a first round 64 and second round 69) gave Senden
the lead going into Sunday, but a scorching final day from American JP Hayes
pushed Senden and the tournament right to the last hole.

Hayes, who was Senden’s playing partner,
drew level with a birdie on 17, only to watch Senden also birdie the hole to
regain his one shot lead. By the time Hayes walked off the 18th, he had carded
a six under 65 and earned himself outright second place.

Meanwhile, Senden put his second shot on 18
into a bunker. After four days and 17 and a half holes, it all came down to the
bunker shot, but he was up to the task, calmly chipping the ball to within
centimetres of the hole. Tapping in to claim the tournament (and a final round
68), Senden become the fifth Australian this year to win on the PGA tour and
the 18th first time PGA winner to take out the John Deere Classic.

“I’ve been dreaming of it for a long while,” Senden
later commented.
“I always thought I could do it and probably had to be a matter of time,
because I was playing well the last couple of years. I’ve improved every single
year on the tour.”

Alongside some new silverware and
$US720,000, the win earned Senden an invitation to this week’s British Open.
Fellow Aussies Steve Elkington and Stephen Leaney finished equal 17th, with
Michelle Wie failing on her latest attempt to become the first woman in 61
years to make the cut on a PGA tour event. Wie was eight over after 27 holes
when she withdrew suffering heat exhaustion.

Peter Fray

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