Spieth gets ready for British Open with playoff win

Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:21pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth sent a message to his critics he had not made a mistake by warming up for the British Open with a tournament in the United States and showed he was ready to challenge for the title by claiming the John Deere Classic in a playoff on Sunday.

Spieth, already the winner of this year's Masters and U.S. Open, defeated unheralded fellow-American Tom Gillis on the second playoff hole at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

"I came here for a reason and we accomplished that reason and certainly have some momentum going into next week," said Spieth after some had questioned his returning to the site of his first PGA Tour win in 2013 to play the week before a major championship.

The victory was the world number two's fourth of the season and the 21-year-old moved within one victory of tying Tiger Woods for the most wins on the PGA Tour before age 22, the Tour said.

Playing the 18th hole for a third time in a half-hour, Spieth, who finished regulation with a three-under 68, used a short par putt for the victory over the 46-year-old Gillis, who was making his 172nd career PGA Tour start.

Gillis, who shot a 64 in regulation, saw his chance for victory end when his approach shot on the second playoff hole found water.

He still earned the final qualifying place for the British Open, which starts on Thursday at St. Andrews.

Spieth, who ovecame a poor start to the day, could have won the tournament in regulation but missed a 30-foot putt.

He had another putt narrowly miss on the first extra hole, which both players parred after ending regulation at 20-under-par.   Continued...

Jul 12, 2015; Silvis, IL, USA; Jordan Spieth is watched by fans as he walks to the eleventh hole in the Final Round at the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.  Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports