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Sports

July 15, 2013

19-year-old Smith becomes youngest PGA winner in 82 years

SILVIS, Ill. —

Jordan Spieth can say that he's accomplished something that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy never did.

Spieth won a PGA Tour event as a teenager — and now he's joining all those stars at next week's British Open.

The 19-year-old outlasted David Hearn and Zach Johnson on the fifth hole of a playoff Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years.

Spieth, a Dallas native who doesn't turn 20 for another two weeks, hit a short par putt to earn a spot in the field at Muirfield.

He is the first teenager to win since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.

"I didn't think it would happen this early," said Spieth, who turned pro in December after an All-American season as a freshman at the University of Texas. "I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded."

Spieth started the day six shots behind third-round leader Daniel Summerhays. A bogey on the first hole left him seven back with 17 to play.

But Spieth forced his way into the playoff with three straight birdies. The last came when he holed out of the bunker from 44 feet, delighting a crowd that had expected to see Johnson, the hometown favorite, defend his title.

Spieth caught a break when that 44-footer took a pair of fortuitous bounces. But he also put himself in that position with a brilliant final round.

"The shot on 18 was the luckiest shot I ever hit in my life," Spieth said. "The fact that it bounced right and hit the pin and dropped down to the cup, it's just extremely fortunate."

Spieth, Hearn and Johnson all made par on the first four playoff holes. Spieth simply made one more to stave off Johnson and Hearn on the fifth.

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Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

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