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Poston keeps lead whole way

The Associated Press

SILVIS, Ill. — J.T. Poston completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the John Deere Classic for his second PGA Tour title and a spot in the British Open.

Three strokes ahead entering the day at TPC Deere Run, Poston closed with a 2-under 69 for a three-stroke margin over fellow British Open qualifiers Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Emiliano Grillo.

Poston is the third wire-to-wire winner in tournament history, following Scott Hoch in 1980 and David Frost in 1992. The 29-year-old player from Hickory, North Carolina, finished at 21-under 263. He opened 62-65-67.

“It’s just tough to play with the lead,” Poston said. “There is just a little bit of added pressure. Wire-to-wire, pretty much having the lead from Thursday on, I told all the media after every round that I was just trying to stick to my game plan and I wasn’t going to think about it.

“The truth is it’s hard not to think about the finish line and what comes with it, all that comes with getting win out here. As much as you try and put that aside and not think about it, it’s tough not to.”

Poston birdied the first three holes Sunday, bogeyed Nos. 5 and 6 and parred the next 10. He made a 4-footer for birdie on the par-5 17th and parred the 18th.

“I was just trying to breathe,” Poston said. “I was really. I think there were a lot of nerves, a lot more than the first few days. I was just battling through them. I think after today, after this week, I feel like knowing I can play with those nerves and I can still win, still shoot a solid score considering the pressure and trying to win out here.”

Poston won a week after tying for second in Connecticut in the Travelers Championship. He also won the 2019 Wyndham Championship.

“They don’t come easy out here and I really wanted to get that second win to sort of validate Wyndham,” Poston said. “So, it feels good to get it out of the way.”

Grace wins LIV

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. — Branden Grace won LIV Golf’s first stop on American soil, an event that drew critics and protestors alike because of the upstart series’ funding by Saudi Arabia.

Grace closed with a 7-under 65 on Saturday to finish at 13 under in the 54-hole tournament at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The 34-year-old South African won $4 million.

The fledgling LIV series, fronted by CEO Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, aims to challenge the PGA Tour. It has lured some players, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, with the promise of big signing bonuses, hefty prize purses and fewer events.

Grace beat Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz by two strokes.

Elsewhere:

n Adrian Meronk became Poland’s first winner on the European tour Sunday with a superb closing stretch at Mount Juliet for a 6-under 66 and a three-shot victory in the Irish Open.

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