SILVIS, Ill. — A few observations from Sunday's final round at the John Deere Classic, where Ryan Moore shot 67 to win by two shots for his fifth PGA TOUR title. For more on Round 4 at TPC Deere Run, click here to read the Daily Wrap-up.
MOORE CRUISES TO VICTORY IN QUAD CITIES
Something happened to Ryan Moore several years ago at the John Deere Classic. The first three years he played the tournament, he never finished higher than T27, which prompted him to remove it from his TOUR schedule at the end of 2009.
During the brief hiatus from TPC Deere Run, Moore added caddie J.J. Jakovac to the bag — a hire that proved to be fortuitous, especially when it came to Moore's future success in the Quad Cities area.
"In that two-year break is when I hired (J.J.) right after that, a couple years I had not played, and he kind of said to me like, ‘Man, I think that's a really good tournament for you, in his experience of being here,’" Moore said. "I kind of thought about it, ‘You know what, you're probably right.’ So we put it back in the schedule."
It also didn't hurt that when Jakovac made the suggestion, Moore trusted his judgment. Before Jakovac started carrying a staff bag, he was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American at Chico State and twice won the NCAA Division II individual national title.
"It was great to have another perspective," Moore said. "He's a great golfer himself and has a really good understanding of tournament golf. He was a great tournament golfer in college and amateur golf."
Since Moore added the John Deere Classic back to the schedule in 2012, he hasn't finished outside the top-25 in five starts. Sunday reinforced his decision to make the event a yearly staple.
Leading by one entering the final round, Moore shot 67 to secure his fifth TOUR title and fourth in the past five years. With the exception of a brief charge from Ben Martin on the back nine, Moore kept the field at bay for the week, using three straight 65s to build a buffer that allowed him to stay in control and not press on Sunday.
The game plan paid off for Moore. He opened with two birdies in his first four holes to stretch the lead to two shots, and used back-to-back birdies on the ninth and 10th to move five ahead of the field.
"I played so steady the whole week," Moore said. "But to say at any point today I was comfortable would not be true. I know I got a four- or five-shot lead or something at some point. I actually wasn't paying attention to that at all, but someone said that afterwards."
Of course, there's more to Moore's success than just picking the right events on the schedule. It helps that he's feeling healthy for the first time in five years. Moore hired Las Vegas-based performance coach Brian Chandler less than two months ago to help rehab and strengthen his left ankle.
The hard work with Chandler has paid immediate dividends.
"I texted (Brian) on Monday this week, like this is the first week — I actually went and hit balls on Monday, and I got done and I realized I had not thought about my ankle once," Moore said. "Like that's the first time probably in five years that I didn't at least just notice it there. It wasn't a constant, like really painful, but it was there just nagging, kind of an annoying pain in my ankle. That's a huge victory for me to just feel good."
Having the ability to play and practice pain-free couldn't have come at a better time for Moore, who moved to 23rd in the updated FedExCup standings, improving his chances of making the TOUR Championship for the first time since 2012.
"I like that my body is feeling good this time of year, instead of the other way around," Moore said. "I've been in the top 30 going into the Playoffs or in the 30s the last few years, and I haven't made it to the TOUR Championship. I've kind of plateaued a couple weeks before and haven't played great going into them."
This year it's the other way around. With one start to go before The Barclays, Moore has the opportunity to make a late-season kick for the season-long FedExCup title.
"I'm trying to make those right decisions," Moore said. "I want to keep getting better. I think I can accomplish great things in this game and I keep trying to make the decisions to help me do that."
HADWIN, NA GO LOW ON SUNDAY
Kevin Na and Adam Hadwin brought out the best in each other for the second straight day. Grouped together during the third round, the pair shot matching 67s. They followed it up on Sunday with identical 64s to move from T37 to T8 at 14 under.
"I felt like we really fed off each other over the last two days," Na said. "You get in a groove and both start playing well and it's nice. The round goes by fast."
For the first two days, Na struggled to find a level of consistency with the putter, leading to a combined 62 putts over 36 holes.
In need of a spark, Na found motivation in the unlikeliest of places: Instagram.
"One guy on my Instagram told me I had mental issues with my putting inside 10 feet and said it was embarrassing," Na said. "I was like, ‘Really? I'm one of the best putters out here.’ He inspired me today."
Na, who's currently 10th in the FedExCup standings, needed just 26 putts to navigate his way around TPC Deere Run on the final day.
"Starting out 37th at the start of the day, I feel like I stole some (FedExCup) points today," Na said. "For me, I'm trying to lock up the TOUR Championship. I'm thinking 1,550 gets me really close to securing it. Today was definitely a big day for me."
It was also a big day for Hadwin, who greatly improved his chances of making it beyond The Barclays. Hadwin started the week 100th but used a strong finish to move up 14 places to 86th. He plans to play the Wyndham Championship next week.
"Securing points at this point in the season is big," Hadwin said. "It was nice playing well with Kevin the last couple days and improving my positioning."
FEDEXCUP BUBBLE UPDATE
With only one regular-season event remaining before The Barclays, it has become a now-or-never situation for the players sitting squarely on the FedExCup Playoff bubble.
Only the top 125 advance to Bethpage Black. There will be lots of movement at the Wyndham Championship, but here's where the bubble players stand after the John Deere Classic.
Johnson Wagner (No. 100): Went from Mr. 125 to 109th in the standings thanks to a T5 showing. Wagner will play the Wyndham Championship next week knowing a missed cut likely isn't the end of the world.
Keegan Bradley (No. 105): Bradley was one of a few players who made an incremental move in the right direction. A T22 was good enough to go from 113th to 105th in the updated standings.
Robert Garrigus (No. 108): Similar to Bradley, Garrigus made an identical move up the standings, vaulting eight spots to 108th. At the moment, he's in a good spot to make The Barclays, but a made cut would likely solidify his status.
Sung Kang (No. 123): His T14 moved him from outside the bubble to booking his place at Bethpage ... for now. Like every player hovering around the cutoff, he'll need a strong week to make The Barclays.
Scott Stallings (No. 126): Depending on how things shake out next week, a bogey on the 72nd hole — he was 125th at the time — could end up costing Stallings the last spot in The Barclays field. He'll be one of the most talked-about players at the Wyndham Championship.
Nick Taylor (No. 128): Missing the cut at 3-over dented Taylor's FedExCup hopes. Starting the week at 120th in the standings, Taylor moved eight spots down to 128th. He needs to make the weekend at the Wyndham Championship to have any chance of advancing.
Bronson Burgoon (No. 130): Unlike Taylor, Burgoon finished T47 but still moved down six spots.
MARTIN SECURES FEDEXCUP SPOT
Ben Martin didn't come away with the win on Sunday at the John Deere. However, as it stands, he managed to lock up his spot in at least the first three playoff events.
No one made a bigger jump in the FedExCup standings than Martin, who was in danger of missing The Barclays at the beginning of the tournament. With a second-place showing, Martin went from the bubble to 59th in the updated standings.
"I came into this week (at) 121, so I really needed to have a good week to take pressure off next week," Martin said. "I felt Thursday out there, ‘Man, this is the best I've felt all year, standing over the ball, over putts.’ I like the course next week. Hopefully take a little momentum into the Wyndham, and then two weeks from now, the points, four times what they normally are. So my best golf, I feel is coming, and this could be the start of a good run."
Martin made a late run at Moore, who built a five-shot lead after 10 holes, with three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14, to get within two shots. But that was as close as he would get.
Despite coming up short, Martin was proud of the way he battled on the back.
"I was back and forth on the front nine, never got a whole lot going," Martin said. "I think that hitting it tight on 12, and then rolled a good one in on 13, knocked it close again on 14 … unfortunately just never gave myself great opportunities on the way in. But yeah, I was happy to be able to bounce back there on the back nine."
Starting the day with a one-shot lead, Ryan Moore played his last 46 holes without a bogey to earn his fifth career TOUR win. ... Moore has now converted four of his eight 54-hole lead/co-leads on TOUR. ... Moore now has 23 straight sub-par scores at TPC Deere Run. ... In his first non-major event on the PGA TOUR, Aaron Wise finished T16, highlighted by a third-round 63. ... In his second career start at the John Deere Classic, Whee Kim (T3) tied his career-best finish on TOUR.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Ben Martin dials it in from the tee for Shot of the Day
CALL OF THE DAY
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Ryan Moore's ranks this week ...— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2016
Sand saves: 1st
Putts (GIR): 1st
Congrats to fellow @pxg staffer Ryan Moore on his victory! He was the 1st to switch to PXG. Started in 2014 Really cool to see him win w/PXG— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) August 14, 2016