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The Tour Report
  • TOUR REPORT

    Featured Hole: TPC Deere Run's 18th

  • The 18th hole at TPC Deere Run is a 476-yard par 4 and has provided plenty of drama over the years. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)The 18th hole at TPC Deere Run is a 476-yard par 4 and has provided plenty of drama over the years. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

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It can be argued that no hole on the PGA TOUR has been more dramatically decisive in recent years than the 18th at TPC Deere Run.

Three years ago, Steve Stricker’s 25-foot birdie from off the green, set up by an awkward shot from a fairway bunker, clinched a John Deere Classic three-peat. Twelve months later, Zach Johnson found the range from the same bunker for a kick-in birdie that beat Troy Matteson in a playoff.

Last year, Jordan Spieth’s screamer from a greenside bunker hit the flagstick and fell in for a birdie that landed him in a playoff and eventually denied Johnson back-to-back titles.

“I think I've seen everything now,” Johnson said upon this week’s return to Deere Run. “I think I'm ready for it all. I'm not overly accustomed to a bladed sand shot that goes in and hits the pin, but I'll test Jordan about that one.”

Said Spieth: “I remember looking up and just saying, ‘Just hit the pin, find the hole.’ And it just did it. It was just such a shock.”

That was only part of last year’s No. 18 montage. Johnson bogeyed on the final hole of regulation, and David Hearn lipped out a short birdie try that also could have shelved the playoff. Then Johnson narrowly missed a chip from behind the green on the first of five playoff holes.

“Brutal but fair,” Johnson summed up No. 18, “with a lot of opportunity and I would say treachery around the corner.”

Measuring 476 yards, the dogleg 18th puts a premium on driving accuracy. The ideal line is along the left-center of the fairway, though drives running through the dogleg get swallowed by that fairway bunker – not uncommon with Sunday adrenaline pumping.

When Stricker completed his three-peat in 2011, he was faced with a stance that placed his left foot in the bunker and right foot on the lip. Johnson’s winner, one hole after both he and Matteson found the water, was semi-blind into the glare of the afternoon sun.

A pond guards the entire left side of the approach, bringing plenty of water into play for anyone playing from that fairway bunker. The green is deep and narrow, guarded on the right by two large bunkers.

“Lots of places you don’t want to be on this hole,” says the JDC’s course description.

Or considering recent outcomes, maybe you do.

Spieth birdies No. 18 in Round 4 of John Deere Classic
  • Highlights

    Spieth birdies No. 18 in Round 4 of John Deere Classic

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