American Stricker completes rare hat trick

Updated: 11 July 2011 12:17 IST

American Steve Stricker rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt from off the green on the final hole Sunday to post his third straight victory at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.

American Stricker completes rare hat trick

Silvis:

American Steve Stricker rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt from off the green on the final hole on Sunday to post his third straight victory at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.

Stricker birdied his last two holes and benefited from a Kyle Stanley bogey at the last.

"It was an unbelievable week and an unbelievable finish," Stricker said. "I still can't believe I'm sitting here."

The birdie on 18 put the finishing touches on a roller-coaster round for Stricker, who led by five strokes when he made the turn at No. 9 and won the tournament by just one stroke.

He dropped behind American compatriot Stanley by two shots on the back nine, but made birdie on the final two holes to close with a two-under 69.

"I really did feel like the momentum was gone for a while," Stricker said.

Stricker finished at 22-under 262 to become just the 10th different golfer in the modern era to win a tournament three straight times.

Canada's Matt McQuillan shot a 64 to tie Zach Johnson (65) for third at 17-under. Charles Howell (64) and Chez Reavie (72) were another stroke back. McQuillan had missed the cut in his previous 10 events.

Stanley appeared to be heading to a win by saving par on 17 after sending his tee shot into the trees. But he then bungled a 10 1/2-foot par putt on 18 to open the door for Stricker.

The win was the 11th of his USPGA career and second of the year for Stricker to go along with the Memorial.

"It's weird," Stricker said. "When I get into a situation where I have to make a putt, I feel like my nerves kind of go away and I focus extremely hard on trying to make that putt. And that's kind of like the little zone I got into on 17 and 18, I guess."

With the win, Stricker joined an elite group of golfers who have won a tournament three years in a row. The list comprises Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan and Johnny Miller.

Woods has done it a half dozen times and Palmer twice.

"I kept telling myself that it's not a big deal and it really wasn't -- until today," Stricker said. "That back nine trying to win, it's just really hard. I don't know any other way to say it. It's extremely hard to put it away.

"When you watch guys like Tiger put away all those tournaments, anybody who's put it away down the stretch, it's a difficult thing to do. But I'm happy to come out on top. I made a couple of putts when I had to."

Topics : Golf Steve Stricker
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