[PHOTO: Dylan Buell]

Having matched his career low with a third-round 62, Davis Thompson held the 54-hole lead for just the second time in his PGA Tour career. Still, his approach matched that of a seasoned veteran determined to just play the final round one shot at a time.

“My goal tomorrow is just hit the first tee shot on one and then the second shot and then the third shot and just stack good shots on top of each other,” he said.

Note that Thompson didn’t mention a fourth shot being needed on the par-4 opener at TPC Deere Run, a prescient omission. That’s because a fourth shot wasn’t needed. Thompson put his tee shot in play, dropped his approach 44 feet from the hole then rolled in the lengthy birdie putt – the first of five birdies in a six-hole stretch that put him six shots in front and eventually the winner of the tournament.

When playing ‘birdie ball’, which is a requisite at the Deere, the short game and putter need to be clicking and for Thompson, they were. He ranked fifth in scrambling, converting 11 of 13 opportunities with his Titleist Vokey SM10 wedges with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts. He also ranked third in strokes gained/around the green, gaining more than five shots on the field.

It was on the greens, however, where Thompson was magic. Wielding an Odyssey White Hot OG 7S mallet putter with a StrokeLab shaft, Thompson had four impressive rounds of putting, knocking in 93, 75 and 95 feet of putts before dropping 137 feet of putts during the final round. All told, he was first in putts per green in regulation and fifth in strokes gained/putting while producing a tournament-leading 30 birdies.

Which made him the tournament winner as well.

What Davis Thompson had in the bag at the 2024 John Deere Classic:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Driver: Titleist TSR3 (Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70 TX), 9 degrees

3-wood: Ping G430 Max, 15 degrees

7-wood: Ping G430 Max, 21 degrees

Irons (4): Ping i210; (5-9): Titleist 620 MB

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM10 (46, 50, 54, 60 degrees)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 7S