John Deere Classic: Bottom line is the youthful talent should put PGA Tour veterans on alert

This past week, the John Deere Classic showed off some youthful muscle.

Towards the top of the leaderboard sat multiple young golfers who made TPC Deere run look easy.

Davis Thompson, a 25-year-old, set a new scoring record en route to winning his first PGA Tour event.

Two of the three golfers tied for second place played collegiately earlier this year in, Michael Thorbjornsen and current amateur Luke Clanton.

The Florida State rising junior recorded his second straight Top 10 finish, a feat that an amateur has not completed in almost 70 years. He became the first amateur since Billy Joe Patton did so in 1957 at the U.S. Open and The Masters.

“We came into the week with pretty high expectations,” Clanton said. “I think I reached that expectation for sure. Of course, you want to win. But again, to do what I did out there today was awesome. It’s just a blessing to be here, man. It’s unreal to make a birdie on the last hole and do all that. Seeing Michael play well, it was just awesome.”

The youngster went 63-67-67-63 on the week. Clanton was pretty quiet on the front nine Sunday morning, but the 20-year-old kicked it up a notch once he made the turn. He came home in 30 strokes, birding four of his last five holes.

Clanton will tee it up for the third straight event at the ISCO Championship this week.

Thornbjornsen, in his third start since earning his Tour card through PGA Tour U, finished tied for second place and won $712,000. The former Stanford golfer fired off an 8-under 63 in the final round to move up four spots.

That push was huge for him moving forward. He missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but to come out and finish as a runner-up is truly impressive.

“It does a lot. I knew I needed a big round,” Thorbjornsen said. “Can’t try and make everything. It just comes to you. I set myself up the best way I probably could.”

“Even though the driver wasn’t working great on some holes, when I did hit it well I took advantage of it — Stuck a lot of my shots close. Probably the best iron play that I had this week. So, yeah, it just clicks, and things went my way today.”

Thompson earned his victory in his 62nd start. He was the 24th PGA Tour player to win for the first time at the John Deere Classic.

These are just three of the youngsters surging on Tour right now. One could suggest there is a movement going on right now. The young guys are taking over. They are coming to the Korn Ferry and PGA Tour with much more experience playing against strong players and handling the pressure.

College golf is uber-competitive, which helps them make an easier transition onto the professional circuit. This performance should put veterans on high alert. While they still have experience helping them, these young guys are coming out ready.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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