Titleist Brand Ambassador Steve Stricker earned his second PGA Tour title in six weeks at the John Deere Classic, once again lighting up leader boards and highlight reels while leading a 1-through-11 finish for Titleist golf ball players.
For the second time this season, Stricker shot four rounds in the 60s and hit a How-did-he-do-that? bunker shot down the stretch Sunday, trusting his Titleist Pro V1x golf ball and bag of Titleist equipment to a one-shot victory.
It marked Stricker's third-consecutive win at the John Deere Classic as well as one of four wins on the weekend for Titleist golf ball players around the globe – including Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald's victory at the Barclays Scottish Open and Pro V1 loyalist So Yeon Ryu's major triumph at the U.S. Women's Open.
So far in 2011, Titleist golf ball players have combined for 89 victories across the worldwide professional tours, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 12 and more than all competitors combined.
At the John Deere, Stricker led the field with 25 birdies over the four days at TPC Deere Run, including two consecutive birdies to close out the tournament.
On the par-5 17th, Stricker chipped to 15 feet right of the pin, then rolled his Pro V1x golf ball in the middle of the cup for birdie, setting up one of the most exciting finishes of the year on the PGA Tour.
Tied for the lead on the par-4 18th, Stricker stood over his approach shot on a downslope in the left fairway bunker, one foot in the sand and one foot in the grass.
He pulled his Titleist AP2 6-iron and picked his Pro V1x golf ball clean, launching it over the left water hazard to the back fringe, 25 feet and 3 inches from the hole. (During his victory at The Memorial Tournament last month, Stricker also used his AP2 6-iron to make a hole-in-one in Round 2.)
"The whole key there was just making sure that I clipped it and not fatted it or bladed it into the lip in front of me. But I felt pretty confident," said Stricker, who also made two treacherous sand saves on the back nine of his final round at Memorial. "My footing was pretty good, and I took an extra club thinking that I could get it all the way back to the pin.
"And then to make the putt, you know – I don't know what to say about that."
You can watch video of Stricker's 18th hole below:
Stricker posted rounds of 66-64-63-69 for a 22-under 262 total.
At tournament's end, the top 11 spots on the John Deere leader board were occupied by Titleist golf ball players, including Titleist Brand Ambassadors Zach Johnson (66-69-67-65) and Matt McQuillan (64-69-70-64), who tied for third at 17-under 267.
In total, 111 players relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 13 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist also was first in iron sets (43), including 24 sets of the new Prototype Titleist AP1, AP2, MB and CB (712 Series) irons; sand, lob and approach wedges (138); and putters (69).
Stricker's victory, the 11th of his PGA Tour career, was the 21st of the year for Titleist golf ball players on the PGA Tour, seven times the nearest competitor with three and more than all competitors combined.
Stricker also became the fourth player to win twice on the PGA Tour in 2011, along with Titleist Brand Ambassador Nick Watney and Pro V1x loyalists Mark Wilson and Bubba Watson. He is currently the only golfer to have multiple wins each of the last three years (2009, 2010 and 2011).
Here's a closer look at Stricker's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 909D3 8.5º, (UST Mamiya Proforce V2 86)
3-wood: Titleist 906F2 13º, (UST Mamiya Proforce V2 96)
Hybrid: Titleist 909H 19º (UST Mamiya Proforce V2 Hybrid 104)
Irons: AP2 3-P (KBS Prototype)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 253•09º, 259•11º (True Temper Dynamic Gold w/Sensicore)
• LPGA: Pro V1 loyalist So Yeon Ryu captured the U.S. Women's Open with a sensational six-hole Monday finish at The Broadmoor.
After a week of weather delays and roller-coaster conditions in Colorado, Ryu woke up Monday morning with three holes remaining in her final round, one shot back of fellow South Korean and Pro V1x loyalist Hee Kyung Seo.
After making pars at Nos. 16 and 17, Ryu hit a 6-iron to 5 feet on No. 18 and rolled her Pro V1 golf ball in the hole for birdie to force the three-hole playoff at 3-under 281.
Ryu, who shot rounds of 74-69-69-69, ran away in the extra session, making an 8-footer for birdie on No. 17 and sticking her approach to 4 feet on No. 18 for her third birdie of the day.
At 21, Ryu became the third-youngest U.S. Women's Open champion.
"I've won on the KLPGA tournament six times, but no major," she said. "I won the U.S. Women's Open, so I can't believe it."
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the U.S. Women's Open with 112 players, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 14 and more than all competitors combined.
• EUROPEAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist and World No. 1 Luke Donald captured his third title of the season, closing with an error-free 9-under 63 to win the weather-shortened Barclays Scottish Open.
Donald's nine-birdie, zero-bogey 63 marked the best round of his European Tour career, giving him a 19-under 197 total, four shots ahead of runner-up and fellow Pro V1x loyalist Fredrik Andersson Hed, who made a Sunday charge with a tournament-best 10-under 62.
For Donald, it was another week of precision and control with his Pro V1x golf ball. He hit 90.7 percent of greens in regulation and 83.3 percent of the fairways over the three rounds at Castle Stuart Golf Links (Saturday's round was washed out and the tournament was reduced to 54 holes), a performance he would certainly love to repeat this week at the Open Championship.
"I'll be high on confidence," Donald said. "I'm obviously hitting the ball nicely and to do it on a links course is even better. That's why I decided to play in Scotland this year, because of the move here to Castle Stuart, and yeah, I'm looking forward to hopefully bringing this game to next week."
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball choice at the event with 92 players, more than four times the nearest competitor with 21 and more than all competitors combined.
• CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1 loyalist Jeff Sluman closed with a 2-under 70 to win the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach for the third time in four years.
Sluman finished with a 10-under 206 victory total for a two-shot victory, making him the tournament's only three-time winner.
"I've been very comfortable on this golf course for the last 20 years," Sluman told PGATour.com. "It's hard to explain. It doesn't mean you're going to play well but I've had success here and I think that's because I am comfortable."
Titleist Brand Ambassadors Jay Haas and David Eger were among three players that tied for second place, two shots behind Sluman.
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 52 players, more than four times the nearest competitor with 12. Titleist also was first in iron sets (25).
• ONEASIA TOUR: KPGA and ONEAsia tour officials were forced to cancel the High 1 Resort Open following numerous delays due to heavy rain and low cloud cover. Only three players were able to complete their second rounds at the High 1 country club on Saturday.
Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 118 players (75.6%), more than eleven times the nearest competitor with 10. Titleist also was first in fairway metals (57); iron sets (64); and hybrids (90).