Early birthday present for O'Hair

Sean O’Hair collected his first PGA Tour title after firing a bogey-free six-under-par 65 for a one-stroke victory at the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

Sean O’Hair collected his first PGA Tour title after firing a bogey-free six-under-par 65 for a one-stroke victory at the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

O’Hair, who turns 23 tomorrow, began the day six shots behind JL Lewis but finished strongly to collect $720,000 (€601,500) and an invitation to St Andrews for this week’s Open.

At last month’s Byron Nelson Championship, O’Hair gave away the final-round lead to Ted Purdy but this time he turned the tables as he hurdled 10 golfers on the leaderboard and became the seventh first-time winner on the US tour this year.

After posting a score of 16 under 268, O’Hair saw several players catch him but never pass him.

As he waited out the prospect of a play-off, he saw both former champion Lewis and Hank Kuehne stumble down the home stretch.

Lewis, the 1999 champion and a runner-up in 2003, was tied for the lead with two holes to play but finished bogey-bogey to complete a one-over 72. He had begun the day with a three-shot lead.

Kuehne birdied the 17th to move within a stroke of O’Hair and appeared in position to force a play-off when he blasted his drive at the par-four 18th an astonishing 375 yards through two tall trees, leaving himself just 94 yards to the hole.

But Kuehne’s wedge approach was a bit strong and stopped in the fringe, 15 feet from the cup.

He left the tough putt short, finishing with a 68 to share second with Robert Damron (67).

Lewis was at 270 with defending champion Mark Hensby, whose 64 was the best round of the day, and Wes Short Jr, who shared the lead with Lewis at the turn but bogeyed 17 and settled for a 66.

All eyes were on Michelle Wie at the start of the tournament, but the 15-year-old missed the cut by two strokes.

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