Date: July 13, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Spieth wins again, No. 1 beckons

Jordan Spieth's electrifying run continues at full pace. The American won the John Deere Classic in a playoff today and heads to the Open Championship at St Andrews this week within a breath of becoming the No. 1 player in the world.

In fact, with four wins including two major titles this year the surprise is that 21-year-old Spieth is not No. 1 already; it was only that Rory McIlroy begun the year so far ahead in the rankings that has held up Spieth.

Ever since the Texan won the Emirates Australian Open at The Australian last November he has been virtually unstoppable.

At the TPC Deere Run outside Chicago he was outside the top 100 after the first round when he admitted he was "rusty", worked his way back into contention on Friday then exploded with a 61 on Saturday. Today he carded a three-under par 68 to reach a playoff with the 46-year-old American Tom Gillis.

They both parred the first playoff hole, TPC Deere Run's 18th, but at the second hole of sudden-death Gillis pushed his drive right and was left with a tricky second through trees. The veteran hooked his shot left and into the pond on the left of the 18th hole, leaving Spieth to hit the green in regulation and two-putt for the win.

Gillis made bogey but earned himself a place in the Open Championship field with his second-place finish.

Since March, Spieth has won the Valspar Championship, the Masters at Augusta National, the US Open at Chambers Bay, and the John Deere, earning more than $US 8 million. Yet he does not turn 22 for another fortnight.

At St Andrews this week, he will attempt to take the third leg of golf's modern Grand Slam — the set of all four majors in one calendar year.

With McIlroy injured and not playing, Spieth will become world No. 1 if he wins the Open.

Meanwhile in Europe another white hot player, Rickie Fowler, won the Scottish Open to climb to a career-high No. 5 in the world rankings and set himself up for St Andrews.

John Senden was the closest of the Australians, tied-22nd in that event.

In Japan, Brad Kennedy finished tied-second in the Musee Platinum Open, just a shot from the winner.