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Davis Thompson makes it three in a row at John Deere Classic ‘Trophy House’

Georgia alum earns first PGA TOUR title at TPC Deere Run

Make it 24 in ’24.

And three-for-three for “Trophy House”.

In what started as a crowded final-round race for the John Deere Classic trophy, Davis Thompson quickly found himself running alone on Sunday.

He lapped the field with birdies on six of his first nine holes en route to a closing 7-under 64 at TPC Deere Run, a tournament record-setting total of 28-under 256, and a four-shot win over a trio of runners-up.

In his second year and 63rd start on the PGA TOUR, the 25-year-old blossoming star from Georgia became the 24th player to score his first PGA TOUR victory in the 53-year history of the Quad Cities event.

And, notably, he became the third straight winner out of an Airbnb rental house located just a few miles from TPC Deere Run, following 2022 winner J.T. Poston and last year’s winner Sepp Straka.

The newest Trophy House winner was the last man to book a room there this year when Straka opted for a hotel room with his wife and new baby, as Thompson found himself traveling solo while his wife, Holly Grace, served as a bridesmaid back home.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Thompson said of the improbable streak of victories for visitors to the six-bedroom house just outside Colona, Illinois. “I stayed in Sepp’s room. Me and him may be fighting for that room next year.”

Although Thompson’s talent had him trending toward victory, he said more than coincidence may be behind the success of Trophy House.

“Staying in a hotel room by myself, I probably would’ve let my mind wander a lot,” he said after taking a share of the lead into Sunday for just the second time on TOUR. “My mind did wander, but hanging out with those guys last night, doing laundry and watching sports kind of kept my mind off things.”

Said Poston, one of this year’s six housemates, “We have fun, play a lot of cards and once we get home it’s pretty relaxed. I think when you’re playing well, that’s nice to go back to that and not be thinking about your golf. Obviously, it’s working.”

So are a new set of Titleist irons that Thompson put in his bag and a new golf ball he put in play in April. He’s had six top-25 finishes since the change, including runner-up finishes at the Myrtle Beach Classic and last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Now, he has a dominating victory over arguably the deepest field in Quad Cities history, and he has joined a stalwart group of recent first-time TPC Deere Run winners that includes major champions Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Brian Harman.

To hear fellow TOUR players who know the former University of Georgia All-American well, Thompson has the game to match that latter trio’s subsequent success.

“I have been telling him for a couple of years he’s capable of reaching the top of the game, being a consistent Ryder Cupper for America and probably getting into the top 10 of the world,” said fellow Georgia alum Brendon Todd. “He’s that good. There’s not a lot of difference between his game and where Scottie Scheffler was three years ago.

“I said last week he’d probably be the guy who’d keep the mojo going for that house.”

Two-time major winner Zach Johnson is a close friend of Thompson’s father, Todd, a former Georgia Bulldog golfer himself and tournament director of The RSM Classic. Johnson often plays alongside Davis Thompson back home on St. Simons Island, Georgia, with accomplished pros like Harman, Poston, Harris English, Patton Kizzire and Davis Love III, among others.

“We saw it coming about two, three months ago,” Johnson said. “He did some changes in his golf bag and it started to click. He’s in that talent realm, and what we’re seeing, if you know him, it’s not surprising.”

Thompson might be the last guy to say such things out loud. Quiet, sneaky funny, and mostly unemotional are words those close to him use to describe him.

His wife, who flew to the Quad Cities on Sunday, said Thompson showed more emotion when the final putt dropped on Sunday than he did on their wedding day, but having dated Thompson since high school, she well knows the heart of a lion he carries inside.

“He is literally a national treasure,” she said. “He’s a secret, but once you get to know him, he’s a whole different person.”

Thompson conceded his expectations upon joining the TOUR were not inconsiderable.

“I mean, of course, like every young guy, my expectation was to win every week, and that’s just not feasible,” he said.

Yet, rather than tempering expectations, he worked doubly hard to attain them.

“It just kind of takes me a while to get adjusted, and then once I get comfortable, I kind of get in a groove and start to play well,” he said. “I feel like the past couple months, I got more and more comfortable and was able to break through this week.”

With his victory, he earned a $1.44 million check and moved to No. 22 in the FedExCup standings. He also secured exemptions into The Open at Royal Troon later this month and next April’s Masters in his native Georgia.

More spoils may follow. Playing in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and ranking near the top of the game certainly are ambitions, but he knows those are rewards to be earned.

“Yeah, I mean, obviously those are the goals,” he said. “But now that I’ve got my first win, I feel like the work is only beginning. The goal is to play this game for 20-plus years and have a great career.

“Yeah, as far as goals, honestly, just not really thinking about that right now. Just hopefully trying to get some sleep on (the Deere) charter flight to the Genesis Scottish Open.”

That, and, perhaps, to sleep in Trophy House again next July.

Written by Craig DeVrieze for PGATOUR.com