Davis Thompson becomes latest Georgia Bulldog to win on PGA Tour

Victory earns Atlanta native spot in Open Championship, Masters
Third-round leader Davis Thompson watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the third round of the John Deere Classic on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at TPC Deere Run, in Silvis, Ill. (Roy Dabner/Quad City Times via AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Third-round leader Davis Thompson watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the third round of the John Deere Classic on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at TPC Deere Run, in Silvis, Ill. (Roy Dabner/Quad City Times via AP)

ATHENS – With Davis Thompson’s victory Sunday, they might consider renaming the John Deere Classic.

“Bulldog Classic” has a nice ring to it.

Thompson, an Atlanta native, became the third Georgia Bulldog to win the John Deere when he fired a tournament record 28-under-par to notch his first career win on the PGA Tour. Thompson follows Sepp Straka, who won on the Silvis, Ill., golf course last year, and 2014 John Deere champion Brian Harman.

There were two really nice perks about winning the John Deere. One, it gets him into the field for the Masters next April. More importantly, it earned him a seat on the John Deere’s charter jet heading to Edinborough, Scotland, for the Scottish Open and, ultimately, The Open Championship a week later. The PGA Tour victory earned him an exemption into the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon in South Ayrshire, Scotland.

“Qualifying for The Open was just an added incentive,” a tearful Thompson said on the CBS telecast. “The goal after getting here this week was to win the golf tournament. I got off to a great start and was able to finish it off.

Thompson’s wife, Holly Grace Robinson, flew in overnight Saturday to witness the final round. She watched her husband leave the rest of the field in the dust. He followed Saturday’s 62 that put him atop the leaderboard with a final round of 7-under 64.

“It was just a matter of time,” Georgia golf coach Chris Haack said of his 12th player winning on the PGA Tour, 17 Bulldogs overall. “He is such a hard worker and good player with a good head on his shoulders. I was texting with him last night, reminding him of keeping his foot on the pedal like Sepp did last year.”

Said Thompson: “I just tried to stay present all day long. When that last putt rolled in, just a big sigh of relief.”

It was Thompson’s first victory in 63 events on the PGA Tour. He earned his tour card in 2023 as a Top 16 finisher on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Thompson moves up to No. 22 in the FedEx Cup standings. It was his fourth Top 3 finish and sixth Top 10.

The 25-year-old currently resides in St. Simons Island. At Georgia, Thompson was a two-time All-American and 2021 SEC Player of the Year. He won four individual titles while with the Bulldogs, including medalist honors in the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Regionals. He played for the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2020 and the Walker Cup in 2021.

“It’s great,” Thompson said of finally breaking through. “I’ve been working hard this year. It was OK for a while, but I kind of got going the last month. I played well last week and just tried to keep it rolling.”