Originally created 07/30/01

Gossett wins John Deere Classic



SILVIS, Ill. -- David Gossett earned a spot on the PGA Tour on Sunday, closing with a 5-under-par 66 for a one-stroke victory over Briny Baird in the John Deere Classic.

Gossett, the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion, is the first player to win using a sponsor exemption since Tiger Woods in the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational. The former University of Texas star earned $504,000 and gained a tour exemption through 2003.

Gossett finished with a 19-under 265 total on the TPC at Deere Run. The 22-year-old player is the seventh first-time winner this year. He played 12 Buy.com Tour events this year after failing to gain a PGA Tour card last winter despite shooting a 59 in the qualifying tournament.

Gossett took a one-stroke lead over Baird, Bradley Hughes and Paul Stankowski into Sunday's round and kept his advantage with a 3-under 32 on the front nine.

Baird also had a 32 to stay within one. He birdied the par-4 11th to tie Gossett at 17 under, but Gossett birdied at the 13th and 15th to reach 19 under.

Gossett got himself into a bit of trouble when his drive at the par-5 17th missed the fairway, but he got a free drop after the ball rolled into an area considered ground under repair.

From there he laid up short of the green, pitched to 7 feet, and two-putted for par. Baird, playing with Gossett, two putted for a birdie to close within one.

Gossett drove into the right rough at 18 and Baird was in a trap along the left side of the fairway. Gossett's second was over the green, but he chipped to 4 feet and knocked in the putt for the victory.

Baird had a chance to tie Gossett, but his birdie putt at the 18th never had a chance. He matched Gossett's 66 and pocketed $302,400.

Tour veteran Pete Jordan shot himself into the mix with a 4-under 31 and shared the lead with Gossett after a birdie at the par-3 seventh put him 16 under.

Jordan, who started the day at 11 under, slipped back with a bogey at the ninth, then birdied the 14th and 15th holes to get back to 17 under, good for third place.

Jeff Sluman, winner of last week's B.C. Open, shot a 65, including a 6-under 30 on the back nine, to finished fourth at 268. Ian Leggatt and Matt Gogel tied for fifth at 269.