3 young golfers get sponsor exemptions to play John Deere Classic

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Three promising young golfers, all under the age of 21, will get sponsor exemptions to play in the 2013 John Deere Classic.

Jordan Spieth, 19, gets the exemption for the second consecutive year.  Spieth turned pro after his freshman year at Texas, and he has four top-ten finishes in 11 starts this year on the PGA Tour.  Spieth finished the 2012 John Deere Classic tied for 58th.

Patrick Rodgers, 20, also played in the 2012 John Deere Classic with a sponsor exemption.  Rodgers is the Number Eight ranked amateur in the world according to the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.  Rodgers just finished his sophomore season at Stanford, where he was named to the All Pac 12 First Team for the second consecutive year and led his team with a 70.66 stroke average.

Justin Thomas, 20, gets the exemption for the first time.  Thomas just completed his sophomore year at Alabama, and was part of the Crimson Tide’s NCAA National Championship team.  Tomas had a team-leading stroke average of 70.72 in his first two seasons on the Alabama squad.

Thomas and Rodgers were also finalists for the Ben Hogan Award.

Steven Ihm, of the University of Iowa, has already received an exemption to play in this year’s John Deere Classic.

Tournament organizers said Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods each played with sponsor exemptions in previous John Deere Classic tournaments.

Other players who received sponsor exemptions to play in the JDC in recent years include Jason Day, Bill Haas, Luke Guthrie, Matt Kuchar, Spencer Levin, D.A. Points, Webb Simpson, Kyle Stanley, Camilo Villegas, and Nick Watney.

The 2013 John Deere Classic is set for July 8 to 14, 2013 at TPC Deere Run.  Players have until 5 p.m. the Friday before the tournament to commit to the John Deere Classic.  A field of 156 players is expected for the 2013 tournament, with a purse of $4.6 million.  The winner will received $828,000.