SILVIS — Wesley Bryan and Rick Lamb have a lot in common.
They both are experiencing their first full year on the PGA Tour and they both came from colleges in the Southeastern Conference.
At TPC Deere Run on Sunday, they shared a similar disheartening experience that cost them a shot at the bronze buck on the last hole of the front nine.
One of the more difficult holes on the course, the par-4 ninth gave Bryan and Lamb each a bogey and a strong back nine wasn’t enough for either of them as they finished in a tie for third at 16-under par at the 47th John Deere Classic.
“Just got out of position off the tee,” Lamb said. “Couldn’t really get out of a jam.”
A Tennessee grad, Lamb earned his first career top-10 finish on Tour, beating his previous best, a tie for 17th at the Travelers Championship. Bryan earned his fifth top-10 finish in 22 starts this season.
No. 9 played as the toughest hole on Sunday with just eight birdies to 44 pars and 19 bogeys. Lamb and Bryan experienced the latter in similar situations.
Lamb, who carded a 5-under 66 for a four-round total of 268, slightly hooked his tee shot to the left and it landed in the rough. He then created more problems on his second shot that hit the right-side bunker near the green.
Once the 26-year old landed on the green, he faced a 23-foot putt that he left a bit short and tapped in for a five, his final bogey of the day.
“As a lefty, it’s hard to get it to cut from the rough there,” Lamb said. “I thought I hit a good putt. Thought it was going to turn back a little at the end.
“Kicking myself after the tee shot, not the putt.”
Bryan’s first shot dropped down in the intermediate rough and he had to chip his way onto the green with his wedge.
The South Carolina grad had an eight-foot putt for par that lipped out and he settled for his final bogey of the day as well. Bryan also had a bogey on No. 6, where he three-putted.
“Those are just really, really dumb mistakes,” he said.
Once both players made the turn, it seemed their mistakes were behind them.
A combined 9-under par from each golfer made for a hectic run to the finish line. At one point, Bryan, who recorded a 7-under 64 in the final round, made five straight birdies on holes 13-17 and was tied for the lead. He had another birdie chance at 18 from over 20 feet that fell four inches short of the cup.
“I looked at Willie (Lanier), we were just trying to make as many birdies as we could on the back nine,” Bryan said. “I expected those guys to go a little bit lower a little bit quicker. Bunch of tap-ins on the back nine, really stress free.”
After garnering his first win at the RBC Heritage in mid-April, Bryan didn’t have a finish in the top-25 that included three missed cuts and only one tournament under par.
Now, the 27-year old will head to the Open Championship for the first time in his young career.
“I worked a lot at home this past week on shots that I’m going to be having next week,” Bryan said. “It’s trending in the right direction and in pretty good form.”
Lamb, who roared into contention with a 63 on Saturday, birdied three of the last five holes. His most impressive one came on No. 17, with a chip shot from the green side bunker that fell just under eight feet from the hole.
“The back nine there are plenty of opportunities,” Lamb said. “Probably took me from 20th place to tied for third. Obviously big for FedEx Cup points; it’s big for me.”
It’s also a big payday for Lamb. In his brief career, the Indiana native has pocketed just over $300,000 in earnings. He’ll bring home close to $20,000 more than that.
“The money is great, but it’s all about getting points to keep my card for next year, he said. “It’s good to see my game going to where I think it can be.”