Ryan Moore follows son's adorable advice en route to title at John Deere Classic

Ryan Moore follows son's adorable advice en route to title at John Deere Classic

PGA Tour

Ryan Moore follows son's adorable advice en route to title at John Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill. – Every chance that Ryan Moore had to FaceTime with his wife and children during the myriad weather delays that wreaked havoc with the John Deere Classic, his three-year-old son Tucker barked out strict instructions for how many birdies his daddy needed to make. When Tucker said six, Moore made six on Saturday.

“I’m going, ‘Say nine, say nine,’” Moore said. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying necessarily. He just knows birdies are good, so might as well have a lot of them.”

It turned out the 33-year-old Moore, the tournament’s 54-hole leader, didn’t need that many on Sunday. Moore birdied two of the first four holes, including a 26-footer at the fourth, and built a commanding lead.

“To get another birdie early, just to show the guys that were one or two shots behind me, like I’m not messing around today. I’m coming out making birdies, too,” Moore said.

He closed with a 4-under-par 67 for a 72-hole total of 22-under 262 and a two-stroke victory over Ben Martin. In the scoring trailer, Martin, razzed him, saying, “Great job. You couldn’t make one bogey out there for me today?”

As a matter of fact, Moore played the last 46 holes bogey-free en route to his fifth Tour title and fourth in the last five years.

“Hats off to him for just a solid round of golf,” Martin said. “I don’t think he ever really sniffed a bogey. He did what you’re supposed to do when you play with the lead on Sunday.”

Moore, who made his eighth start in the John Deere Classic, has now posted 23 straight sub-par scores at TPC Deere Run. Strangely enough, Moore skipped the tournament in 2010 and 2011 before adding it back to his schedule at the recommendation of his caddie.

“It’s one I’ve really grown to like over the years,” he said. “When I came back and started playing it again, I don’t know, I just — I appreciated it more for some reason or another. Maybe I’ve learned over the years the type of golf courses that are good for me and that set up well for me, and this is definitely one of them.”

Martin, who fired a third-round 62, shot a 3-under 68. He trimmed Moore’s lead to two with his third straight birdie in a row at the 14th, but that would be his last circle on the card.

“I felt like if I maybe made one more birdie, it could have got a little more interesting,” said Martin, whose lone win was the 2015 Shriners Hospital for Children Open. “This is my second-best finish of my career, so just kind of building blocks and keep moving in the right direction and ride that wave of momentum and see what happens.”

Whee Kim and Morgan Hoffmann tied for third at 17 under. Kim shot a 4-under 67, while Hoffmann, who came into the day joint second, shot an even-par 71.

In what was a watered down field due to the Olympics in Rio, each of the top four finishers registered his best finish of the season. Ricky Barnes, Kelly Kraft and Johnson Wagner tied for fifth at 15 under. Former champion Zach Johnson finished T-34 at nine under after a 68 in his final round. Defending champion Jordan Spieth chose to skip this week because he didn’t think it would be appropriate in light of his decision to skip the Rio Olympics.

With his victory, Moore moves to No. 23 in the FedExCup standings. He is one of 22 players who is a perfect nine-for-nine in FedExCup Playoffs appearances. He, too, would like to ride a wave of momentum into the four-event playoffs, which begin in two weeks.

“I’ve been in the top 30 going into the Playoffs or in the 30s the last few years, and I haven’t made it to the Tour Championship,” Moore said. “I’ve kind of plateaued a couple weeks before and haven’t played great going into them.”

As he proved at the John Deere Classic, all he needs to do is keep hitting his son’s birdie quota and he’ll be just fine.

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