Kurt Slattery always dreamed of playing in the John Deere Classic. Now, after some Monday-qualifying heroics, the 27-year-old assistant pro has realized that dream.
Slattery, who played college golf at Western Illinois and now is an assistant pro at Pinnacle Country Club, was 3 under through 17 holes of Monday’s John Deere Classic qualifier at Pinnacle. At that point, Slattery figured he needed to get to 5 under to have a shot at getting into a playoff for the fourth and final spot in this week’s John Deere Classic.
“Standing on the 18th tee when I was 3 under par, I knew I had to make eagle to do it,” Slattery told the Quad-City Times.
He did, carding eagle at the par-5 18th to shoot 5-under 67 and get into a 7-for-1 playoff. But Slattery wasn’t done yet. He then holed a 44-yard pitch on the first playoff hole for his second straight eagle to win the playoff.
“I’m in complete shock. This was a lot of hard work,” Slattery told the Times. “I made so many changes to myself with my body, my mind, and my attitude, that this has just been a long time coming. … I’ve been dreaming of this since I was 7 years old at Highland Springs in Rock Island. I just always believed in myself and knew I could do it. It feels so great to have done it.”
After seven years of attempting to Monday qualify for the event and failing each time, Slattery will now compete in the John Deere Classic, which begins Thursday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., where Slattery also gives lessons. It will be his first PGA Tour start.
“This is the best day of my life,” Slattery said. “I am so excited for what lies ahead. And you know what, I’ll go into John Deere with the utmost confidence that I can play with anybody in the world. And if I bring my ‘A’-game, I’ll be ready to contend.”
Former Florida standout Sam Horsfield shot 6-under 66, as did Cliff Kresge and Matt Lee, to also Monday qualify.