Assistant pro closes eagle-eagle, qualifies for Deere

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It's tough to envision a more memorable path to qualification than the one Kurt Slattery forged Monday to earn a spot in the John Deere Classic.

Slattery gives lessons at TPC Deere Run, site of this week's PGA Tour stop, and also works as an assistant pro at nearby Pinnacle Country Club which hosted the qualifier where four spots were up for grabs. Slattery, 27, played for nearby Western Illinois University and had tried to Monday qualify into the Deere each of the last seven years without success.

Slattery was 3 under through 17 holes and figured he needed to eagle the par-5 18th to have a chance. He pulled it off to shoot a 5-under 67, only to find that it merely got him into a seven-man playoff for the final qualifying spot.

The playoff didn't last long, though, as Slattery holed a 44-yard pitch on the first extra hole for his second straight eagle to earn his first career PGA Tour start.

"This is the best day of my life," Slattery told the Quad City Times. "I am so excited for what lies ahead. And you know what, I'll go into the John Deere with the utmost confidence that I can play with anybody in the world. If I bring my 'A' game, I'll be ready to contend."

Cliff Kresge, Sam Horsfield and Matt Lee also qualified for the event with rounds of 6-under 66.