Matteson leads, Stricker lurks

2012-07-13 07:29
Troy Matteson (File)
Illinois - Troy Matteson fired a sizzling 61 without a bogey on Thursday at the John Deere Classic on Thursday, but three-time defending champion Steve Stricker kept the first-round leader in his sights.

Matteson's 10-under effort on the par-71 TPC Deere Run course gave him a three-shot first-round lead over Ricky Barnes, who had eight birdies in a seven-under 64.

Stricker was among seven players sharing third place on six-under 65 after a round that included an eagle at the par-four 14th along with five birdies and one bogey.

Stricker holed out from 80 yards out in the fairway at the 14th, and then added two more birdies at 15 and 17. He missed a birdie attempt at 18 and tapped in for par.

He was joined on 65 by Robert Garrigus, Scott Piercy, South Korea's K.J. Choi, Brian Harman, Luke Guthrie and England's Gary Christian.

Matteson, who needed just 24 putts, arrived at his final hole, the par-four ninth, needing an eagle to reach golf's magical number of 59.

He admitted he thought about it as he stood in the fairway with 189 yards to the pin, instead he ended up making par from a bunker.

"I just ran out of holes," said Matteson, who equalled his career best on the US PGA Tour. He also carded a 61 in the 2009 Open, where he claimed the last of his two tour victories.

Matteson was especially pleased that the round came on Thursday, since he has struggled this season to get off to a good start in many tournaments.

"I've always been one of those slow Thursday players," Matteson said. "It makes for a lot of long Fridays, and then you have to work your way up during the weekend. It's always nice to get a good start."

Birdies are often plentiful at TPC Deere Run, which has seen at least one score of 62 or better every year since 2008. On Friday, only 46 players were over par as the field averaged 69.6 strokes.

"You'll have to be in the 20s (under par) to have a chance to win," Barnes predicted. "At most tournaments, when you're four-under through eight holes, you're in the lead or tied. Here, you have to keep up that kind of pace."

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the $4.6 million John Deere Classic US PGA Tour event (USA unless noted):

61 - Troy Matteson

64 - Ricky Barnes

65 - Robert Garrigus, Scott Piercy, K.J. Choi (KOR), Brian Harman, Steve Stricker, Luke Guthrie, Gary Christian (ENG)

66 - Stuart Appleby (AUS), Tom Gillis, Bill Lunde, Chris DiMarco, Spencer Levin, Jimmy Walker, Bobby Gates, Duffy Waldorf, Ben Crane, Tommy Biershenk

67 - Lee Janzen, Chris Couch, Ted Potter, Rory Sabbatini (RSA), John Merrick, Patrick Sheehan, Chez Reavie, William McGirt, a-Patrick Rodgers, Nathan Green (AUS), Alex Cejka (GER), Dicky Pride, Hunter Haas, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Tim Clark (RSA), Ryan Moore, J.J. Henry, Martin Flores, Steve Wheatcroft, Chris Riley

Read more on:    john deere classic  |  golf

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who will win the 2016 edition of the Ryder Cup?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.