Wagner one back at Deere after second-round 63

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SILVIS, Ill. - Johnson Wagner put on a ball-striking clinic Friday and went on a lengthy birdie run to shoot a bogey-free, 8-under 63 and enters the weekend one stroke off the lead held by Justin Thomas.

Wagner hit 14 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens and through two rounds is second in both strokes gained-putting and strokes gained-total.

Seven of his eight birdies came in an eight-hole stretch from Nos. 6-13, with the lone par coming at the par-5 10th after a 9-footer wouldn't go.


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"I just got hot with the putter," said Wagner, who says he's been working hard on his stroke over the last three weeks after struggling on the greens. "I hit the ball real solid and had good chances on a lot of holes and I felt really comfortable.

Wagner is a three-time winner on Tour but is in search of his first title since the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii. He came close earlier this year at the Shell Houston Open, before losing in a playoff to J.B. Holmes. Wagner hasn't played in a major since the 2013 Open Championship but could be on a charter from TPC Deere Run to St. Andrews with a win this week.

"I'm excited," he said. "I had a chance to [win] earlier this year and just didn't. I'd like to think I could be Jordan Spieth and have a chance to win every week, but I'll take my three, four, five times a year hopefully, and I'm just happy to be here."