The three-time defending champion shot 4-under 67 on Friday to reach 10 under through two rounds at TPC Deere Run.
Stricker started off on the wrong foot, making bogey at No. 11 - his second hole of the day - after missing the green for the second day in a row. From then, however, Stricker made five birdies and did not drop another shot.
While opening rounds of 65 and 67 have him knocking on the door of a fourth Deere title, Stricker knows he needs one very low round to win again - like the 61 he shot in 2009 or, better still, the 60 in 2010.
'I need a low round,' he said. 'That's what it's going to take. One of these two rounds on Saturday or Sunday I'm going to have to put up a real low one and get right in there.'