Stricker vaults into John Deere contention with 61

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2006 John Deere ClassicSILVIS, Ill. ' Steve Stricker has vaulted into second place at the John Deere Classic, tying a course record and matching the lowest score of his career with a 10-under 61 Saturday that left him three strokes behind Darron Stiles through two rounds.
 
Stiles (65), the first-round co-leader with Lee Janzen, remained on top at 13-under 129. Stricker, however, stole the show on a sunny day at TPC Deere Run.
 
The Wisconsin native and Illinois alum had plenty of support from the crowd as he assaulted a course that was battered the previous day by the second big rain storm of the week, causing the second round to be pushed back. By the time he was through, he was at 10 under for the tournament after matching a record set by 2002 champion J.P. Hayes. That put him in contention for his sixth PGA Tour victory and second this year heading into the final two rounds on Sunday.
 
I didnt see it coming, Stricker said. I warmed up very poorly on the range this morning. I spent some time out here yesterday later in the day and putted a lot and found a little catch there in my putting. I made a lot of great putts. I wasnt very aggressive at times, but I hit the ball well and gave myself some opportunities.
 
Tim Petrovic (67) and Jerry Kelly (64) were right behind Stricker at 9 under, and two-time U.S. Open champion Janzen (70) was in a crowd at 8 under. Kenny Perry (68) was 6 under, with Zach Johnson (68) 5 under.
 
With 36 holes scheduled for Sunday, the players are staring at a long day and a short break between rounds ' if they get one at all ' because they wont be re-grouped.
 
You may not be playing with the leader at all, Stricker said. The leader could be behind us, in front of us. You dont know where they can come from.
 
Stricker seemed to come out of nowhere after an even first round.
 
He teed off on No. 10 in the morning and set the tone with birdies on four of his first six holes. The assault continued on No. 17, when he buried a 93-yard wedge for an eagle on the par-5 to go 6 under, and he made the turn at 7 under after dropping in a 17-foot birdie putt on 18.
 
Two more on the first and second holes moved him to 9 under, and thats when thoughts of 59 started creeping into Strickers head. The momentum momentarily came to a stop when he bogeyed the par-3 fourth, but that vision came back on the par-4 sixth when his 130-yard approach settled 8 feet from the cup to set up a birdie to go 10 under with three holes remaining.
 
It entered my mind, but yet, I tried to play smart, too, and not get crazy and do anything out of my norm, Stricker said.
 
So he settled for a course record, instead of a Tour record. He delivered one of his best performances, instead of a historic performance.
 
Overall, quite a day.
 
He needed just nine putts on his first nine holes and 22 in all, matching a career best.
 
The 61 tied the career low he set in January in the third round at the Bob Hope Classic. He followed that with a 62 but wound up in a tie for third after a collapse on the fifth day.
 
I feel comfortable going low and I dont get spooked, said Stricker, who won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May.
 
As low as he went on Saturday, he still has some more work.
 
Standing in Strickers way is Stiles, a 36-year-old who has never finished higher than ninth on the Tour and had made just one of 11 cuts this year. Now, he has the lead heading into Sunday.
 
Ive done it before, said Stiles, a four-time winner on the Nationwide Tour. Maybe not on the big Tour, but Ive done it.
 
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    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

    Check out the full interview below:

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    Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

    By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

    He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

    He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

    He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

    And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

    While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

    The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

    Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

    Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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    Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

    In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

    Made Cut

    Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

    The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

    To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

    Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

    Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

    The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

    “Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

    Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

    Tweet of the week:

    Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

    “No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


    Missed Cut

    Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

    As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

    Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

    In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

    Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

    Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.