Stricker, Guthrie in hunt
SILVIS (AP) — Don't look now, Troy Matteson, but defending champion Steve Stricker isn't going anywhere — except maybe up the leaderboard.
Matteson carded a 3-under-par 68 for a 1-stroke lead over Jeff Maggert and Brian Harman after two rounds of the John Deere Classic on Friday, but Stricker, a former Illini, was 3 strokes behind Matteson after a 67.
Stricker's quest for a fourth straight John Deere title included five birdies after a bogey on his second hole of the day.
"I like the spot I'm in," Stricker said. "I'd rather kind of be there at this point."
After the round, Stricker went to the putting green to work on his stroke, despite taking 29 putts.
"I'm hitting better putts," Stricker said. "I feel my confidence coming back. I'm standing over putts thinking I've got a good opportunity to make 'em, even from 20 to 30 feet."
Luke Guthrie, another former Illini, was 1 stroke behind Stricker at 133 after a second-round 68. Ex-Illini D.A. Points missed the cut after shooting a second-round 73 for a 141 total.
Maggert's bogey-free round of 9-under 62 moved him from 39th place after the first round to a tie for second. He birdied half the holes at TPC Deere Run, including five of his last nine.
Harman had a second straight 65, the last two of his seven birdies coming after a 48-minute thunderstorm delay.
Matteson bogeyed the par-4 18th after getting four birdies in the first 17 holes.
Maggert 1-putted 10 greens and saved par twice en route to matching his career-low round. He finished by making a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth hole.
"I saw the putts better today," Maggert said. "But I'm going to be aggressive tomorrow. I feel I need another really low round Saturday or Sunday, 7 or 8 under, to be in contention. The last few years, guys have really been lighting it up here."
Including Maggert's 62 and Matteson's first-round 61, there have been eight rounds of 62 or lower at Deere Run in the past five years and 11 since the tournament moved to the course in 2000. The best effort was Paul Goydos' PGA Tour-record-tying 59 two years ago.
J.J. Henry, Gary Christian, Robert Garrigus and Ricky Barnes were tied for fourth at 11-under 131.
Joining Stricker at 10-under 132 were Tommy Biershenk and two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen.
Zach Johnson shot a 6-under 65 and was at 9-under 133.
Harman finished his 65 by chipping in for birdie on the ninth hole.