Former Illini in the hunt at John Deere Classic
Four past Illinois golfers have a chance to claim victory this weekend in Silvis. Here is how they are faring after the first of four rounds.
Four birdies on the front nine helped the three-time champion to a 3-under 68 and a tie for 24th after the first round. Stricker struggled a bit on the back nine, with bogeys on holes 11 and 15, but he sank a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to pull within five shots of Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini and Brian Harman, the trio of first round leaders at 8-under par.
Langley got off to a blazing start, sinking a 26-foot eagle putt on the second hole to immediately find himself in red numbers. He ultimately finished his first round at that same 2 under par for a 69 that has him tied for 36th. The 5-foot-10 lefty dropped to 3 under par with a birdie on No. 10, but consecutive bogeys on holes 12 and 13 broke his momentum. After finding a greenside bunker on No. 12, Langley nearly saved par only to see his putt fall six inches short. He found a bunker again off the 13th tee before three-putting for bogey.
Two bogeys and a double bogey in his first four holes could have seriously derailed Guthrie’s attempt to contend again at the John Deere Classic. But six birdies in his final 13 holes kept the Quincy native’s chances alive, and his 2-under 69 has him tied with Langley and 26 other golfers. Guthrie’s resurgence started with on Nos. 6 and 8 when he sank 15- and 31-foot birdie putts, respectively.
Points played himself into the logjam at 2 under with birdies on holes 2 and 3 after starting his first round on the back nine, but followed that with a pair of bogeys on holes 4 and 5 and finished his first round with an even-par 71. The Pekin native finds himself tied for 80th heading into today’s second round at TPC Deere Run.