SILVIS, Ill. — Steve Wheatcroft shot a career-best 9-under 62 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead in the John Deere Classic.
Wheatcroft birdied seven of the ultimate 9 holes to complete a shot forward of Michael Kim. Johnson Wagner, Nick Taylor, Andres Romero and Joel Dahmen shot opening-round 64s. Francesco Molinari, who received the Quicken Loans National two weeks in the past, was amongst a bunch of gamers three strokes again.
Zach Johnson shot 69 and three-time John Deere winner Steve Stricker completed at 1-under 70.
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, the highest-ranked participant in the sector, withdrew due to a proper shoulder damage.
DeChambeau, who received the Memorial Tournament earlier this season, first tweaked his shoulder on a shot out of the tough on the second gap. He pulled out after an ungainly tee shot on No. 16.
“Look, I’m 24. I’m not that old. But I’ve used my body quite a bit. I’ve hit a lot of golf balls,” DeChambeau mentioned. “I’ve just got to take care of my body a little better.”
Wheatcroft hasn’t had a top-10 end this season, and he is 209th in the FedEx Cup standings. But he caught fireplace on the again 9, ending with six consecutive birdies — together with a 13-foot putt on the par-Four 18th — for simply his third spherical in the 60s this season.
Wheatcroft’s earlier finest scores on the PGA Tour have been 64s on the 2012 Greenbrier Classic and the 2016 Canadian Open.
“I tried to keep the round going. I asked if we could just go to the first tee and start Round 2,” Wheatcroft mentioned. “I don’t know if I’ve ever done that to finish a round. It was great. Yeah, I would just try to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Although he hasn’t finished it on the PGA Tour, the 40-year-old Wheatcroft has a historical past of going low. He shot an 11-under 60 and set what was then the 72-hole Web.com Tour scoring report in his runaway 2011 victory on the Melwood Prince George’s County Open.
Kim, who like Wheatcroft is buried deep in the standings at 161st, notched six birdies on the again 9. The 24-year-old former Cal star can be in search of his first profession victory.
“Been struggling with the putter a little bit, but [I] got a good mental note from the morning warm-up [Thursday] and rolled it great,” mentioned Kim, who holed three putts of no less than 20 ft, together with a 41-footer on No. 18.
Johnson accomplished his 38th straight spherical of par or higher at TPC Deere Run. But he is aware of he’ll must do higher than 2 beneath on Friday at a course identified for low scores.
“I mean, I can’t take this course for granted. That’s the one thing I don’t ever want to do. Just because I’ve had success here or I’ve had low rounds here, doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen,” Johnson mentioned.