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Steve Stricker moves up with a 61

He ties the course record but still is three shots behind Darron Stiles at the John Deere Classic.

July 12, 2009|Associated Press

Steve Stricker 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-par 61 Saturday that left him three strokes behind Darron Stiles through two rounds at Silvis, Ill.

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 alumnus had plenty of support from the crowd as he took on a course that was battered the previous day by the second big rainstorm 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 today.

"I didn't 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 wasn't 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 nine under, and two-time U.S. Open champion Janzen (70) was in a crowd at eight under. David Duval shot a 66 but missed the cut by two shots.

With 36 holes scheduled for today, the players are staring at a long day and a short break between rounds -- if they get one at all -- because they won't 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 don't know where they can come from."


Champions Tour

Nick Price birdied the final hole to cap a four-under 68 and take a one-shot lead after the second round of the 3M Championship at Blaine, Minn.

Price, who won the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in April, barely missed his 45-foot eagle try before tapping in and moving to 11-under 133. Gene Jones (68) and Andy Bean (69), a co-leader with Price after the first round, are tied for second.


British tuneups

Padraig Harrington won the Irish PGA Championship for the third consecutive time, ending a month of poor results in time for his title defense in the British Open. Harrington closed with a one-over 72 at the European Club in Brittas Bay for a seven-shot victory over former British Amateur champion Brian McElhinney. . . . Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano shot a seven-under 64 at Loch Lomond to take the third-round lead in the Scottish Open, one shot ahead of Retief Goosen and Martin Kaymer.

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