Matteson shoots 61 to lead at John Deere Classic

Associated Press Modified: July 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm •  Published: July 12, 2012
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SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Troy Matteson scored 10 birdies Thursday en route to a bogey-free round of 10-under 61 for a three-stroke stroke lead after one round of the John Deere Classic.

Matteson, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, birdied five holes on each nine of the TPC Deere Run to surpass the 7-under 64 of second place Ricky Barnes. Matteson started by making birdies on three of his first four holes and finished with birdies on four of his first five.

He nearly holed out from a bunker on the par-4 ninth for a 60, but settled for par.

Barnes, out in the second group of the day, birdied all three par-5s and two of the four par-3s to pace the morning half of the field.

Robert Garrigus, among a group tied for third at 6-under 65, eagled the par-5 17th by hooking a 270-yard second shot around a tree to set up a 30-foot eagle putt.

Steve Stricker, chasing a fourth straight victory in the Deere, shot a 65 punctuated by an 80-yard wedge for an eagle 2 on the par-4 14th.

Zach Johnson, the highest ranked player in the tournament at sixth in the PGA Tour point standings, shot 3-under 68 thanks to a 4-under 31 on his last nine holes.

Low scores are common in the Deere. TPC Deere Run has yielded at least one 62 or better since 2008, including a first-round 59 by Paul Goydos two years ago. Friday, the field averaged about 69.6 strokes per player.

Only 46 players finished over par. Matteson's had an average year to this point, missing the cut in 11 of 21 tournaments, including his first five starts. His best finish is a tie for 26th at the Honda Classic. But he lowered his best score for the year, a 65 at the Humana Classic, by four strokes in taking the lead. It's his best start in any Tour tournament.

It was only the third time this year he's broken 70 in the first round.