Stricker in command at Deer Run
A six-under back nine has moved Steve Stricker into a dominant position at the John Deere Classic in Illinois.
A six-under-par back nine from Steve Stricker has moved the defending champion into a dominant position with just 18 holes left at the John Deere Classic in Illinois.
World number four Stricker will go into Sunday’s final round at 25 under par, six strokes clear of fellow Americans Jeff Maggert and Paul Goydos, thanks to a nine-under third round of 62.
Stricker and opening-day hero Goydos had been matching each other shot for shot as the leaders made the turn at TPC Deere Run.
Goydos had shot only the fourth 59 in PGA Tour history on Thursday with Stricker carding an 11-under 60 before the tables were turned in the second round.
Stricker shot a 66 to Goydos’ 68 to carve out a one-shot lead at 16 under at the halfway stage.
On Saturday, the leaders continued their duel in Silvis, both making birdies at the first, second and eighth holes to leave Stricker a stroke ahead after nine holes having moved to 19 under par.
Then came the inward stretch as Stricker left Goydos in his wake with three birdies in a row from the 10th, two more at the 14th and 15th and another at 17 before rounding out his 62 with a tap-in par at the par-four 18th after pitching in from 94 yards to inches from the hole.
“It’s been a good three days, we’ve got one more round tomorrow and that’s my focus, finishing it off and thinking about having another good one tomorrow,” Stricker said.
“I seem to putt really well here but besides that I’m not really sure why (he does so well at TPC Deere Run).
“The fairways are fairly generous and there’s a lot of short irons and I’m a fairly decent short iron player and I’ve been making some putts.”
Goydos also went bogey free but could not keep up with his rival, his only birdie on the back nine coming at the 16th as he posted a 67 to reach 19 under.
After nine holes, Goydos’s fellow 46-year-old Maggert was four strokes behind Stricker in third place, four under for his round, and he added four more birdies for a 63 to also get to 19 under.
Australia’s Matt Jones is in fourth place at 16 under, following a five-under 66, while there were some big moves made behind the leading quartet with former US PGA champion Shaun Micheel shooting a 63 to reach 15 under, two ahead of Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge (68).
Vaughn Taylor is on 12 under thanks to a third-round 64, where he was joined by Australia’s John Senden (65) and South Korea’s Charlie Wi (66).
Rocco Mediate celebrated a hole in one at the 226-yard, par-three seventh en route to a 64 that left him at 11 under in a six-way tie for 10th place.
Another veteran American, Kenny Perry, found some form with a 65 to move to 10 under, the same mark as Players champion Tim Clark of South Africa, who shot a 66.
Of the small European contingent at TPC Deere Run, Norway’s Henrik Bjornstad was best placed at eight under following a 68, while Brian Davis of England finished his third round at seven under after a 69.
Andres Romero of Argentina shot 70 to reach five under, while Sweden’s Daniel Chopra posted a one-over 72 to also end the day at five under and fellow Swede Richard S Johnson will start the final round at two under after a 74.
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