Three share lead at John Deere

Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini and Brian Harman fired eight-under-par 63s to take a one-shot lead on the the first round of the John Deere Classic in Illinois on Thursday.

Johnson birdied eight of his first 11 holes after starting on the 10th at TPC Deere Run while Sabbatini also enjoyed a bogey-free opening round.

Harman’s only blemish was a dropped shot at the par-five 15th which marred a run of six birdies in seven holes from the 11th.

Todd Hamilton, William McGirt and Steven Bowditch were one stroke back on seven-under after rounds of 64, while Brendon de Jonge is tied for seventh a further shot back along with David Toms, Kevin Tway and Robert Streb.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth did not get off to the desired start as he had to settle for a level-par 71.

Johnson confessed afterwards that he had thoughts of a sub-60 round after he set the course alight at the start.

“I don’t want to say I should have shot 61 or 58 or 60 or 59 or whatever,” said Johnson.

“But I had a chance.”

Johnson said that he was pleased with the improvement in his game after a short break and that he hopes to carry that form to Sunday.

“I have found myself a little impatient in the weeks prior to this week,” he said.
“In Hartford, I missed the cut by 35 shots, it felt like.”

“In the US Open, I made the cut, but it was pretty boring, bad golf after that. I was a little spent.”