Three players have finished their first rounds of the John Deere Classic with 65s, leaving them one shot off Ricky Barnes' lead.
Garrigus, who ranks 30th in the FedExCup standings, made three birdies on the front nine and finished strong with a birdie and an eagle at Nos. 16 and 17, respectively. He is coming off a tie for fourth at the AT&T National and has two runner-up finishes this year, as well.
Piercy, who won his first PGA TOUR event last year in Reno, has been solid this season with four top-20 finishes in his last eight starts. He posted four rounds in the 60s last week at The Greenbrier Classic.
Choi has won eight times on TOUR, most recently at THE PLAYERS last year. He tied for fifth at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions but hasn't finished in the top 10 since that event.
SILVIS, Ill. -- Tee times have been released for the first two rounds of this week’s the John Deere Classic. Here’s a look at some of the notable and more intriguing groups.
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Scott Piercy, Rory Sabbatini, Charley Hoffman: Piercy is coming off a top 15 finish at Greenbrier. Sabbatini and Hoffman both have top-five finishes recently -- but no wins.
Ted Potter Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney: One week after his unlikely win at The Greenbrier, Potter finds himself paired with a couple of A-listers at TPC Deere Run. Johnson already has a win this season, and the Iowa native badly wants to win this event.
K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink: These three veterans all have multiple PGA TOUR wins -- but Choi's 2011 PLAYERS win remains the most recent. Byrd won this tournament in 2007.
Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas: Already with a win this season and three previous John Deere titles, Stricker is the favorite this week. He is paired with Kyle Stanley, whom he beat with a birdie on the 72nd hole last year.
Scott Piercy holes an 18-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 16th hole.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- No matter where Scott Piercy was on the green Sunday, the ball was going in the hole.
“When you start making putts … it almost was like I didn’t really care today,” Piercy said after a 9-under 62 to briefly to the top of the leaderboard after the leaders had barely teed off early Sunday at the Transitions Championship.
Piercy, who began the da in a tie for 45th eight shots back, charged in contention with a 29 on the front nine before adding two more birdies on the back.
“He had one of those rounds we all try to have,” said Kris Blanks, who played alongside Piercy on Sunday.
if there was one hole that spurred Piercy, it was the par-3 fourth.
After an indifferent tee shot on the 195-yard hole, Piercy jarred a 42-footer for birdie.
“Any time you start hooping it … You see that going in and it’s like, oh, there’s a little momentum,” said Piercy, who birdied five of his first six holes and closed out the front nine with two more birdies. “It kind of snowballs and it just keeps going.”
At one point, he couldn’t help but start thinking about golf’s magic number: 59.
”You'd be lying if you said no,” Piercy said. “When we made the turn, my caddie looked at me and said, ‘Five more.’ Which in a way is thinking 59, but in a way, if I get five more, I get to 15 [under] and I think that probably wins.”
This was the second time in less than a year that Piercy has gone low. In the third round of last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open, Piercy made eight straight birdies on his way to a 28 on the front nine.
He finished with a 61 and the next day won the tournament.
Though Piercy had just two birdies on the back nine, he played Nos. 16 through 18 -- collectively known as the Snake Pit -- in a combined 4 under for the week.
“Last week, I gave myself a lot of thought as to how to play this golf course,” said Piercy, who had an 11-shot swing from his third round. “I figured out how to play the golf course more rather than just look at it and hit shots.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk still lead -- for now -- but Scott Piercy is closing the gap pretty quickly.
Piercy just made the turn in 29, making seven birdies, including five over his last six holes, to get to 10 under overall and within one of the lead.
Through his first nine holes, Piercy missed only two greens and has already made more than 100 feet worth of putts, which is more than in any of his first three full rounds.
Piercy’s lowest round of the year, by the way, was a 65 in the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii. His best finish this season was a tie for 12th in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Three players who won PGA TOUR events in 2011 are among the names ranked No. 81-90 that were unveiled Friday on PGATOUR.COM’s Top 100 Players to Watch in 2012.
Below is a link to each of the 10 players who were revealed on Friday. PGATOUR.COM will countdown the players for the rest of December, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
Be sure to check out this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list .
Let’s us know how you think these players will perform in 2012 and whether we ranked ‘em too high, too low or just right.