Zach Johnson carded a 31 on his
inward nine en route to a 3-under 68 on Thursday.
Zach Johnson has always had incredible fan support at the
John Deere Classic. On Thursday, the Iowa native enjoyed it even
more. That's because one of the fans following Johnson was Iowa
football coach Kirk Ferentz. "Well, it's awesome," Johnson said
after carded a first-round, 3-under 68 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis,
Ill. "He's been obviously a big fan. He writes me letters every now
and then. I've said it many times: I was born in Iowa City, so it's
in my blood." Johnson, who has never won his home event, only
wished he could have got a few more birdies to drop. He started
slow, making two bogeys on his first nine (back nine) before
picking things up on his inward half. With his swing coach Mike
Bender serving as his caddie this week, Johnson birdied Nos. 2, 5,
7 and 8 to cap a 31 -- which including a chip-in birdie on the
fifth. Overall, Johnson just couldn't get on a roll on the greens.
"Yeah, I hit a couple good shots in there and hit a couple bad
putts, one in particular that wasn't great," said Johnson, who tied
for second here in 2009 and was T3 last year. "Then I hit some
really, really good putts and maybe misread 'em and just didn't put
'em in the right place. I mean, I made some, too." His faithful
supporters -- including Ferentz -- hope he makes more, too. "For
him to come out here and watch my business is pretty special,"
Johnson said. "Wish I could have had a few more birdies, but
whatever. It's golf. It's not football, so he was probably ready to
hit me with shoulder pads at some point our there."