By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
Troy Matteson had just made 10
birdies and played so well he putted only 24 times on Thursday. But
the highlight of the day might have been stepping into the
interview room at the John Deere Classic. "Yeah, you know it's
always good to be here in the interview room because it means you
did something good," Matteson said. "Haven't been in here in a long
time, so it's good that I'm back in here, I guess. Yeah, it was a
pretty special day." To say the least. Matteson carded a
bogey-free, 10-under 61 to take a three-shot lead after Round 1 at
TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Matteson didn't seriously challenge
for a 59, but he was certainly thinking about it from the fairway
on his final hole, needing to hole out for eagle for the magic
number. "I had 189 on the last hole and I had been hitting
7‑iron about 190, 191 every time I would hit it today,"
Matteson said. "I just said, 'Just try to hit the same shot,'
except it was a little into the wind. I tried to turn it over and I
just pull‑hooked it a little bit. Believe me, I was trying to
make my last one. I just ran out of holes." A 61 will have to
suffice. It tied Matteson's best round on TOUR, which he also shot
in the 2009 Frys.com Open -- his last of two career PGA TOUR wins.
It also marks a low Thursday round, one that Matteson has been
longing for this season. He's shot in the 60s only twice in 21
previous first rounds. Now, Matteson -- who has missed 11 cuts in
21 events this season -- doesn't have to fight just to make the
weekend. "I've always been one of those slow Thursday players,"
said Matteson, who tied for third here in 2007 and had a T10 in
2010. "It makes it tough. It makes for a lot long Fridays, and then
you have to work your way up during the weekend. I think everyone
has a different M.O. It's always nice to get a good start. "If I
could one thing different in my entire career, it would be to get a
better start on Thursday. Just makes everything easier."