By Craig DeVrieze, Special for PGATOUR.COM
SILVIS, Ill. -- With a series of stealthy par saves, defending champion Zach Johnson set a John Deere Classic record with his ninth career bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run and will enter the weekend with a share of the lead.
A two-putt par from 72 feet at the 18th hole completed a 5-under second-round 66 for the 2007 Masters champion from nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“Today was a hard 66,” he said. “Yesterday was a much easier 64.”
Johnson joined PGA TOUR rookie Patrick Reed and 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover in the midway lead at 12-under 130 for the tournament.
Matt Jones, a co-runner-up a week ago at The Greenbrier Classic, is alone in fourth, one shot behind the lead trio.
Troy Matteson, a playoff loser to Johnson a year ago at TPC Deere Run, is part of a quintet two shots behind. He is joined at 10 under by Kevin Streelman, Jerry Kelly, Daniel Summerhays and David Hearn.
Three-time JDC winner Steve Sticker missed a 2 1/2-foot par putt at the finishing hole, or he too would have entered the weekend double-digits under par.
Johnson’s round included five birdies, but more critical were par saves at Nos. 5, 6, 7, 15 and 18.
“I didn’t drive it very well but the positive side is I know I can play here if I don’t drive it,” he said. “My short game was tremendous. I putted great and I chipped it even better.”
Fighting through a run of five missed cuts in his past six starts, Glover fired an afternoon round of 9-under 62 to join the lead group.
“I’ve been struggling,” he said. “I was ecstatic to shoot 3-under yesterday. You can imagine how I feel today.”