Round 1 wrap-up: Matteson sizzles with 61 at John Deere Classic

July 12, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) -- Troy Matteson had 10 birdies on Thursday en route to a bogey-free round of 10-under 61 for a three-stroke stroke lead after the first round of the John Deere Classic.


Matteson, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, birdied five holes on each nine at TPC Deere Run to surpass the 7-under 64 that Ricky Barnes carded in the morning. Matteson started by making birdies on three of his first four holes and finished with birdies on four of his first five.

He nearly holed out from a bunker on the par-4 ninth for a 60, but settled for par.

Barnes, out in the second group of the day, birdied all three par-5s and two of the four par-3s to pace the morning half of the field.

Robert Garrigus, among a group tied for third at 6-under 65, eagled the par-5 17th by hooking a 270-yard second shot around a tree to set up a 30-foot eagle putt.

Steve Stricker, chasing a fourth straight victory at the Deere, shot a 65 punctuated by an 80-yard wedge for an eagle 2 on the par-4 14th.

Zach Johnson, ranked sixth in the FedExCup points standings, shot 3-under 68 thanks to a 4-under 31 on his last nine holes.

Low scores are common at the Deere. TPC Deere Run has yielded at least one 62 or better since 2008, including a first-round 59 by Paul Goydos two years ago. Friday, the field averaged about 69.6 strokes per player.

Only 46 players finished over par. Matteson's had an average year to this point, missing the cut in 11 of 21 tournaments, including his first five starts. His best finish is a tie for 26th at The Honda Classic. But he lowered his best score for the year, a 65 at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, by four strokes in taking the lead. It's his best start in any TOUR tournament.

It was only the third time this year he's broken 70 in the first round.

Projected points
The race for spots in the FedExCup Playoffs continues this week. Click to see who's making moves. Projections

"I've always been one of the slow-starting Thursday players," Matteson said. "If I could do one thing differently in my entire career, it would be to be a faster starter."

Matteson rolled in 31- and nine-footers for birdies on his first two holes, then ran a birdie attempt on his third hole over the edge of the hole, settling for a tap-in par. A 20-footer for a birdie 3 opened his back nine, which was spiced by a near-eagle on the par-4 fifth, his 14th hole. His birdie putt was 10 inches.

Matteson scored back-to-back 61s en route to winning the Open in 2009.

Barnes is 89th in the FedExCup standings, but birdied three of his first five holes.

His card was marred only by a bogey on the par-4 ninth when he failed to get up and down from the rough. He considered it only a start.

"You'll have to be in the 20s (under par) to have a chance to win," Barnes said. "At most tournaments, when you're 4 under through eight holes, you're in the lead or tied. Here, you have to keep up that kind of pace."

Shot of the day

Steve Stricker holes out for an eagle 2 on the par-4 14th hole.

Stricker's eagle from the 14th fairway accelerated his back nine of 6-under 30. He played the front nine in even-par 35 before a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 10th hole began his run toward the leaders.

He birdied the 15th and 17th holes to jump into a tie for third with six other players, including Garrigus and Luke Guthrie, the recent Illinois graduate playing in his second tournament as a professional.

TPC Deere Run: Round 1
The par-5 second hole was the easiest with a Thursday scoring average of 4.321.
The par-3 third hole was the toughest with a Thursday scoring average of 3.167.
About the leader
• Making his seventh consecutive start at the John Deere Classic, Troy Matteson tied his career-low round with a bogey-free, 10-under 61 to take a three-stroke lead after the first round. Matteson has previously finished T10 (2010) and T3 (2007) at TPC Deere Run.
• Mattesons 61 was the third such score posted at TPC Deere Run. J.P. Hayes turned in the number in round two in 2002, as did Steve Stricker in 2009s second round. Paul Goydos posted a 12-under 59 in round one of 2010, and Stricker posted an 11-under 60 the same day.
• Matteson, who missed his first five cuts to start this season, is making his 22nd start this week, where he remains in search of his first top-10 finish since a playoff loss to Michael Bradley at the 2011 Puerto Rico Open.
• Although Matteson missed five fairways, hitting nine of 14, he was 16 of 18 into the greens. Once on the flat surface, he needed just 24 putts to complete the 61.
• Matteson, who was roommates at Georgia Tech with Matt Weibring, son of TPC Deere Run designer D.A, has previously held a first-round lead four times, none of which panned out for a win.
• Matteson, winner of the 2006 and 2009 Open, is in search of his third PGA TOUR title this week in his 199th TOUR start.

Guthrie earned $67,872 by tying for 19th in his first TOUR start, at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.. His bogey-free 65, which featured a 64-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole, was his fourth round under par in five as a pro.