Matteson leads the way

  • Last Updated: July 13 2012, 7:14 BST

Troy Matteson carded a career best-equalling 61 to move clear at the top of the leaderboard at the John Deere Classic.

Troy Matteson: Leads the way at the John Deere Classic

Matteson picked up 10 birdies to open a three-shot lead from Ricky Barnes, while Steve Stricker put himself firmly in contention to fourth straight title in Illinois.

Stricker, champion in each of the last three years, carded a six-under 65 to be part of a group of seven players tied for third, which also included South Korea's KJ Choi and England's Gary Christian.

Winning again would enable Stricker to fly to The Open having equalled the feat achieved by Young Tom Morris at Prestwick in 1968-72 and also by Walter Hagen at the USPGA Championship, Gene Sarazen in the Miami Open and Woods at both Bay Hill and the Buick Invitational.

He said: "I'm looking at it as an opportunity. It's fun. But there is pressure involved. You're trying to do it and there's a lot of expectations not only from me, but from a lot of other people to do it too.

"I try to tell myself, I've won it three times. How in the heck can I win to the fourth time?

"I'm trying to downplay it to myself. Maybe it's working. I've done that every year here. Every time I come back I'm like, oh, there is no chance I can win again."

Stricker started slowly but made a charge on the back nine.

Level for the front nine and two under through 13, he eagled the par-four 14th before picking up further shots at 15 and 17.

Matteson, meanwhile, had a shot at breaking 60 if he eagled his last hole, the ninth.

Instead he got in trouble for the first and only time in his round, finding a greenside bunker, but still rescued par.

"I made a couple of putts that were really, really difficult, and I had a bunch of other really, really good looks," he said.

"Any time you do that and your putting starts to come around you're going to make putts.

"I didn't think it was going to be 10-under, but definitely thought it was going to be good."

Barnes carded eight birdies and a bogey to sit second, while Choi had six birdies in his round and Christian posted seven birdies against one bogey.

Collated first round scores in the USPGA Tour John Deere Classic, The TPC at Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, United States of America

(USA unless stated, par 71):

61 Troy Matteson

64 Ricky Barnes

65 Steve Stricker, Luke Guthrie, Robert Garrigus, K J Choi (Kor), Gary Christian (Eng), Brian Harman, Scott Piercy

66 Spencer Levin, Bill Lunde, Chris Di Marco, Bobby Gates, Ben Crane, Duffy Waldorf, Jimmy Walker, Tom Gillis, Tommy Biershenk, Stuart Appleby (Aus)

67 Patrick Sheehan, Martin Flores, Chris Couch, Steve Wheatcroft, Chez Reavie, Nathan Green (Aus), Dicky Pride, Hunter Haas, Patrick Rodgers, Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), John Merrick, Lee Janzen, William McGirt, Alex Cejka (Ger), J J Henry, Ted Potter, Jr., Jhonattan Vegas (Ven), Tim Clark (Rsa), Ryan Moore

68 Nick Watney, Chris Kirk, Seung-yul Noh (Kor), Charley Hoffman, Chris Riley, Ryan Palmer, Nick O'Hern (Aus), James Driscoll, Matt Bettencourt, Matthew Jones (Aus), Chad Campbell, Randall Hutchison, Troy Kelly, Y.E. Yang (Kor), Brendon De Jonge, Chris Stroud, Kyle Stanley, Erik Compton, Zach Johnson, J.J Killeen, Kevin Streelman, Billy Hurley III, D.A. Points, Jeff Maggert, Carl Pettersson (Swe), Rocco Mediate

69 Bud Cauley, Jeff Overton, Brian Gay, John Peterson, David Duval, Mathias Gronberg (Swe), Shaun Micheel, Tim Petrovic, Roland Thatcher, Boo Weekley, Shane Bertsch, Patrick Reed, Jerry Kelly, John Senden (Aus), Mark Anderson, Mark Wilson, Kevin Stadler, Tommy Gainey, Josh Teater

70 Scott Brown, Scott Dunlap, Marco Dawson, Michael Bradley, Colt Knost, Danny Lee (Nzl), Heath Slocum, Kevin Chappell, Derek Lamely, Alexandre Rocha (Bra), Richard S Johnson (Swe), Brendon Todd, Marc Turnesa, Billy Horschel, Jason Bohn, Jordan Spieth

71 Kris Blanks, Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Bart Bryant, Sung Kang (Kor), Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, Blake Adams, Jamie Lovemark, John Daly, Joe Durant, Arjun Atwal (Ind), Matthew Every, Camilo Villegas (Col), Jason Gore

72 Kent Jones, Pat Perez, Rodney Pampling (Aus), John Hurley, Vaughn Taylor, Billy Mayfair, Woody Austin, Todd Hamilton, Sang-moon Bae (Kor), Cameron Beckman, Miguel Angel Carballo (Arg), Ken Duke, Ryuji Imada (Jpn), Jonathan Byrd, Kevin Kisner

73 Chris W. Black, Matt Mcquillan (Can), Kyle Thompson, Harrison Frazar, Charlie Beljan, Edward Loar, Mathew Goggin (Aus), Sean O'Hair, Stephen Gangluff, Richard H. Lee, Daniel Summerhays, D.J. Trahan

74 Brian Davis (Eng), Bryce Molder, Chad Proehl, David Hearn (Can), Steven Bowditch (Aus), Garrett Willis, Gavin Coles (Aus), Kyle Reifers, Joey Snyder III, Russell Knox (Sco)

75 Daniel Chopra (Swe), Will Claxton

76 Jason Kokrak, Scott Stallings

77 Zack Miller

78 Frank Lickliter II