SILVIS: Troy Matteson shot a five-under 66 on Saturday to take a three-shot lead after the third round of the John Deere Classic.
Steve Stricker, who also shot a 66, sits in second place at 15 under in his quest for a fourth straight tournament title. Stricker birdied four straight holes beginning at the 14th, but bogeyed the par-4 18th, stubbing a chip shot and missing a 15-footer for par.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson also carded a 66 to climb into contention at 14 under, along with left-hander Brian Harman. Billy Hurley, JJ Henry and 2006 champion John Senden were level in fifth, five strokes behind. Hurley’s 64 matched the best round of the day, while Senden eagled the par-5 second hole en route to a bogey-free 67.
Stricker is trying to join Tom Morris Jr, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods as a winner four straight times in the same tournament. Woods has accomplished the feat twice. Stricker was five strokes behind Matteson at one point.
Deere Run, one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour, is a haven for birdies and eagles, and Matteson took advantage. Hurley’s bogey-free 64 catapulted him from 31th into a deadlock for fifth, but the PGA Tour rookie is five shots behind Matteson, with pedigreed players ahead of him.
The day’s other 64 was posted by Jamie Lovemark, who made the cut with a stroke to spare. He’s in a share of eighth place, his best position entering a final round since undergoing back surgery last year.