Roberto Diaz shoots 62 to take John Deere Classic lead
Roberto Diaz shot a 9-under-par 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Playing in the final group of the day off the first tee, Diaz of Mexico birdied four of the first five holes, eagled the par-5 10th and birdied three of the last five in the bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. He took the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th.
‘‘I just feel that everything clicked,’’ Diaz said. ‘‘I've been playing pretty solid throughout the year. The driver has been awesome. I've been hitting a lot of fairways, and today I hit good numbers all day, and that helps.’’
Winless on the PGA Tour, Diaz tied for eighth at the Travelers Championship last month.
Americans Adam Long and Russell Henley were two strokes back. Martin Laird was another stroke back at 65 with Ryan Palmer, Andrew Landry, Vaughn Taylor, Zack Sucher and Ryan Blaum.
Long, who got his first career win earlier this season at the Desert Classic, had eight birdies — four on the front nine and four on the back nine.
Henley missed the weekend cuts in his last four straight starts. But he highlighted an impressive birdie run by drilling a 55-foot putt on the par-3 7th hole.
Laird, who skipped his national tournament in Scotland this week in an effort to boost his playoff positioning, followed up a 65 to close out last week’s event in Minnesota with birdies on five par 4s on Thursday.
LPGA — Alena Sharp of Canada and Youngin Chun of South Korea shared the Marathon Classic lead at 7-under 64 , a stroke ahead of Stacy Lewis and three others at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
The 38-year-old Sharp, winless on the LPGA Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey.
The 19-year-old Chun, also seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, had a bogey-free round.
Lewis won the last of her 12 LPGA Tour titles in 2017. She was born in nearby Toledo and has an endorsement deal with Marathon Oil.
Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson and Jenny Haglund matched Lewis at 65.
Lexi Thompson was at 66 with US Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6, Carlota Ciganda and Clariss Guce.
European — Matt Kuchar shot an 8-under 63 to share the lead with three players in a low-scoring opening round at the Scottish Open in North Berwick.
Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, the highest-ranked players in the field, opened with 67s. That was only slightly better than the field average on a day when 118 players broke par at The Renaissance Club, which was softened by heavy early-morning rain. Kuchar made two eagles on his first nine.
Champions — Steve Stricker topped the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship leaderboard at 5 under with a hole to play when the first round was suspended for the day because of lightning and rain in Akron, Ohio.
Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the US Senior Open at Norte Dame, Stricker had a hole-in-one on the 184-yard, par-3 seventh at Firestone Country Club.
Play was suspended at 12:55 p.m., and called for the day at 5:05 p.m. after just over an inch of rain soaked the course. Stricker was in the middle of the 18th fairway, facing a 140-yard shot on the par-4 hole, when play was stopped. He was set to resume play at 7 a.m. Friday.