Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Golf

Defending champ Johnson retains share of lead at PGA's John Deere

SILVIS, Ill. — Zach Johnson has evolved into one of the most consistent players the John Deere Classic has ever seen.

Johnson put together another steady round Friday, maintaining a share of the lead despite standout efforts from rookie Patrick Reed and Lucas Glover.

Johnson, the defending champion, shot 5-under 66 to join Reed and Glover atop the leaderboard at 12-under 130 after second-round play.

It "was a day of just hanging in there and letting things come. But I like the fact that I don't have to be perfect and I can still play here," Johnson said.

Reed shot 63 in the morning, one year after missing the cut at TPC Deere Run — and Glover finished a shot better at 9 under.

Australia's Matt Jones was a shot back at 11 under. Troy Matteson led a pack at 10-under, while three-time winner Steve Stricker was among those contending at 9 under.

Former Gator Camilo Villegas, the first-round co-leader, was seven back at 5 under after 73.

Johnson has shot 18 consecutive rounds in the 60s at Deere Run and his ninth bogey-free round Friday was a tournament record.

Champions: Michael Allen raised his arms and looked skyward. The long, hard-breaking eagle putt that defined his 7-under 63 had just finished its uphill journey to the back of the cup on the 14th hole. "The miracle shot," he called it. Allen said he wanted to lag the ball to within 10 feet. That it went in was a bonus. Just about everything else went right for Allen, too. His best round of the year put him at 10 under after the second round of the U.S. Senior Open and allowed him to break away from the pack for a five-stroke lead in Omaha, Neb. The cushion was the largest after 36 holes in the tournament's 34-year history. "Man, oh, man. The biggest lead?" Allen said with a smile. "So I can blow the biggest lead. Is that what you're telling me?" Rocco Mediate was Allen's closest pursuer after he shot bogey-free, 3-under 67. Jeff Sluman also had 67 and was another shot back.

LPGA: Catriona Matthew shot 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Manulife Financial Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. Matthew's 15-under 127 blew away her previous career-best 36-hole mark on tour by five strokes. "It feels really good, I've holed a lot of putts but I've given myself a lot of chances," Matthew said. Angela Stanford shot 67 and was second, while Inbee Park had 67 and was tied with three others at 10 under. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (69–141) and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (70–142) missed the cut.

European: Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson endured frustrating second rounds at the Scottish Open as the tournament's headline acts were upstaged by lesser-known players in Inverness. Chris Doak, ranked No. 341, was the surprise leader after a second straight 66 left him at 12-under 132. Els foundered on the greens and could shoot only 2-under 70 to miss the cut a week before he defends his British Open title. Mickelson was tied for third after his first-round 66 but dropped back into a tie for 13th after 70.

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