Fireworks always happening at John Deere Classic

Hayden Springer from Trophy Club, Texas lines up his putt on the 6th green, Friday July 5, 2024, during second round action of the John Deere Classic held at Deere Run in Silvis. He finished the day tied for fourth at 12 under. PHOTO CREDIT JOHN SCHULTZ

Fireworks are always legal during a John Deere Classic. Even on the 5 th of July and certainly over the weekend.

PGA Tour rookie Hayden Springer launched an impressive display in the first round of the John Deere Classic on Thursday with a 12-under-par 59, only the 14th round lower than 60 strokes in PGA Tour history.

Mr. Springer had 12 birdies and two eagles in his first 29 holes before trouble arose. He missed a 3-foot par putt and carded  a double bogey late in his round, having to settle with a 71 and was among six players within two shots of the lead.

Emerging from the pack, C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei, (8-under 63) and Aaron Rai of England (63) moved to the top of the leaderboard at -14 for 36 holes. They will start the third round on top, chased by many.

Mr. Rai and others talked about tougher scoring conditions in the second round.

‘’Definitely tougher today. I think conditions yesterday were as good as we can get,’’ Mr. Rai said. “We knew conditions would be quite different.’’

Mr. Rai may be one of the hottest golfers remaining following Friday’s 36-hole cut. He tied for second last week in Detroit.

Mr. Pan, who will be playing in the Olympics golf competition later this month in Paris, credited his iron play for the strong round.

“I was able to hit good iron shots to give myself birdie chances out there,’’ he said. “It has been a while since the last time I shot 63 so this is good.”

One shot behind Mr.  Pan and Mr. Rai is Harry Hall (66). One more back is a group of six at -12.


Former JDC champ Zach Johnson, always a favorite of galleries, is in the hunt at -10.

Amateur Luke Clanton, who also is coming off a strong finish last week – tied for 10 th — is playing confident golf and is at -12. He carded a 67 on Friday.

“I don’t want to sound too cocky but we have trained to do what we’re doing,” said Mr. Clanton, who plans to rejoin Florida State University teammates in the fall. “College golf is tough. It prepares us for these kinds of moments and golf courses.

“Now that I’m in contention a second week in a row, it’s pretty sweet.’’

Should he win as an amateur, Mr. Clanton would be declining the champion’s check of $1.44 million and a two-year Tour exemption.

The 36-hole cut fell at 5-under-par 137.

Two-time JDC champion Jordan Spieth hovered around the projected cut number during most of his  round but did enough down stretch.

“The course was two or three shots tougher today. I can make a move but everyone will be,” he said. “I’ll be trying to shoot 14 under over the weekend.’‘

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