Thompson Leads Pack At JDC

Amateur Luke Clanton from Hialeah, Florida, watches his second shot on the 18th hole, Friday July 5, 2024, during second round action of the John Deere Classic held at Deere Run in Silvis. He finished at 12 under, tied for fourth. PHOTO CREDIT JOHN SCHULTZ

Davis Thompson, coming off a tie for second in last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, will try to capture his first PGA TOUR victory on Sunday in the final round of the John Deere Classic.

Mr. Thompson, from St. Simons Island, Ga., carded a 9-under -par 62 and has a 54-hole total of -21. He takes a two-shot lead into the final round at TPC Deere Run. 

The golfers two shots back are Eric Cole (64) and Aaron Rai (66). Two more back within range of Thompson are Hayden Springer, who opened with that 59 on Thursday and has stayed near the top since, and C.T. Pan of Taiwan. Mr. Rai also shared the second place tie at the Rocket Mortgage Classic with Mr. Thompson last week. 

Four more are at five back, including amateur Luke Clanton.  

Mr. Thompson has two runner-up finishes in his Tour career, the last coming last week in Detroit.

“I feel like I am playing well. I just need to keep it going,’’ he said. ‘’My goal is to hit the first tee shot, then the second, and just keep stacking good shots.

“Everybody is hungry. That is what makes it difficult out here.  There are a lot of losers every week. You can have good weeks and finish top 10.

Mr. Clanton made birdie on the 18th with a six-footer to finish 54 holes at -17.  Mr. Clanton has consistently said he will remain an amateur and return to college at Florida State University, a national golf power.

“I’m having fun just playing golf,’’ Mr. Clanton said. “I’m still a 20-year-old kid in college just having fun. All of this, the crowds…is unreal.’’

Mr. Clanton said the week has been another learning experience. He said his play had showed he can compete at Tour level.

“‘Realizing that it is possible to win out here. That is my goal. I’m going to stay with my process,’’ he said. 

Two-time JDC champion Jordan Spieth, who hovered around the cut line in the second round, played his way into contention with an 8-under 63. He had a stretch of five straight birdies on the front to turn at 29.

Mr. Spieth, winner here in 2013 and again in 2015, when he won two majors, said after Friday’s round he would need at least 14 under in the final 36 holes to move into contention. He is more than halfway to that goal but he may have to post an even lower number to win.

He posted nine birdies and a lone bogey.

“I was a good day. I did a lot of things well,” Mr. Spieth said. “I improved on yesterday and that was my goal.’

“Tomorrow if I can be as solid as I was today and maybe catch a couple breaks …It would take something flawless to have a chance…but I’ll try and do what I did today.’’

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