PGA: Vegas shoots 62, surges to John Deere lead
Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela delivered a scorching round of 9-under-par 62 on Friday to seize a one-stroke lead through two rounds of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Vegas' bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run put him at 13-under 129 through 36 holes, a stroke ahead of Andrew Landry, who shot 65 for the second consecutive day.
Lucas Glover shot 64 — with the help of an albatross — to hold third place alone at 11 under. Five players are tied for fourth another stroke back, with two others at 9 under. A whopping 14 players are tied for 11th at 8 under.
Vegas opened his day at No. 10 with a birdie, then ran off four in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 13 to 17. Three of the four came after his approach settled within six feet of the pin. He tacked on three straight birdies starting at No. 2 and added a 16-foot birdie putt at No. 8 to cap his day.
"Probably the best I've felt all year, to be honest," Vegas told reporters after his round. "I mean, I hit the ball extremely well, kind of what I've been struggling with a little bit the past few months. I was able to kind of figure out a little bit something yesterday on the range after I got done playing, and I was able to carry it through today.
"It felt really good, in control the whole time with the ball-striking, which is my type of game. So I'm glad that stuff is back."
Vegas tied for third at the PLAYERS Championship in March and for eighth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, but he had missed three cuts in four events entering this week. He's seeking his fourth career victory and his first since 2017.
Landry also started on the back nine, and he had his round at 8 under through 12 holes after birdieing three straight to start the front. But he managed just five pars and a bogey (at No. 6) the rest of the way.
"Saturday and Sunday will be fun," Landry said. "It's going to be a firm and fast golf course come Sunday."
Glover, the only player in the top 10 who already qualified for next week's Open Championship, had the highlight of the day, holing out from 255 yards on his second shot at the par-5 10th. The ball bounced 20 yards shy of the green, rolled up and curled perfectly into the cup. He also sprinkled four birdies -- three on a 6-under 30 back nine -- in a bogey-free round.
First-round leader Roberto Diaz of Mexico struggled, totaling three birdies and three bogeys before finishing with a double bogey to post 73 and slip into a tie for 23rd at 7 under.
Defending champion Michael Kim missed his 18th straight cut after shooting 72, finishing the tournament at 3 over.
The field is limited due to top players being in Europe preparing for The Open Championship next week.
The event holds the final available spot into the field for The Open, which would go to the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties. The JDC provides a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.