The John Deere Classic is just the direct opposite of what we are seeing at Royal Aberdeen this week, and 27 year-old Brian Harman knew that just making birdies at TPC Deere Run was not going to be good enough to win his first PGA Tour event. The young lefty from Savannah, and University of Georgia Bulldog decided that making eagles would be a better deal.
Harman started his day with a three at the par five second hole in Silvas, Illinois, and ended it with another eagle at the 17th. It was a good thing because three-time John Deere Classic champion, Steve Stricker was making a legitimate charge of his own.
Stricker made a great birdie at 18 to tie the score as Harman watched from the fairway, and Harman would roll one in as well to take a one-shot lead to the Sunday final. They will tee it up together when action gets underway on Sunday afternoon.
At 27 years old, Brian Harman is seeking his first win on the tour, and like Jordan Spieth in 2013, a seat on the jet waiting to head for Hoylake. His playing partner on Sunday, Steve Stricker has already withdrawn from the Open Championship next week, and is looking to start his vacation with his fourth win at TPC Deere Run.
“I have good feelings when I step up to putts here,” Stricker sheepishly conceded after pushing his under-par total over his last 23 JDC rounds to 116 largely thanks to one of the silkiest strokes in the game. “I don’t know what it is. I see the line very well here. I think the greens are good greens to putt. They’re smooth.”
Second round leader, William McGirt said it best after shooting 66 on Friday, he would have to keep his foot on the gas because someone always get to -20 under par at this tournament. And he was right! With Harman in the clubhouse at a -17 under total, -20 under par is going to be a must to stay in contention on Sunday.
The great round on “moving day” actually came from a group that included 31 year-old Scott Brown. Brown flirted with a 59 on Saturday, and carded a -10 under par 61 to climb the leaderboard, and into contention for Sunday. Brown will start Sunday three shots back, and in sole possession of third place.
In fact, Scott Brown was in a group that included Jhonattan Vegas, and Daniel Summerhays who were a combined 24 under par for Saturday. Vegas shot a 63, and Summerhayes a 65.
With 2012 champ, Zach Johnson in the mix, this tournament is far from being decided at this point. There are young players needing a win, and Steve Stricker rolling in putts on his favorite layout, Sunday should be a wild shootout alongside of the Rock River on the border between Illinois, and Iowa.