SILVIS, Ill. – It took years for Zach Johnson to feel comfortable at his hometown tournament.
These days, Johnson is more relaxed than anyone in the field – and that’s a major reason why he’s in early position to repeat as the champion of the John Deere Classic.
Johnson shot a 7-under 64 and is tied with Camilo Villegas for the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the John Deere Classic.
It was the 17th straight round in the 60s at TPC Deere Run for Johnson, who grew up roughly 100 miles away in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Matt Bettencourt made the field as a late alternate and shot a 6-under 65. He’s tied for second with Daniel Summerhays and Brendon de Jonge.
Boo Weekley is among a host of players at 5-under 66, while three-time tournament champion Steve Stricker is at 4-under 67 heading into today’s second round.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. Yeah, I just kind of felt like you’re just leading into the next round here, Johnson said. I’ve just gotten so used to just everything about this tournament.
It wasn’t always that way for Johnson.
Johnson finished 69th here five years ago after shooting 75 and 71 in the final two rounds – but he hasn’t touched 70 since.
CHAMPIONS: In Omaha, Neb., Kenny Perry shot a 3-under 67 and is tied for the lead at the U.S. Senior Open, putting together a solid start in his bid for a second straight win in a senior major.
Perry, who won the Senior Players Championship two weeks ago at Fox Chapel, Pa., made five birdies against two bogeys at Omaha Country Club. And he’s got plenty of company atop a crowded leader board.
Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake also shot a 67 in morning, and Gary Hallberg, Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman and Fred Funk posted the same score in the afternoon. There had never been as many as seven co-leaders after the first round at a U.S. Senior Open. The previous record was five in 1997.
LPGA: In Waterloo, Ontario, Angela Stanford and Catriona Matthew shot eight-under 63s to share the first-round lead at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, two strokes ahead of top-ranked Inbee Park.
Park is trying to become the first golfer to win four straight LPGA Tour events since Lorena Ochoa in 2008.
Park was joined by American Irene Cho, Spain’s Belen Mozo and South Korea’s Hee Young Park and Meena Lee at 65.
American Ryann O’Toole and South Koreans Jenny Shin, Amy Yang and Ji Young Oh were three shots off the lead at 66.
Former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst shot a 3-under 68.
EUROPEAN: In Inverness, Scotland, Phil Mickelson shot a 6-under 66 at the Scottish Open, leaving him behind two Englishman.
John Parry, ranked No. 471, held the lead after a bogey-free 64 and Simon Khan (65) also tamed the Castle Stuart course in perfect morning conditions in the Scottish Highlands to finish alone in second.
Mickelson is tied for third with six others.