Patrick Rodgers seemed destined for PGA Tour stardom when he tied Tiger Woods’ Stanford record of 11 victories, but it hasn’t quite happened yet, although he’s working on it.
The 25-year-old Rodgers shot 7-under-par 64 to take a two-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis midway through the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
“It was nice to keep making birdies and keep the gas pedal down,” said Rodgers, whose only pro victory came in the 2015 Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship on the Web.com Tour. “It was tricky with some breeze, but I know 13-under is not going to win the golf tournament. So, I got to keep that same mindset for the next two rounds.
“I put together a really nice round. Was very much in control. Rolled in some nice putts and stayed very patient.”
Rodgers, who chipped from 49 feet for a birdie on the third hole and sank a 53-foot birdie putt on the seventh, posted a 36-hole score of 13-under 129.
DeChambeau, who played college golf and SMU and in 2015 joined Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore as the only players to win the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year, collected five birdies while finishing on the front nine to card a 65.
Zach Johnson, the 2012 John Deere champion, posted a 67 and is three shots back in a tie for third with first-round co-leader Charles Howell III, who had a 69.
Chesson Hadley, who last week won the Lecom Health Challenge on the Web.com Tour, recorded a bogey-free 64and is another shot behind in a tie for fifth with Kevin Tway, who made seven straight birdies at one stage in a 63, J.J. Henry, who finished at 64, and Chad Campbell, who came in at 68.
Kevin Kisner put up a bogey-free 65 and is five down in a tie for ninth with Nicholas Lindheim, who came in at 66.
Jonathan Byrd, the 2007 John Deere winner, shot 65 and is a tie for 11th that includes Charley Hoffman of Poway, who had a 68, and Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe and USC, who finished at 67.
Daniel Berger is tied for 21st after a 67, amateur Maverick McNealy of Stanford shot 68 and is tied for 29th, Bubba Watson is tied for 50th following a 70, while local favorite and three-time John Deere winner Steve Stricker posted a 67 and is in a tie for 70th that includes 2014 champion Brian Harman, who had a second 70.
Defending champion Ryan Moore totaled 74-71—145 and missed the cut by five strokes.