J.T. Poston picked up right where he left off last week.
The 29-year-old Poston, coming off a tie for second in the Travelers Championship, fired a bogey-free, 9-under-par 62 and took a two-stroke lead over Michael Gligic of Canada after the first round of the 51st John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
“I’ve worked really hard on the golf swing,” said Poston, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Wyndham Championship. “ I would say for the last few months, it’s been in a good spot, I just hadn’t quite seen the results. Then Hilton Head I had a good week, Wells Fargo, good week, last week playing well.
“So I think it’s starting to kind of come together and see the results and see the shots, and I’m kind of building that confidence back into my ball-striking. As soon as you do it a few times and can have a few good rounds, good tournaments, then your confidence starts building and you can get on a nice run.
“The bunker shot (he holed) on No. 4, it just kind of when you look around and I saw (caddie Aaron) Flener, it was like, ‘Did that really happen?’ I think it was the first green that I missed, and to hole it out and make birdie, you’re not really thinking you’re going to make it, but when you do, you just realize it could be one of those days.
“I just want to keep it going and stay patient the rest of the week.”
Poston, who also tied for third in the RBC Heritage and tied for ninth in the Wells Fargo Championship this season, made a tap-in birdie on the first hole before sinking a 26-foot eagle putt on the second and added six more birdies, including four on the back nine.
Gligic posted the best round of the afternoon wave, making birdies on the last three holes of the front nine en route to a 64, while Vaughn Taylor, whose only top-10 finish this season was a tie for seventh in the Puerto Rico Open, collected four birdies on each nine in a 65 and is tied for third with rookie Christopher Gotterup, who birdied three of his last five holes while finishing on the front nine.
“I missed a few putts early, and got out of position on a couple holes and made bogey,” said Taylor, 46, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “It was nice to get out here and play well with firm conditions and the wind blowing a little bit. It was just fun; it was a good test.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit physically and haven’t been putting very well, but coming into here I told myself, ‘You know, I know this course, how to play it, just go do it.’ The more you play here, the more you learn where not to hit it and where you want to be. I’ve probably hit it everywhere, good and bad. It makes you smarter out there. You make better decisions when you know what’s going on.”
Ricky Barnes of Stockton sank a 16-foot birdie putt on his last hole for a 66 and is tied for fifth with Denny McCarthy, who birdied the first three holes, Dylan Frittelli of South Africa, who played bogey-free, and Chris Naegel, who holed out from 102 yards for an eagle on the 10th hole and had four birdies on the back nine.
Scott Stallings holed a 13-foot eagle putt on the second hole and is in large tie for ninth with Curtis Thompson who made a 20-foot eagle putt at No. 2, Chesson Hadley, Taylor Moore, Mark Hubbard, Adam Svensson of Canada, Matthias Schwab of Austria, Martin Trainer, Doc Redman and Bo Hoag, who birdied his last two holes.
Defending champion Lucas Glover is tied for 122nd at 74 after making three bogeys on the last five holes.
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