Thursday 21 September 2017

JOHNSON makes solid start to title defence

Press Association

DEFENDING champion Zach Johnson helped set the clubhouse lead midway through the opening round of the John Deere Classic.

Johnson went around Deere Run in a seven-under 64 to sit atop the leaderboard alongside Colombia's Camilo Villegas.

Matt Bettencourt, Daniel Summerhays and South African Brendon de Jonge were a stroke further back.

Johnson is searching for his first PGA Tour win since his success here last year and quickly returned to the form that earned him last year's title.

The 37-year-old shot a flawless round of seven birdies with playing partners Steve Stricker, who won this event three years running before Johnson's win 12 months ago, and Davis Love III both carding 67s.

Love's round ensured he remained in contention to continue his record of having played in the British Open 26 consecutive times since his debut in 1987. The 49-year-old needs to win to qualify.

John Deere Classic,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

Irish Independent

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