Even though Saturday is traditionally known as moving day, Friday’s Round 2 of the John Deere Classic introduced some new faces into the mix toward the top of the leaderboard.
John Huh posted the first standout round of the day with an 8-under 63, his best ever in competition at TPC Deere Run. The 28-year-old, who had missed three cuts in five previous visits, tied for Friday’s best completed round and vaulted himself into the top 12 at 9-under.
Matt Jones also shot an 8-under 63 on the day and sits tied for fifth at 11-under for the tournament.
Huh, who is 104th in the FedExCup rankings, had nine birdies and one bogey on Friday. He overcame a bogey late in his round on the seventh hole to finish his afternoon with a birdie on nine by sinking a putt just short of four feet.
“I hit a pretty decent shot and got lucky with hitting the pin, and it got stopped pretty close,” Huh said of his approach on nine. “I was able to take advantage of that break.”
Huh said he has found greater success putting so far this week compared to past visits. Teeing off at 8:40 a.m. on Friday with the morning wave also helped.
“Solid, really smooth greens out there,” Huh said. “I was able to take advantage of that.”
If Huh can continue Friday's success, he shouldn’t have a problem improving his best JDC finish of a T50 from 2015.
“After shooting 63, I’ve got to tell myself my game is in good position,” said Huh. “If I do something like this in the next two days, I think I’ll be good.”
Robert Garrigus had a bogey-free 7-under 64 with seven birdies on Friday to put him in a tie for eighth at 10-under.
The 40-year-old, ranked 129th in the FedExCup standings, said he was locked in while also dealing with temperatures in the 90s.
“It’s a constant struggle. I think that’s why I play so well. I’m not thinking about golf, I’m thinking about living,” said Garrigus, who has battled heat stroke, food poisoning and has needed an IV in just the last few weeks. “You can die out there in this heat.”
Finding himself in striking distance of the JDC lead, Garrigus is looking for a repeat of Friday.
“I didn’t miss a shot. Maybe there was a tee shot on nine that was a little left. Other than that, I didn’t miss a shot and hit all of my putts where I was looking. Just kept going and stayed patient,” Garrigus said. “I don't even know if I had a par putt outside of 3 feet today. It was a great day, and I want two more.”
Sam Ryder, who eagled No. 10, was also 7-under on the round heading into 18, but his second shot went into the water. He double-bogeyed the hole to finish with a 5-under 66. Despite the late hiccup, Ryder’s maneuvering placed tied for eighth at 10-under.