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The high school class of 2011 already has made a huge imprint on the PGA Tour. 

Jordan Spieth is a three-time major champion. Justin Thomas has a major in his pocket, too. Daniel Berger and Xander Schauffele have won PGA Tour tournaments. Ollie Schniederjans and Patrick Rodgers have been on leaderboards.

The 2018 John Deere Classic is introducing golf fans to another member of that star-studded class in Michael Kim. 

Kim wakes up today celebrating his 25th birthday. He'll show up at TPC Deere Run with a four-stroke lead in the closing stages of the second round.

"I played against all those guys in the 2011 class, and I felt like I was just as good as those guys," Kim said. "Seeing them do those things, win majors, win tournaments, is really motivating trying to keep up with them."

Inclement weather prevented the second round from concluding Friday. Play was suspended for 49 minutes in the early evening and halted for the day at 7:26 p.m. due to additional storms. 

The second round is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. today for 23 players. The third round is slated to begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. in threesomes off tees Nos. 1 and 10 because of expected weather. 

Before the horn sounded for the second time, Kim hit his approach on the par-4 18th into the collection area right of the green.

If he can get up and down for par, he would match the low opening 36-hole scoring mark at Deere Run at 16-under 126. Steve Stricker opened with 60 and 66 in 2010 en route to the second of his three consecutive JDC titles.

Regardless, Kim will have his first lead after any round on the PGA Tour. 

"I've been really comfortable on the course the last couple years," Kim said. 

David Hearn, first-round leader Steve Wheatcroft and Johnson Wagner are tied for second and in the clubhouse at 12-under.

Francesco Molinari, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 15 in the Official World Golf Rankings, leads a contingent at 11 under and five back.

The 36-hole cut is projected to fall at 3-under 139. 

They're all chasing Kim, who is ranked 473rd in the world and has only one top-10 finish in 83 career starts on the PGA Tour. 

He came into the JDC with five missed cuts in his last six events.

"The last couple weeks it's felt pretty close," Kim said. "I just felt like if I could get the putter going and get some good momentum, I could shoot some good scores.

"The putter has been really hot, hitting my irons great and driving it pretty good. It is kind of coming together at a great time this week."

Kim has poured in 17 birdies and just one bogey in 35 holes. He strung together five straight 3s on his scorecard — Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

The 5-foot-11 and 165-pounder said it was best run of golf since his collegiate days at California-Berkeley.

"It has been a cool run so far," Kim said.

Before inclement weather struck the area, players had to battle through extreme heat. 

"I think that front nine was kind of almost in survival mode just trying to get through the day," Kim remarked. 

Wheatcroft, in fact, picked up from where he left off in Thursday's 9-under 62. He had birdies on five of his first eight holes and reached 14-under par. In the first two rounds, he's played the back nine in 12-under 60. 

"It's agreed with me," he said. "I've been hitting the ball really well and found the fairways." 

The 40-year-old backed up with three bogeys on the front nine, his closing nine.

"I tried to stay patient, but I was getting frustrated with the heat and how hot I was getting and cramping up a little bit and things like that," Wheatcroft said.

Wheatcroft said he drank probably 20 ounces of water for each of the first 12 holes. 

"I had PediaLyte, coconut water, anything I could think of that would help me hydrate," he said. "You just couldn't stay cool no matter what you did."

Hearn catapulted up the leaderboard with a 64, and Wagner turned in a 66. Hearn has made more than 230 feet of putts in the first two rounds. Wagner had seven birdies offset by one bogey.

"I just have a lot of confidence right now," Wagner said. "You just got to keep making birdies. I can't get nervous and protect out here, because 12-under is not going to be good enough to win come Sunday.

"I've got to keep the pedal down and keep playing this place like I know how."


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.