PGA: C.T. Pan, Aaron Rai jump past Hayden Springer at John Deere


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C.T. Pan of Taiwan and Aaron Rai of England share the 36-hole lead at the John Deere Classic after they each shot 8-under 63 on Friday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

Pan and Rai enter the weekend at 14-under 128, one shot ahead of Englishman Harry Hall, who posted a 66 Friday.

Hayden Springer, who opened the tournament with a 12-under 59 — the 14th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history — followed that with an even-par 71 to drop into a tie for fourth.

Rai, who made five of his eight birdies on the front nine (his second nine holes), contended at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic before tying for second.

“I think the positive from Sunday was that I hung around pretty well,” Rai said. “… Just couple too many unforced errors, which I think ultimately cost us a little bit. So hopefully I can apply some of those things (Saturday) and we’ll see how it goes over this weekend.”

Pan’s highlight Friday was a pitch-in eagle at the par-4 14th hole.

“It’s a drivable par-4. Hit a decent drive to the left — actually in the first cut (of rough),” Pan said. “I had like 35-yard chip and it’s pretty (standard) uphill chip. I was able to go after it.”

Pan has something Rai does not: a victory on tour. Pan won the 2019 RBC Heritage, and he also has the Olympics on his mind after winning bronze at the 2021 Games and qualifying again for Paris.

“I had terrible sleep last night,” Pan said. “Had a really serious conversation with my Olympic committee back home just trying to figure out all the arrangements before I go there. So didn’t go well, I can tell that you. I did not sleep well. So (his low round was) quite a surprise.”

As for Springer, he started on the back nine and was 3 under through 11 holes before consecutive bogeys, his first two of the tournament.

After a brief recovery with a short birdie putt at the par-4 fifth hole, Springer had trouble in the greenside rough at No. 6 and made a double bogey 6.

“I kind of hit some bumps on the back nine, but more just mental errors and not making those short putts than anything else,” Springer said. “So all in all, I really feel like I played OK. I mean, I knew there was going to be a little bit after contrast. It’s pretty tough to go low — that low — multiple times in a row.”

The group tied with Springer at 12 under also includes Sungjae Im of South Korea (64), Eric Cole (68), Davis Thompson (67), Denny McCarthy (66) and amateur Luke Clanton (67). A golfer at Florida State, Clanton tied for 10th at the Rocket Mortgage and is playing on a sponsor exemption for the second consecutive week.

Two-time John Deere champion Jordan Spieth posted a 67 to move to 6 under, one shot above the cut line. Notables who missed the cut include Daniel Berger (4 under), Matt Kuchar (3 under) and Nick Dunlap (3 under), who won as an amateur earlier this season at The American Express in the California desert.

–Field Level Media


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