Jhonattan Vegas shot a 9-under 62 on Friday in the John Deere Classic to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend.
Off since missing the cuts in the Memorial and U.S. Open in June, the three-time PGA tour winner from Venezuela said he “found something really good” on the range Thursday after an opening 67 in Silvis, Ill.
“Probably the best I’ve felt all year, to be honest,” Vegas said. “I hit the ball extremely well, kind of what I’ve been struggling with a little bit the past few months. It felt really good, in control the whole time with the ball-striking, which is my type of game. So I’m glad that stuff is back.”
Vegas had a 13-under 129 total at TPC Deere Run.
“It’s usually soft, and it’s been a little firmer because of the conditions, obviously a little warm,” Vegas said. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen it. The greens are perfect. The fairways are rolling more. It’s actually a little bit tricky because a lot of the fairways, as undulated as they are, you have to be a little careful with some of those run-outs.”
He last won on the tour in 2017 at the Canadian Open.
Andrew Landry was second after his second 65. He birdied the first three holes on his second nine, then played the next six in 1 over with a bogey on the par-4 sixth hole.
“I’ve been hitting the ball very, very well all year long,” Landry said. “The putter has just kind of been letting me down all year long, and it seems to be working pretty good the last two days.”
Lucas Glover had an albatross on the par-5 10th in a 64 that got him to 11 under. He holed out with a 3-iron from 255 yards after a 318-yard drive.
Harold Varner III (65), Russell Henley (68), Daniel Berger (66), Cameron Tringale (66) and Adam Schenk (65) were 10 under. Varner chipped in for eagle from 42 yards on the par-4 14th.
“I hit a really good drive in the rough and it was perfect, and I blasted it and it went too far and smashed the pin and went in,” Varner said. “It was awesome.”
First-round leader Roberto Diaz closed with a double bogey for a 73 that left him at 7 under.
Matthew Wolff, the rookie who won last week in Minnesota, was 4 under after a 71.
Michael Kim, the winner by eight shots last year, missed the cut with rounds of 73 and 72.
CHAMPIONS: Retief Goosen shot an 8-under 62 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, the fourth of the PGA Tour Champions’ five major tournaments, in Akron, Ohio.
After returning in the morning to birdie the 18th for a 69 in the rain-delayed first round, Goosen made an 8-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole in the second round and added six birdies in the bogey-free round at Firestone Country Club.
The 50-year-old South African is winless in 11 starts in his first season on the senior tour, losing a playoff to Jerry Kelly last month in the American Family Insurance Championship. Goosen won seven times on the PGA Tour, taking major titles at the U.S. Open in 2001 and 2004.
Playing partner Steve Stricker, the first-round leader after a 64 that he completed with a birdie in the morning, had a 70 to drop into a tie for second with Brandt Jobe, who shot 69-65.
Jay Haas (68), Kent Jones (67) and Tommy Tolles (67) were tied for fourth at 3 under.
PGA EUROPEAN: Bernd Wiesberger carded a 10-under 61 at the Scottish Open to move into a three-way tie for the lead after the second round on Friday.
The lowest round of Wiesberger’s career on the European Tour lifted him alongside England’s Lee Slattery and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, who shot consecutive 64s to be at 14 under.
They were two strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson and Nino Bertasio of Italy. Stenson remained bogey-free after a second 65, while Bertasio dropped a shot on his last hole.
A shot further back at 11 under was a group of five including former No. 1 Justin Thomas, who made eight birdies and a bogey in a 64.
Matt Kuchar, tied with three others for the lead after the opening round, slipped to 9 under after a 1-under 71.
CELEBRITY: Defending champion Tony Romo birdied six of his final 11 holes to take the first-round lead Friday in the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Reno, Nev.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned NFL analyst shot a 2-under 70 and scored 26 points in the celebrity tournament that uses the modified Stableford scoring system.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was two points back, and former major league pitcher Derek Lowe was another point behind. Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz was fourth at 22, and actor Jack Wagner, a two-time winner in the event, had 21.
Romo, who has competed in two PGA Tour events this year, played the back nine in 5-under 31 after getting off to a slow start with two bogeys and a double bogey on his first five holes.
Charles Barkley, the former NBA star who has regularly finished last or second to last, birdied the second hole.
Barkley was at minus-12 points, but was ahead of 14 players in the 90-player field.
LPGA: Sei Young Kim shot a 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
Kim had four straight birdies on Nos. 3-6 and also birdied the par-4 12th and 15th holes and the par-5 18th to get to 11-under 131 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. The South Korean player won the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in May in California for her eighth tour title.
Lee6 shot her second straight 66. The South Korean birdied two of the last three holes.
Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Jennifer Kupcho were 9 under. Kupcho shot 66, Thompson 67, and Lewis 68, with Lewis playing alongside Kim the first two days.
Lewis won the last of her 12 LPGA Tour titles in 2017. She was born in nearby Toledo and has an endorsement deal with Marathon Oil.
Thompson is coming off a two-week break.
Kupcho is making her sixth tour start as a pro. The former Wake Forest star won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April.
Yealimi Noh, the 17-year-old from California who tied for sixth last week in Wisconsin in her LPGA Tour debut, missing the cut with rounds of 73 and 72. She played on a sponsor exemption after Monday qualifying last week.