x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Little-known Daniel Summerhays grabs lead at John Deere Classic

Summerhays, whose previous best finish on the US PGA Tour was a tie for fourth, shoots a 9-under 62 for a two-stroke lead following third-round play.

Daniel Summerhays has not finished better than tied for fourth in a US PGA Tour competition. Michael Cohen / Getty Images
Daniel Summerhays has not finished better than tied for fourth in a US PGA Tour competition. Michael Cohen / Getty Images

SILVIS, United States // Daniel Summerhays shot a 9-under 62 for a two-stroke lead following third-round play at the John Deere Classic on Saturday.

Summerhays, whose previous best finish on the US PGA Tour was a tie for fourth, enters Sunday's final round at 19-under 194 and in position for his first career win.

Summerhays notched 10 birdies while matching the lowest third-round score in tournament history.

Canadian David Hearn (64) was second at 17 under. Zach Johnson, the Defending champion, held a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds, but he is now alone in third after shooting a 67.

JJ Henry and Jerry Kelly are tied for fourth at 15 under, while Nicholas Thompson leads three golfers at 14 under.

Summerhays had missed three straight cuts - failing to shoot a round under 70 in those events - before finishing ninth last week at the Greenbrier Classic.

He has been hot all weekend at Deere Run, though, and Saturday marked the lowest round of his career.

Hearn finished with three birdies in four holes to pull within two shots of Summerhays. After matching 66s, Hearn went two strokes lower to give himself a chance on Sunday.

Johnson had been remarkably consistent over his last six rounds at Deere Run.

For the first time in a long time, Johnson found himself battling just to hang close to the leaders. He eagled No 2 with a 60-foot putt to grab the lead outright but a bogey at the par-4 6th was his first here in 62 holes, and he picked up another one five holes later.

No amateur has won on the tour since Phil Mickleson kicked off his brilliant career with a victory at the Northern Telecom Open 22 years ago.

But for about 15 minutes, unheralded Stanford amateur Patrick Rodgers was alone atop the leaderboard.

Rodgers was 7 under through 12 holes, capped by a winding 57-foot birdie that put him a shot clear of the field. Rodgers bogeyed No 18 to finish at 6 under for the round, but he heads into a finale at 12 under.

"Kind of got a mental hurdle off my back making my first cut in a professional event, so [Saturday] was pressure free. It was good. I could just go out there and make a ton of birdies," Rodgers said. "The pressure is off me. I can go out and be stress free as an amateur and try to have fun."

Three-time tournament winner Steve Stricker (69) is eight shots back of Summerhays. He will need a tremendous final round and some serious help to claim his fourth title in five years.

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