Part-timer Stricker in contention at John Deere Classic

Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:42pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - American Steve Stricker is skipping the British Open, but he has the John Deere Classic in his sights after a strong second round in Silvis, Illinois on Friday.

Stricker, helped by a tip from his caddie, stormed home with five birdies on his inward half for a six-under-par 65 at TPC John Deere Run.

He recorded a nine-under 133 halfway total, three strokes behind American leader William McGirt (66) with half the field back in the clubhouse.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth jumped into contention with a 64 to edge within five strokes of the lead.

Stricker, 47, struggled early but he got back on track after pulling his drive at the 13th hole, his fourth.

Caddie Jimmy Johnson observed that Stricker had the ball a “bit too far forward” in his set-up, so he made a minor adjustment and generally played much better after that.

“At times I didn’t think it was going to happen and then the second nine I really started to do some nice things,” Stricker told Golf Channel.

“There were a couple of nice saves that kept the momentum going too.”

World number 19 Stricker considers himself a part-time golfer these days. He is playing only his ninth tournament of the year, and has pulled out of next week’s British Open, the second successive year he will skip the major championship.   Continued...

 
U.S. golfer Steve Stricker hits a shot onto the second green during the first round of the 2014 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 10, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder