SILVIS, Ill. — Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini and Brian Harman shot 8-under-par 63s Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the John Deere Classic.
Johnson and Sabbatini played bogey-free golf, while Harman had nine birdies and one bogey on the par-71 TPC Deere Run.
They led 2004 British Open champion Todd Hamilton, Australian Steven Bowditch and William McGirt, the best afternoon finisher, by a stroke. Brendon de Jonge, Kevin Tway, David Toms and Robert Streb are two back at 6-under 65.
Johnson, who won the Deere in 2012 and lost it to Jordan Spieth in a playoff last year, birdied four of his first five holes and was 6 under on his opening nine.
Spieth opened at even par 71, rallying from 2 over with three holes to play with birdies on the 16th and 17th.
Sabbatini scored his best round of the year, closing with birdies on three of the last four holes.
Harman, who bettered his best round of the year by two strokes, was 2-under through six holes when his caddie, Scott Tway, took ill. Jay Hatch of Davenport, Iowa, a high school basketball coach, volunteered from the gallery, and carried Harman’s bag the last 12 holes, which Harman played in 6-under.
Harman didn’t miss a beat when his caddie took ill.
“I called a medic over and Scottie said he was going to have to sit out at least a couple holes,” Harman said. “Jay was standing there and said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll keep up.’”
Checking his own yardages, Harman birdied seven of his last 12 holes, and nine overall.
“If you go out and birdie half of the golf course, you feel you’ve done fairly well,” Harman said.
McIlroy blasts way to Scottish Open lead
ABERDEEN, Scotland — Rory McIlroy rolled in six birdies in seven holes around the turn to shoot a 7-under 64 and take a one-stroke lead midway through the first round of the Scottish Open on Thursday.
Refreshed after taking two weeks off, the No. 8-ranked McIlroy tamed windy conditions in northern Scotland to show his links game is in good shape ahead of next week’s British Open at Hoylake.
One of the highlights of his round was driving the green on the 436-yard 13th hole while the group ahead was on the putting surface. That set up one of his eight birdies at Royal Aberdeen.
Unheralded Swede Kristoffer Broberg shot a bogey-free 65 to sit just behind McIlroy on a leaderboard that includes Luke Donald (4-under 67).
Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot 68.
Montgomerie has first-round lead
EDMOND, Okla. — Colin Montgomerie leads after the first round at the U.S. Senior Open.
Montgomerie shot a 6-under par 65 in oppressive heat Thursday at Oak Tree National. The Scotsman started on 10 and birdied 14, 15 and 16 on the way to a 33 on the back nine. He birdied six, seven and eight to finish strong.
Marco Dawson is second after a 66. He also started on the back nine and shot 2 under, then was steady on the front nine before making birdies on seven, eight and nine.
Mark Brooks shot a 68 and is third. Bernhard Langer, who already has won three Champions Tour events this year, shot a 2-under 69 and is in a five-way tie for fourth.
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