The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 12, 2014

Johnson, Stricker feel right at home

By Tim Cronin

Associated Press

SILVIS, Ill. — For the past five years, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker have had a near-monopoly on the John Deere Classic.

Johnson won in 2012, lost to Jordan Spieth in a three-way playoff last year and tied for second in 2009.

Stricker won three straight beginning in 2009, tied for fifth two years ago and tied for 10th last year.

After 36 holes of this year’s Deere, Johnson is a co-leader and Stricker is tied for sixth, three strokes back.

The two Midwesterners — Johnson is from Cedar Rapids, while Stricker hails from Madison, Wis. — go out of their way to say there’s no rivalry. And Johnson gives the nod of supremacy to Stricker.

“I’ve won once. He’s won three times,” Johnson said. “I don’t think it’s a debate. Twenty-five years from now, nobody is going to remember who finished second, third or fourth.”

Stricker kidded, “I thought I was the man here,” adding that he felt playing at TPC Deere Run was something of a home weekend, even though Madison is three hours away.

“We don’t have a tournament in Milwaukee anymore, and this is the closest thing to home, I guess,” Stricker said. “It looks like we could be playing this in Madison.”

Johnson and William McGirt were tied at 12-under-par 130 after 36 holes, a stroke ahead of Steven Bowditch, Johnson Wagner and Brian Harman.

Stricker’s 65 gave him 133 on the par-71 course, tied with Rory Sabbatini, Ryan Moore and Todd Hamilton, a native of nearby Oquawka, Ill.

Johnson shot 4-under 67 in the afternoon despite two bogeys in his last four holes. That dropped him into a tie with McGirt.

McGirt, 35, is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He added a 66 to his opening 64, but like Johnson, he finished with a bogey. McGirt’s best finish this year is a tie for sixth in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Since then, he’s had one top 10 and has missed the cut in seven of 14 tournaments.

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