Silvis, Ill. — Charles Howell III and Ollie Schniederjans each shot 8-under 63 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.
Playing alongside local favorite Zach Johnson, Howell birdied seven of his first nine holes and added a birdie on No. 7 in his morning round at rain-softened TPC Deere Run. The two-time PGA Tour winner lost a playoff to Kyle Stanley two weeks ago in the Quicken Loans National.
“This morning without traffic, they were rolling like carpet,” Howell said. “This morning was absolutely the best scoring we’ll see all week, which would also lead me to believe that tomorrow morning you’re going to see some low scores as well. Here, it’s about minimizing bogeys as much as you can and take advantage of the holes that you need to.”
Schniederjans birdied five of his last eight holes in his lowest round of the PGA Tour. The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech star earned a PGA Tour card last year through the Web.com Tour.
“I haven’t had a great start really all year on the first round,” Schniederjans said. “I have had some decent first rounds and good Fridays, but this is the first really good round I’ve had on Thursday. It’s nice to get off to a good start and hopefully keep it going.”
Johnson was two strokes back at 65 along with Rory Sabbatini, Patrick Rodgers and Chad Campbell. Johnson, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the 2012 tournament.
“With this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rain we had, it’s one of those you feel like you got to keep the pedal down,” Johnson said.
“The course is still nice. I was surprised we didn’t play it up today. I technically only had 11/2 mud balls probably, so that was pretty good considering.”
He holed a 24-foot birdie putt on his second-to-last hole to get within two strokes.
“I’m very comfortable with this golf course, essentially any condition,” Johnson said. “All that being said, you still have to execute. (Thursday) was one of those good days.”
Brian Stuard (Jackson) shot 3-under 68.
Ryan Brehm (Michigan State) was at 78.
Bubba Wastson, a two-time Masters champ making his first Quad Cities start in seven years, opened with a 69.
Fifty-year-old Steve Stricker, the winner from 2009-11 at Deere Run, had a 73.
Defending champion Ryan Moore had a 74 in his return from a strained tendon in his left shoulder that kept him out for five weeks. The British Open is holding one spot for the leading player among the top five who is not already exempt next week at Royal Birkdale.
Shanshan Feng shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 and took a one-shot lead over Amy Yang in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Despite complaints over playing the biggest event in women’s golf on a course owned by President Donald Trump, there were no apparent protests over his comments about women. There was a two-hour, five-minute weather delay and play was suspended.
Larry Mize birdied half the holes and shot an 8-under 64 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Senior Players Championship in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Three-time defending champion Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin and Steve Flesch were one shot back. Langer enjoyed a bogey-free round on the 7,196-yard Caves Valley Golf Course.
Rickie Fowler rolled in five birdies at Dundonald Links to shoot a 5-under 67 in the first round of the Scottish Open in Irvine, Scotland.
He was in a six-way tie for second place, two shots behind Mikko Ilonen.
Fowler, who won the Scottish Open when it was held at Gullane, missed the 2016 tournament because of scheduling conflicts arising from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which clogged up the golfing calendar last summer.
“I would have loved to have been here,” he said.
“Coming off winning the year before, I love playing links golf and I love playing the week before a major. It was tough to miss it. I’m just glad to be back.”
Fowler outplayed his partners Rory McIlroy (74) and Henrik Stenson (72) in the marquee group.