Power threatens to hit overdrive at the John Deere

Mark McGowan

Seamus Power (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

A five-under par 66 saw Seamus Power’s bid for a third PGA Tour victory open in fine fashion at the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run, but the Waterford man will feel a little disappointed having failed to build on a sublime opening nine holes.

Starting on the back nine, pinpoint wedges set up birdies at the opening two holes, and he’d add two more back-to-back on 13 and 14, and then again on 16 and 17 to make the turn at -6, hitting all nine greens in regulation and six of seven fairways, the only miss coming when he hit the greenside bunker at the drivable 14th.

Out in 30 – and it could easily have been 29 or even 28 – a career-low PGA Tour round was on the cards, but despite giving himself good birdie looks at one, two, four, six and eight, Power’s putter went cold on the front side. After missing the green on the last – his first missed green of the day – a good bunker shot left him a six-footer to go bogey free, but again, his putter let him down and he’d have to settle for a five-under 66 that could so easily have been several strokes lower.


The 66 still sees Power in tied sixth place ahead of the afternoon wave, but he’s four shots adrift of Swede Jonas Blixt who carded two eagles enroute to a sensational nine-under.

39-year-old Blixt, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, is making just his seventh tour start of the year and has missed the cut in six of his last eight starts across all tours, with a best finish of T64 at the Puerto Rico Open during that stretch, but five birdies and an eagle on the back nine saw him race to the top of the leaderboard where he enjoys a three-stroke lead over American trio Grayson Sigg, Adam Schenk and Nate Lashley, with South African Garrick Higgo completing the quartet tied for second.

“Oh, absolutely not,” Blixt answered when asked if he’d felt this coming. “I had six weeks off and worked a lot with my swing coach back home. I had struggled a lot I feel like a few months there, and I think I found something this week after playing the Korn Ferry last week.

“At this point when you don’t have that much confidence in your game and you find something, you just kind of go out and see where you swing at it, and that’s what happened. I mean, 62 doesn’t happen very often on the PGA TOUR, at least not for me.

“I’m very happy about it. Extremely happy about it.”

Schenk, who played alongside Power in one of the featured groups, had a vastly different experience on the greens, picking up almost three-and-a-half strokes with the putter while Power lost a half-a-stroke to the field.

“I putted great,” Schenk said. “I don’t know what my strokes-gained putting was, but it had to be 3.5 or 4. I made almost everything.

“I’m sure a lot of people are going to continue to make putts today, tomorrow morning when the greens are fresh just because the green surfaces here are so great.

“Greens are somewhat soft. The fairways are somewhat soft, so balls are staying in the fairway. Some that might normally bound out into the rough. That little softness is allowing scoring to be pretty good.”



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