Power finishes strong to pull away from John Deere cut line

Bernie McGuire
Bernie McGuire

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A pair of 68s over the first two days at TPC Derr Run leaves West Waterford’s Seamus Power in a tie for 24th at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.

After 11 holes of his second round Power was sitting on -3 and in danger of missing the cut but birdies on his 14th, 16th and 17th propelled him into the top 25 finishing up on -6 total. Power may be 10 shots off the halfway leader Michael Kim but is only 3 shots away from the top 10 with plenty to play for going into the weekend.

At the top Michael Kim took a four-shot lead Friday before play was suspended twice because of weather concerns.

Kim, who is winless in 84 career PGA TOUR starts, was 16 under through 35 holes, with the second round to be completed Saturday morning.

Kim birdied eight of his first 14 holes without a bogey to race past first-round leader Steve Wheatcroft, who shot 68. Wheatcroft was 12 under along with David Hearn (64) and Johnson Wagner (66).

Francesco Molinari was 11 under along with Matt Jones and Bronson Burgoon, who made two eagles on Friday and was 8 under for the round with three holes to play.

The 24-year-old Kim, a former standout at Cal, Kim, pushed his lead to three shots by hitting a wedge from 111 yards to within 5 feet for birdie on the par-4 13th.

Kim, who had missed the cut in 14 of 22 starts this season, followed that up with a 13-footer for birdie on the par-4 14th. Hearn has had an up-and-down year, missing eight cuts. But his irons have been dialled in at TPC Deere Run. He birdied three of the four par-3s on Friday.

“I think I just have good feelings around this golf course. I’ve always enjoyed playing it. I am putting the ball in play off the tee, which isn’t as hard here as some of the other golf courses we play. But when I am doing that, I’m giving myself good chances for birdie,” Kim said. “The putter has been hot.”

Molinari got his first official PGA TOUR win two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National outside Washington, and the Italian continued his strong play at TPC Deere Run with rounds of 6-under and 5-under. Renowned for his ball-striking, Molinari hit 12-of-14 fairways and 14-of-18 greens in regulation both Thursday and Friday.

“I’m happy, yeah. The game is still there. I think I can hit my irons a little bit better, especially the wedges. (Thursday) and (Friday have) been OK, but not great, so there is room for improvement,” Molinari said.

Local favorite Zach Johnson, who won at the Quad Cities in 2012 and has seven top-5 finishes at TPC Deere Run, shot a 70 to move to 3-under, just inside the projected cut line. Friday’s round was delayed by nearly an hour because of poor weather. It was resumed and then called because of another batch of storms that descended on the area with about 30 players still to finish today.

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