By RICK BROWN
John Deere Classic Correspondent
SILVIS, ILL. – Ryan Moore shot a 6-under-par 65 Saturday morning to join Wesley Bryan as the second-round leader at the John Deere Classic.
Moore, who also opened with a 65 Thursday, didn’t play a hole Friday because of the tournament’s weather-challenged first two days. But he made up for lost time with six birdies in an eight-hole stretch starting at No. 4 to make his move up the leaderboard. Moore caught Bryan with a birdie at the par-5 17th.
They head into Saturday afternoon’s third round tied at 12-under-par 130. Steve Marino is another shot back.
“It was nice to kind of get it rolling this morning, and make a few birdies early,” Moore said. “It was just an overall really steady round of golf.”
Moore has an eagle and 12 birdies in his two trips around TPC Deere Run. He needed just 28 putts in the first round and 27 in the second round.
“My putting has been better than it’s felt for awhile, which is very encouraging,” Moore said. “It’s a good time of the year for it to be feeling good.”
Bryan, who completed his second round Friday, has shot 66-64 in his PGA Tour debut. Bryan got his spot at the Deere after winning three times on the Web.com Tour.
Meanwhile, one of the most impressive streaks in John Deere Classic history came to an end Saturday morning. Zach Johnson, the 2012 champion who has finished in the top three in each of his last five starts here, shot a second-round 71. That ended Johnson’s streak of consecutive rounds in the 60s at 29. That run goes back to a final-round 71 in 2008.
“You’ve got to assume it would end some time,” Johnson said. “Today was the hardest I’ve seen this golf course play since we played in September, by far. Holes where I hit good drives and I’m punching 5-irons and 6-irons when it’s typically it’s a wedge, it’s significantly different.”
Johnson had only one birdie shorter than 10 feet all day. He got his only birdie with a 28-foot putt on No. 17. He made 107 feet 5 inches of putts in a first-round 65. He made just 61 feet 4 inches of putts in Saturday morning’s second round.
“I was asking (caddie Damon Green) on 16, I’m like, “I know I’m not playing great but I’m really not playing that bad,’ ” Johnson said. “It’s not like I’m knocking down pins. But I’ve hit great shots that don’t pan out with the right yardage.”
Three-time Deere champion Steve Stricker, paired with Johnson, was on the wrong side of the cut line (3-under par) with three holes to play. But he birdied the 16th and 17th holes to play the weekend. Stricker is at 4-under 138 (70-68).
“I wanted to play the next couple of rounds,” Stricker said. “And after bogeying No. 11 I knew I needed at least one on the way in. So to get a couple was nice. The course played pretty tough. The wind was out of the north, very soft, it’s playing long, some of those short holes played into the wind that normally are scoring holes that we were hitting some longer clubs to. It was tough to hit it close because of the wet conditions.”
There was plenty of drama as players chased that cut line. One of them was Patrick Rodgers. After shooting a 6-under par 65 in the first round, Rodgers was 4-over par on the day and 2-under for the Deere coming to his final hole, No. 9.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Rodgers pounded a drive 350 yards down the middle, then hit his second shot to 5 feet 7 inches and made it for birdie to sneak inside the cut.
Four of the eight players here on sponsor’s exemptions made the cut – Jon Rahm (69-66), Charlie Danielson (67-71), Aaron Wise (69-70) and Robby Shelton (71-68).