Howell, Schniederjans shoot 63 to share John Deere lead

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 favourite Zach Johnson, Howell birdied seven 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 goof 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 1 1/2 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.”

Howell and Schniederjans are coming off injuries.

“I had nine weeks off prior to the Quicken Loans with a rib injury, and it was my first injury — knock on wood — I’ve had in my career,” said Howell, making his 11th at Deere Run. “I went to Quicken Loans quite honestly not prepared to play well. I had only been hitting balls for four or five days prior to that event. Expectations were extremely low and I played well.”

Schniederjans has been fighting a pulled muscle in his back since Colonial in late May.

“It kind of lingered and I tried to play through it, and then ended up taking like 15 days off without hitting a ball and still is sort of there,” Schniederjans. “Kind of have to have maintenance. … It’s been fine the last three weeks, but my game has been getting better as the days have gone on, too.”

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., is the top Canadian after shooting an even 71. Ottawa’s Brad Fritsch is 1 over while Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., shot a 5-over 76.

Bubba Wastson, the two-time Masters 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 sidelined him 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.

Just Posted

Influenza claims two more in Central Alberta

Since flu season began four months ago 16 have died in Central Alberta

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Ottawa vows legislation allowing firms to settle corporate corruption

OTTAWA — The Canadian government is vowing to introduce legislation for corporate… Continue reading

‘Lost Tapes’ series examines Malcolm X through rare footage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Malcolm X was reviled and adored during his lifetime… Continue reading

Woe, Canada: Germany ousts Canada 4-3

GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of — Germany has knocked Canada out of the… Continue reading

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month