Stricker three strokes back heading into final round of Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill. — Troy Matteson enjoys having the lead going into the final round of a golf tournament. Steve Stricker doesn’t mind having to come from behind.

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SILVIS, Ill. — Troy Matteson enjoys having the lead going into the final round of a golf tournament.

Steve Stricker doesn’t mind having to come from behind.

Each had their chance in Sunday’s final round of the John Deere Classic. Matteson has a three-stroke lead over Stricker going into the last 18 holes at TPC Deere Run.

Both Matteson, a two-time PGA Tour winner, and Stricker, chasing his fourth straight title at the Deere, shot 5-under par 66 on Saturday.

Matteson had a total of 18-under par 195, with Stricker alone in second at 198.

“I’ve been in the position Troy’s in, and it’s a difficult position because you have the expectation that you should go out and win,” Stricker said.

“It’s still very hard, because guys behind you are going for broke. They can be a little bit more aggressive and take a

shot at pins, where the guy with the lead may steer away from pins and play more cautiously.

“The bigger lead you have, the more you expect and everyone else expects you to win.”

Matteson doesn’t mind being on top of the leaderboard.

“You always want to be ahead rather than behind,” Matteson said. “Every stroke you can gain is good. I think you still need to be aggressive. It’s anybody’s tournament.

“I mean, a guy at 12 under could shoot 60. You have to come up with a lot of under-par shots. I’m going to do the same thing I’ve done every day. I know those guys are going to, too. They’re just going to be trying to shoot as low as they can.”

Stricker is attempting to join Tom Morris Jr., Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods as a winner four straight times in the same tournament. Woods has accomplished the feat twice.

“Nobody’s paying attention to what I do,” Matteson said. “It’s great for me if I win. If Stricker wins, it’s a really big story.”

Stricker, seeking his second victory of the year and 13th of his career, was five strokes behind Matteson at one point during the back nine, then surged.

His 76-yard wedge shot to the par-4 14th green landed 2 feet from the hole to set up the first of four straight birdies.

He sank a 5-footer at the 15th, a 6-footer at the 16th, and an 11-footer at the par-5 17th after missing the fairway with his tee shot and sending his approach into a greenside bunker.

“Those were four nice birdies in a row, which I really needed,” Stricker said.

He posted his 37th under-par round at Deere Run in 39 attempts, and is 109-under par at the course since the tournament moved here in 2000.

They’ll be in the final twosome, but others may have a say in the outcome, including Brian Harman and former Masters champion Zach Johnson, who are 14-under 199.

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