Patrick Rodgers’ career at Stanford University included 11 victories, something only Tiger Woods had accomplished before. Rodgers won the 2014 Ben Hogan Award and held the No. 1 spot on the World Amateur Golf Ranking for 16 weeks in that same year. The impressive resume hasn’t yet translated to victories on the PGA Tour, but that’s not for a lack of chances. This week represents another for Rodgers, who shot a seven-under 64 on Friday at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., to give him a two-stroke lead at 13-under 129.
Rodgers, 25, has had plenty of highs and lows in his young tour career. He’s finished in the top five four times over the last three years, but has also missed 13 of 22 cuts in 2017 alone. Friday’s round at TPC Deere Run was his lowest of the season and came at a course he’s had mixed success at, having missed three cuts and finishing in the top 30 twice in five tries. A breakthrough week for the Indiana native would not only give him his first tour title, but also earn him a spot in next week’s Open Championship.
Two strokes back is another player with a decorated amateur career, Bryson DeChambeau, who posted a six-under 65 and sits at 11-under 131. Much like Rodgers, DeChambeau has struggled with expectations in his limited time on tour, but is beginning to find the form that won him the NCAA individual championship and U.S. Amateur in 2015. In his last three events, DeChambeau has finished T-26, T-17 and T-14. A win this week also would be the first of his career.
Zach Johnson and Charles Howell III are three back at 10-under 132. The two veterans have already wrapped up spots in next week’s major at Royal Birkdale.
Four players are four strokes back at nine-under 133, including Chesson Hadley, fresh off his Web.com Tour victory a week ago at the LECOM Health Challenge. Hadley, 30, posted a bogey-free seven-under 64 that featured birdies on three of his last five holes. The former Georgia Tech All-American went from PGA Tour winner and rookie of the year in 2014 to losing his card at the end of the 2016 season, but has shown resilience, and is taking advantage of his latest opportunity this week. It’s just his fifth start on the PGA Tour in 2017.
Kevin Tway, also at nine under, shot an eight-under 63. The former U.S. Junior Amateur winner made seven straight birdies beginning on the par-3 16th (his seventh), the most in a row on the PGA Tour this season. He’s tied with for fifth with Hadley, Chad Campbell and J.J. Henry.