Pro Golf Weekly

Steve Wheatcroft Rides 62 To Lead at John Deere Classic

Steve Wheatcroft opened with a 9-under par 62 to take a one-shot lead after day one of the 2018 John Deere Classic.

The 40-year old journeyman, who holds a world ranking of 927, played his first 12 holes at TPC Deere Run flawlessly to 3-under par, but closed even more impressively, reeling off six-straight birdies (Nos. 13-18) to sign for a low-round 62.

Steve Wheatcroft John Deere Classic
Steve Wheatcroft lines up a putt on the 17th green during the first round of the 2018 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

“I’ve been playing well the; last few weeks. Just the driver. I’d hit one or two screw balls around that cost me a bogey or double bogey. It’s really, really hurt me,” said Wheatcroft.

“Got tired of that. Luckily the Callaway guys came out and worked with me a little bit yesterday. We put a new driver head on. Felt great on the range. I hadn’t played one hole of golf with it and just trusted it today.

“It was really good. It’s nice knowing that I could aim down the middle and it wasn’t going to be a wipe right; wasn’t going to be anything crazy.”

Michael Kim was one back after a 8-under par 63 which included three sets of back-to-back birdies on his opening nine holes. Johnson Wagner and Nick Taylor were one further back at 7 under.

Francesco Molinari headlined a group at 6-under 65. Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau withdrew after 15 holes due to an injury. He was at 3-over par.


JOHN DEERE CLASSIC: TOP 10

1. Steve Wheatcroft -9
2. Michael Kim -8
3. Johnson Wagner -7
3. Nick Taylor -7
3. Andres Romero -7
3. Joel Dahmen -7
7. Scott Brown -6
7. Francesco Molinari -6
7. Whee Kim -6
7. Denny McCarthy -6

JDC: NOTABLES

56. Chesson Hadley -2
56. Zach Johnson -2
56. Joaquin Niemann -2
56. Austin Cook -2
56. Bill Haas -2
79. Patton Kizzire -1
79. Steve Stricker -1
79. Ryan Moore -1
79. Scott Piercy -1
79. Brian Gay -1
79. Danny Lee -1
98. Andrew Landry E
111. Sam Saunders +1
128. Aaron Wise +2
128. Si Woo Kim +2
128. Davis Love III +2
141. Kyle Stanley +3
WD. Bryson DeChambeau +3


HOW STEVE WHEATCROFT SCORED

Par-3 Scoring: -1 (1 Birdies, 3 Pars)
Par-4 Scoring: -5 (5 Birdies, 6 Pars)
Par-5 Scoring: -3 (3 Birdies)
Total Scoring: -9 (9 Birdies, 9 Pars)
Key Stretch: Nos. 13-18 (Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie)
Key Strokes Gained: Birdies on Nos. 15 (3, +1.183), 16 (2, +0.949), and 18 (3, +1.352) produced on average over one-full stroke gained against the field.


QUOTABLE: STEVE WHEATCROFT

“I’m just focused on playing and making birdies. I’m so far behind the eight ball at this point I just want to keep playing golf, keep making birdies. 62, we’ll try to three more 62s at ’em and hopefully that’s good enough. I went from not playing golf at all, not getting into any tournaments, to now playing six out of seven weeks.”
– Steve Wheatcoft

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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