Golf

Matteson keeps John Deere lead as Stricker mounts charge

Troy Matteson carded a five-under 66 to take a three-shot lead after the third round of the John Deere Classic but will be looking over his shoulder for charging three-time defending champion Steve Stricker.

 
Matteson keeps lead - GolfAFP
 

Matteson, who has sat atop the leaderboard since the opening round, began the day with a one shot cushion but increased his advantage with another steady effort at the TPC Deere Run layout in Silvis, Illinois by mixing seven birdies with two bogeys.

The American was in position to grab a four-shot lead over Stricker heading into Sunday's final round but closed out with a bogey at the last to leave him on 18-under 195.

Stricker, looking to become only the fifth man to win the same tournament in four consecutive years, put himself in contention for another victory by closing with four straight birdies from the 14th.

But, like Matteson, Stricker also bogeyed the 18th to sign off with a 66.

"I don't know, I have a good time here, obviously a lot of good vibes going around here having won the last three years," said Stricker.

"Things start to happen for me here, I make some putts, pull out some shots here and there, a lot of good things happen but I don't know what it is.

"I just have to keep plugging, I have one more day and hopefully make another run at it tomorrow."

Young Tom Morris, Walter Hagan, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods sit in the exclusive club of men who have won a tournament in four consecutive years.

Lurking four off the lead at the John Deere Classic are 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and PGA Tour rookie Brian Harman.

Johnson, winner of the Colonial Invitational and a runner-up at the Heritage and Players Championship this season, moved into contention for his second win of the campaign by also carding a 66 while Harman laboured to a two-under 69 to sit on 199.

"I expect Steve to play well here. Who wouldn't?" said Johnson. "We've both played well here so I don't think it'll be surprising if we both play well again four straight days."

Australian John Senden (67) and Americans JJ Henry (69) and Billy Hurley III (64) are five off the pace at 13-under.

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