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The first round of the 2023 John Deere Classic is in the books and it was a low-scoring day in Illinois. Although the tournament isn’t featuring many of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars, the level on show on Thursday around TPC Deere Run was nothing short of sensational.
After the first day of action, it is a European who sits on top of the leaderboard in the form of Jonas Blixt. The Swede has rarely played better on the PGA Tour, at least not in recent years, and has a two-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard going into the second day of action.
The John Deere Classic Leaderboard
Jonas Blixt (SWE)
Grayson Murray (USA)
Greyson Sigg (USA)
Garrick Higgo (RSA)
Adam Schenk (USA)
Cameron Young (USA)
Nate Lashley (USA)
Richy Werenski (USA)
Seamus Power (IRE)
Brendan Todd (USA)
Alex Smalley (USA)
Round one highlights
A blitz from Blixt
The best player around TPC Deere Run was Jonas Blixt, which came to the surprise of almost everyone watching. The 39-year-old Swede hasn’t had a good couple of years on both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour and this year in particular has been a real struggle.
Going into the event he was ranked 842nd in the world and had missed the cut in three of his last four PGA Tour events and therefore he wouldn’t have expected to perform as well as he did on round one. Finishing with a score of -9, Blixt enjoyed six birdies and two eagles and is well-deserving of his place at the top of the leaderboard.
As part of his round, Blixt went through the back nine in just 29 shots, something he had never done in his career until yesterday. Afterwards, Blixt was as shocked by his performance as anyone else. He said:
“Golf is weird. Like, tomorrow I can shoot 100 I feel, but today was a great day. Sixty-two doesn’t happen very often on the PGA Tour, at least not for me. I kind of came to the point in my season where it’s so late that I don’t feel any pressure anymore really and just kind of go out and swing at it.”
4% chance of making it, not a problem for Jonas Blixt.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 6, 2023
Young keeps the pace
Pre-tournament favourite, Cameron Young, has started well in Illinois and finished his day with a score 65 which has him three shots behind Blixt at the top of the leaderboard. Young is the highest ranked player at the event at number 19 in the world, and looked assured on the opening day of action.
Young is playing this week purely because he doesn’t like playing in the week leading up to a major tournament, meaning this will be his last event before the Open Championship in Liverpool in a fortnight’s time.
On day one, Young had played a faultless round of golf until the 18th when he found a bit of trouble off the tee. He then danced with danger with his approach shot on the same hole when he narrowly missed the water and had to settle for a bogey to finish up. He will be looking to kick on and move into the lead on day two.
Taylor’s woes continue
The highest-ranked Englishman at the tournament, Ben Taylor, had another day to forget in what is turning into a disastrous season for the 31-year-old. Going into 2022/23, Taylor probably thought he had an outside chance of making the 2023 Ryder Cup Team but those hope have been dashed by a string of disappointing performances.
Taylor came into this event on the back of four missed cuts on the PGA Tour and another one looms large in Illinois. Taylor only found one birdie on day one as he succumbed to a miserable score of 75 to leave him on +4 for the tournament.
The John Deere Classic odds after day three
- Cameron Young – 11/2
- Adam Schenk – 9/1
- Seamus Power – 20/1
- Alex Smalley – 22/1
- Brendon Todd – 22/1
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