Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Aaron Rai back in the mix, Denny McCarthy rolling it and more from Friday at 2024 John Deere Classic

By admin Jul7,2024

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C.T. Pan and Aaron Rai each shot 6-under 65s on Thursday. They followed that up with a couple 8-under 63s on Friday, and now the two players share the 36-hole lead at the 2024 John Deere Classic. Rai was in contention all week in Detroit at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and now he’s in a great spot once again to chase his first PGA Tour win.

Harry Hall is alone in third at 13 under, one shot back of the leaders and one shot clear of six players — including Denny McCarthy and Sungjae Im — tied for fourth at 12 under, two back. A large group of eight players share 10th at 11 under, three back.

If you missed any of the action Friday, no worries, we have you covered. Here’s everything you need to know from the second round of the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

Aaron Rai of England lines putts on the 15th hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run on July 05, 2024 in Silvis, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Rai fell a shot short last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but he’s quickly gotten up and brushed himself off. After opening with a 6-under 65 on Thursday, the Englishman fired a terrific 8-under 63.

After three birdies before making the turn — Rai started his day on No. 10 — he poured in five birdies coming home on Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8. His putter carried most of the weight, as he gained over six strokes on the greens.

“Feel like been playing well tee to green for large parts of this season. That’s kind of continued over the last few weeks. I feel in a really good place off the golf course,” Rai said. “And then couple weeks ago I spent quite a while on the greens. My dad gave me a couple tips. Started working with John Graham last week as well, a putting coach who is based out here. That’s really helped to just gel things together on the greens. So, yeah, putting all that together has definitely translated to on the course.”

If the flat-stick stays hot for Rai, he could be hoisting hardware for the first time on Tour come Sunday afternoon.

Denny McCarthy of the United States lines up his putt on the 14th hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run on July 05, 2024 in Silvis, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Seeing McCarthy in contention at TPC Deere Run shouldn’t be a surprise. Entering the week he posted four consecutive top-40 finishes and tied for sixth at the John Deere in 2022 and 2023.

His day got off to a hot start, birdieing Nos. 10 and 11 — the first two holes of his round — before trading another birdie at the 14th for a bogey on the 18th. After making the turn, McCarthy made birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 and added another three holes later at the fifth to finish his 5-under 66.

McCarthy has long been one of the best putters on Tour, and he leaned on that strength Friday, making 101 feet on putts while ranking ninth in putts per GIR.

“Clean a few things up with the driver and some iron play. I like kind of how — I like how I’m stroking it. I feel good short game around the greens, bunker play. Just a little bit of iron play,” he said of the state of his game. “Wedges feel good. Maybe a little sharper with the short irons, 7, 8, 9-iron, and driving I would say just a little bit more comfortable with it. Didn’t really hit it that great off the tee today. Got away with few. Yeah, just clean up a few things in the long game.”

The 31-year-old is still looking for his first Tour win, but has come close a few times over the last year. He lost in a playoff to Viktor Hovland at the Memorial in 2023 and suffered the same fate earlier this season at the Valero Texas Open to Akshay Bhatia.

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Sungjae Im hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports

Im opened with a solid 5-under 66 and bettered it by two shots on Friday, heading into the weekend with a 7-under 64. He’s two back of the leaders and is the most experienced winner of the 17 players inside the top 10.

So, why should you like his chances with 36 holes to go at TPC Deere Run?

Over his last seven starts, sure, he has two missed cuts (PGA Championship, U.S. Open), but he’s also grabbed finishes of T-12 (RBC Heritage), T-4 (Wells Fargo Championship), T-9 (Charles Schwab Challenge), T-8 (Memorial) and T-3 (Travelers Championship).

He’s trending in the right direction, and it feels like a win is on the horizon.

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C.T. Pan reacts after his putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports

C.T. Pan (8-under 63, T-1)

Aaron Rai (8-under 63, T-1)

Kevin Yu (8-under 63, T-10)

Keith Mitchell (8-under 63, T-18)

Sungjae Im (7-under 64, T-4)

Rico Hoey (7-under 64, T-10)

Joshua Creel (7-under 64, T-10)

Andrew Novak (7-under 64, T-10)

Michael Thorbjornsen (7-under 64, T-10)

Jhonattan Vegas (7-under 64, T-18)

Trace Crowe (7-under 64, T-32)

Hayden Springer hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports

T-1: C.T. Pan, 14 under (+1000)
T-1: Aaron Rai, 14 under (+360)

3rd: Harry Hall, 13 under (+2000)

T-4: Eric Cole, 12 under (+1400)
T-4: Davis Thompson, 12 under (+900)
T-4: Denny McCarthy, 12 under (+1000)
T-4: Luke Clanton (a), 12 under (+1400)
T-4: Sungjae Im, 12 under (+700)
T-4: Hayden Springer, 12 under (+4000)

T-10: Adam Svensson, 11 under (+2500)
T-10: Brendon Todd, 11 under (+4500)
T-10: Kevin Yu, 11 under (+2500)
T-10: Rico Hoey, 11 under (+5000)
T-10: Chan Kim, 11 under (+5000)
T-10: Joshua Creel, 11 under (+12000)
T-10: Andrew Novak, 11 under (+3500)
T-10: Michael Thorbjornsen, 11 under (+3500)

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