Silvis, Illinois: Troy Matteson fired a five-under par 66 on Saturday for a three-shot lead at the John Deere Classic over three-time defending champion Steve Stricker.
Matteson had a 54-hole total of 18-under 195. Stricker was on 198 after a 66 that included seven birdies — including four in a row from the 14th.
“Those were four nice birdies in a row, which I really needed,” said Stricker, who fell five adrift of Matteson at one point.
Although he finished with a bogey at 18, Stricker kept himself in contention to achieve the rare feat of winning the same tournament four times in a row.
“I have a good time here. Obviously, a lot of good vibes going around here having won the last three years,” said Stricker, who is attempting to join Young Tom Morris, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods as players who have won the same tournament four straight times.
Woods has accomplished the feat twice. Zach Johnson posted shot 66 for 199, sharing third place with Brian Harman (69).
Australia’s John Senden carded a four-under 67 that featured an eagle at the par-five second hole and two birdies with no bogeys to lead a group on 13-under 200. He was joined by Billy Hurley, who carded a 64, and J.J. Henry, who signed for a 69. A two-putt birdie at the par-five second hole got Matteson going, and he backed it up with a nine-foot birdie putt at the third.
He added birdies at six and 10 before his first bogey of the day at the 11th, where he drove into the trees.