SILVIS – Zach Johnson was 11 feet from the cup on the par-5 10th hole during the second round of the John Deere Classic, and had a decision to make.
His ball was sitting on the fringe of the green, and he wasn't sure what club to use. He took a few practice strokes with his putter, didn't like what he saw, and reached into his bag.
"Probably three or four options there," Johnson said of his club choice. "I just kind of went through the process of trying to figure out which one was going to leave me the best opportunity to make a 5."
Johnson traded in his putter for a fairway hybrid, and was able to punch it into the cup for a birdie.
"It's one of those [shots] where I feel like I can use any sort of wedge, a normal chip shot, you can flub it pretty easily," he said.
Johnson's birdie on 10 was one of seven during his round, against three bogeys. He finished the day tied for first at 12-under with early clubhouse leader William McGirt. Johnson had a chance to take sole possession of the lead on 18, but he left his putt short, to the dismay of the large crowd.
Three others, Steven Bowditch, Johnson Wagner, and Brian Harman, are tied for second at 11-under par.
It was a good day for golf, as the wind was relatively calm throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Rain showers sprinkled the course in the late afternoon, but nothing got too wet.
McGirt, the clubhouse leader until Johnson finished, teed off on the back nine at 9 a.m. to start his second round. He made his move on the front nine with four straight birdies, followed by two pars. He added another two birdies, before making bogey on the ninth to finish with a 66.
McGirt, ranked 181st in the world, said this was one of the best back-to-back rounds he has put together in his career.
"Who knows," he said when asked where his rounds came from. "I wish they'd show up more often."
His play has been spotty, and it was almost a surprise to him that he was able to string together consecutive solid rounds of golf.
"I feel like I've been playing really well the last month, and been getting nothing out of it," McGirt said. "I hit it great last week, and you could have put a garbage can out there, and I would have found a way to miss. It's a stupid game, it really is."
Johnson hasn't played with McGirt before, but the two head into the weekend tied.
"Obviously he's a very solid player, great guy," Johnson said.
Last year's winner, Jordan Spieth, had a bit of a redemption Friday when he carded a 7-under 64 to place him 7-under overall. The 20-year-old was disappointed with his play during Thursday's opening round. Through 15 holes on Thursday, he was 2-over, but a strong finish with two birdies and a par helped him finish at even-par.
That final flourish might have lent him some confidence that carried over to Friday's second round, and he hopes to be able to stretch it out over the weekend.
"I took that momentum into today, and I'd like to think that it's something that I can carry over through the next rounds," Spieth said.
Fulton native Aaron Krueger missed the cut with a two-round total of 151. The cut was at 140. Krueger carded a 6-over 77 Friday and shot a 3-over 74 Thursday.