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Stricker jumps into contention

STEVE Stricker vaulted into second place at the John Deere Classic in Illinois by tying a course record and matching the lowest score of his career with a 10-under 61 that left him three strokes behind Darron Stiles on Saturday.

Stiles (65), the first-round co-leader with Lee Janzen, remained on top at 13-under 129 through two rounds.

Stricker assaulted a course that was battered the previous day by the second big rain storm of the week, causing the second round to be pushed back. By the time he was through, he was at 10 under for the tournament after matching a record set by 2002 champion J.P. Hayes. That put him in contention for his sixth US PGA Tour victory and second this year heading into the final two rounds.

"I didn't see it coming," Stricker said. "I warmed up very poorly on the range this morning. I spent some time out here yesterday later in the day and putted a lot and found a little catch there in my putting. I wasn't very aggressive at times."

Tim Petrovic (67) and Jerry Kelly (64) were right behind Stricker at 9-under, and two-time US Open champion Janzen (70) was in a crowd at 8-under. Kenny Perry (68) was 6-under, with Zach Johnson (68) 5-under.


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