SILVIS (WCIA) — The only annual PGA tour stop in Illinois rolls through the Quad Cities this weekend. The John Deere Classic returns to TPC Deere Run in Silvis, with several area players in the field.
Coming off his appearance in the U.S. Open, Mahomet resident Luke Gannon received a sponsor’s invite, playing at the JDC for the second straight year after Monday qualifying last year. He taps in for par on 17. The SIUC grad makes the turn on 18 and is just inches away from draining the birdie putt, cards a four over 75.
Meanwhile former Illini D.A. points not too far from his hometown of Pekin, the three time PGA tour winner finishes up his first round with a par carding a four-over 75.
Several Illini fans were in attendance to see the orange and blue headliner Nick Hardy, after a double bogey on the par three 16th, Hardy finishes strong with a birdie on 17. He follows it up on the tough par four 18th with a long birdie putt and he pours it in. This one from 20 feet, five inches away to get back to even par 71 in his opening round.
A small wrist wrap is all that remains of an April wrist injury for Nick Hardy. The former Illini All-American is pain-free and playing the best golf of his career after not touching a club for a month.
“I’ve been playing great, just happy with how I’m playing, how I’m competing and going to try and keep continuing that,” Nick Hardy said.
The rest and recovery are paying dividends with Hardy full of confidence teeing it up in his third John Deere Classic. The Northbrook native had an up and down opening round carding an even par 71, but finished with five birdies including back-to-back to finish.
“I told myself just dig deep, I know how big that finish was for tomorrow, that was huge and I’m really proud of that finish,” Hardy said.
Hardy is coming off his best finish on the PGA Tour, tying for 8th at the Travelers last week. A Top 20 finish at the U.S. Open before fueled the 26-year old who is looking to make a late splash heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in August. Hardy started the week ranked 137th, only the Top 125 make the cut.
“The playoffs is everything so that’s why I still need some quality finishes,” Hardy said. “I need a lot of good quality finishes or at least one really good one so it’s all about focusing on that.”
That continues Friday for Hardy, who will need to make birdies to make his fourth straight cut.