sport

Duo share lead in Illinois

William McGirt and Zach Johnson are tied at the top of a tight leaderboard at the halfway point of the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

McGirt carded a round of 66 and Johnson signed for a 67 on Friday to end the day on 12-under-par for the tournament, one shot clear of the trio of Steven Bowditch, Johnson Wagner and Brian Harman.

McGirt had a less than ideal start to his round after starting from the 10th and was one over for the day through six holes, but got back on track with a run of seven birdies in 10 holes from the 17th.

"I love being in this position because you can go about your business and nobody really knows who you are," he told the PGA Tour's official website.

"You can go to dinner, and people ask, 'are you a golfer? What's your name?'

"I like to go out, play golf, have a few beers and watch a football game. Nothing flashy about me. Nothing that stands out. I'm just like everybody in this room, like everybody out at this tournament.

"I didn't grow up very well off. I've never been the most talented guy out here. I've had to work for everything I have gotten. Everything I have gotten out of the game, I have pretty much earned through hard work. That's just me in a nutshell."

But he added: "You play well, people are going to follow you. It's something you kind of have to thrive on. I mean, if you can't deal with it, you're in the wrong profession."

Former Masters champion Johnson, who also shared the lead after the opening round, picked up seven birdies on Friday while bogeys on the third, 15th and 18th holes meant he could not move clear at the top of the leaderboard.

Australian Bowditch (67) was a shot off the pace in a tie for third along with Americans Wagner (65) and Harman (68).

Three-time former champion Steve Stricker (65), 2004 Open champion Todd Hamilton (69), Ryan Moore (67) and Rory Sabbatini (70) were three strokes behind the leaders.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, playing alongside Stricker, got firmly back in the hunt as he followed a first round of 71 with a seven-under-par 64.

Charles Howell III, meanwhile, made his sixth career hole in one with a gap wedge from 132 yards at the par-three third en route to a round of 68 which left him eight under overall.