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Thompson grabs lead at PGA John Deere Classic with sizzling 62

American Davis Thompson fired a nine-under par 62 to grab the lead after the third round of the PGA John Deere Classic (Dylan Buell)
American Davis Thompson fired a nine-under par 62 to grab the lead after the third round of the PGA John Deere Classic (Dylan Buell)

Davis Thompson fired a bogey-free nine-under par 62 to seize a two-stroke lead after Saturday's third round of the PGA Tour John Deere Classic.

Thompson birdied five of the first eight holes and four of the final seven to finish 54 holes on 21-under 192 and equal his low PGA Tour round at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

"I feel like I'm hitting the shots I want off the tee, which is just freeing up my iron game and helping me hit a lot of greens and get a lot of good looks," Thompson said.

"They have been going in this week so hopefully we can keep that going."

Sharing second on 194 were England's Aaron Rai, who fired a 66, and American Eric Cole, who shot 64.

Taiwan's C.T. Pan, who captured Tokyo Olympic bronze, and American Hayden Springer, who fired a 59 on Thursday, shared fourth on 196 with 20-year-old amateur Luke Clanton and fellow Americans JJ Spaun and Michael Thorbjornsen another stroke adrift.

"The guys behind me are playing really well," Thompson said. "I know it's going to be tough to finish off a golf tournament but I've done it before and I've just got to stay present-minded and just try and execute good golf shots."

The 26-year-old American is a three-time PGA runner-up in his second campaign, having finished second last week in Detroit, in May at Myrtle Beach and last year in the California desert.

"It's hard not to let your mind wander," Thompson said. "But I've just got to put one foot in from of the other. Just got to play well tomorrow."

Rai, seeking his first PGA title, had a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Detroit but couldn't close out a victory.

Cole, 36, was last season's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year but has yet to win a tour title.

World number 70 Thompson charged his way into the lead with birdies on five of the first eight holes, taking the lead on 17-under with a 15-foot birdie putt at the eighth.

Thompson opened with back-to-back birdies and added two more at five and six. He made a birdie putt from just outside 24 feet at the first and holed out a bunker shot from 34 feet at the fifth.

At the par-3 12th, Thompson landed his tee shot inches from the hole and tapped in for birdie to launch of run of three consecutive birdies, including one from just inside 15 feet at 13 and a tap-in at 14 after his approach landed inches from the hole to reach 20-under and lead by three.

Thompson added a birdie putt from just inside nine feet at the par-5 17th and parred the last.

Clanton hoped to become the second amateur to win a PGA title this year after compatriot Nick Dunlap.

"It's hard to even think about it," Clanton said of being in the hunt. "It's pretty surreal. Play a good round tomorrow and maybe something cool could happen."

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