(Reuters) – Mexico’s Roberto Diaz holed a 100-yard wedge shot for eagle at his first hole and never looked back as he fired a flawless nine-under-par 62 and grabbed a two-stroke lead after the first round at the John Deere Classic in Illinois on Thursday.
Americans Russell Henley and Adam Long were in second on 64, while Britain’s Martin Laird, who is missing his home Scottish Open this week, was among a group of six players on 65 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.
The best finisher on Sunday not already exempt for the British Open will earn the final seat on the overnight charter flight to Royal Portrush for next week’s major championship in Northern Ireland.
Neither Diaz, Henley nor Long are currently in the Open.
Diaz, in his second year on tour, posted a career-best tie for eighth at the Travelers Championship three weeks ago, and the 32-year-old stepped up his game even further on Thursday.
“Everything clicked today,” he told reporters of his round that included seven…
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