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Stricker lurks as Matteson stays in front

ESPN staff
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Steve Stricker plays an iron shot © Getty Images
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Steve Stricker remained on course to defend his John Deere Classic title for a third time as he lurks three shots off the pace in Illinois.

Despite picking up a bogey at the 11th, Stricker, who started his round on the back nine, compensated for a slow start with five birdies to sign for a 67.

Troy Matteson continues to lead the way at TPC Deere Run after the American carded a 68 on Friday. Matteson failed to replicate his sparkling opening round 61, but had enough in reserve to fend off Brian Harman and Jeff Maggert, who birdied the final hole to finish on 12-under.

Ricky Barnes threatened to snatch the lead late on Friday when he moved within one shot of Matteson with a sparkling eagle, but he slipped back to 11-under following a bogey after finding the bunker with his approach at the 18th.

Barnes sits in a tie for third alongside compatriot JJ Henry and England's Gary Christian, who remains in contention to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory after his second round 66 moved him within two shots of the lead.

Playing in his first season on the PGA Tour at the age 40, Christian saw his challenge pick up pace with an eagle at the second. Another four birdies and a solitary bogey moved him to 11 under.

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