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Johnson continues fine Deere form

ESPN staff
July 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Zach Johnson has carded 17 consecutive rounds under 70 at TPC Deere Run © Getty Images
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John Deere Classic Leaderboard

Zach Johnson began his defence of the John Deere Classic with his 17th consecutive round under 70 at the TPC Deere Run, finishing with a seven-under-par first round score of 64.

American Johnson, who originates from the nearby Cedar Rapids, enjoyed a bogeyless visit to set the early standard along with Camilo Villegas, who also returned to the clubhouse at seven-under.

2007 Masters champion Johnson, 37, sunk four birdies in six holes on the back nine to complete a superb opening round, and believes being used to his surroundings is one of the reasons he has enjoyed recent success at the course.

"It just feels natural now," Johnson told pgatour.com. "I've gotten so used to being here that it just feels very, very comfortable now.

"When you are comfortable with the surroundings, when you're comfortable with the peripherals [it helps]. My routine has been the same here the last three or four years. We're staying in the same place. I've got my family here. The [John Deere Classic] staff does a great job of just letting me get into my game."

Brendon de Jonge, Matt Bettencourt and Daniel Summerhays all shot six-under rounds of 65, while KJ Choi found some form with a four-under 67 along with Johnson's playing partner Davis Love III.

Three-time Deere winner Steve Stricker, whose reign was ended by Johnson last year, opened proceedings with a 67 - starting his round by chipping in from 83 yards for eagle at the tenth.

Elsewhere, Vaughn Taylor and Robert Streb sit at five-under after scoring rounds of 66, along with Jim Herman.

Boo Weekley holed three consecutive birdies on the back nine to stay in contention. Brian Davis, one of only three Brits in the field, finished with a one-under-par round of 70.

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