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PGA TOUR: Landry goes into weekend tied for second, Stroud 11th at John Deere

As the birdies kept falling in the John Deere Classic Friday for Southeast Texas’ two favorite sons on the PGA Tour, Golf Channel’s Andrew Catalon was moved to throw out a Pea Patch reference.

“Two of the best rounds on the course right now belong to Andrew Landry and Chris Stroud,” Catalon said. “They grew up in Groves, Texas, next to a now-closed course called the Pea Patch. Andrew actually shot a 58 there.”

Landry at the time was 7 under par through 12 holes and tied for the lead with Jhonattan Vegas. Stroud stood five under through 10 holes and was tied for seventh. It was the first time the PNG duo had ever been in the top 10 at the same time that late in a tournament.

When play concluded for the day, Landry signed off on his second consecutive 6-under 65 and was one shot back of Vegas’ leading 129. Vegas fired a 62 on Friday. Landry will be in Saturday’s final pairing, with TV coverage from noon to 1:45 p.m. on Golf Channel and from 2 p.m. to conclusion on CBS (KFDM-6).

Stroud, meanwhile, posted a 66 and moved up 31 places into a tie for 11th at 134. In so doing, he snapped a string of nine consecutive tournaments without getting past the 36-hole cut. What was his eighth straight round in the 60s at TPC Deere Run put Stroud in position to wrap up his PGA Tour card for next year with a solid weekend showing.

There is the usual crowd at the top of the leaderboard. Behind Vegas and Landry, Lucas Glover, boosted by a double eagle (albatross), was in at 131.

After him, there were five players at 132 and two more at 133.

Landry, whose best finish in a full field event this season is T28, was as sharp as back-to-back 65s would indicate. Playing the back nine first, he dropped birdies at 11 (4 feet, 5 inches), 13 (18-0), 14 (5-5), 17 (11-7), 1 (9-4), 2 (4 inches) and 3 (19-3) before making his first and only bogey of the week at 6.

Twice when tied with Vegas he narrowly missed birdies to take the outright lead. On the eighth (his 17th of the day), his birdie bid to get back into a tie stopped one roll short of falling.

Through 36 holes Landry is tied for fifth in birdies (13), fifth in strokes gained tee to green, T8 in greens hit in regulation (29), T12 in fairways hit (23 of 28) and ninth in strokes gained putting. On his final hole, the 498-yard, ninth, which has been the toughest in the tournament, he uncorked a 337-yard drive to help set up a closing par.

Stroud, who was two groups behind Landry, started his birdie barrage with a birdie 2 from 19 inches on the 205-yard par 3, 12th. He followed up from 13-10 on 13, from 22-2 on 14, sank a bomb from 54-6 on 16 and rolled in a 12-footer on 17. His final birdie came from 26-9 on the No. 8.

All total, he buried 130 feet of birdie putts and had par saves from 9-10 and 10-4. Not surprisingly, he’s No. 4 in strokes gained putting. He’s also T3 in scrambling. The warning sign for the weekend is he’s T80 in driving accuracy and T51 in greens in regulation.

Lamar ex Shawn Stefani, who is also battling to secure his PGA Tour card for next year, shot a 69 for 139 to make the cut on the number.