Troy Matteson thrives at tournaments where going low is a requisite for survival. He did just that on Thursday at the John Deere Classic, shooting 10-under 61 at TPC Deere Run to take the first-round lead by three shots.
"We like making birdies," he said. "I know the fans love seeing birdies, they love seeing eagles, they like seeing guys go for it and knock it close. This golf course is about that."
For Matteson, 61 is a special number. It is the score of his three career-low rounds on the PGA Tour. The other pair of 61s in the second and third rounds of the 2009 Frys.com Open en route to victory. In the process, he set the PGA Tour record for the lowest consecutive rounds in a tournament.
Matteson thought a low round was possible on Thursday, but expected the three-time defending champion to produce it.
"(My caddie and I) saw a guy (Ricky Barnes) with 7 under on the leaderboard and we said, 'Gosh, why is it only 7 under?'" he said. "Then we saw Steve Stricker on the range and figured he was in the afternoon wave so we figured the low one was still coming. We just didn't know it would be us."