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John Deere Classic: Aaron Rai makes five birdies in the back nine to take a share of lead

Aaron Rai


England’s Aaron Rai made five birdies in his back nine to lift himself into a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

Rai moved to 14 under par alongside Chinese Taipei’s CT Pan, while two birdies in the last three holes left fellow Englishman Harry Hall a shot off the pace.

First-round leader Hayden Springer, who shot a 59 in the opening round, was in a group one shot further back.

Rai said his current run of form was down to extra work he was putting in on the greens.

He finished one shot off the lead at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.

“A couple of weeks ago I spent quite a while on the green,” he said. “My dad gave me a couple tips. Started working with John Graham last week, as well, a putting coach who is based out here.

“Putting all that together has definitely translated to on the course.”

Pan said he was happy with his efforts having had a bad night’s sleep following discussions over arrangements for his appearance at the Olympics later this month.

“I had a really serious conversation with my Olympic committee just trying to figure out all the arrangements,” said the bronze medallist from Tokyo. “Did not go well. I can tell you that. I didn’t sleep well.

“That’s the biggest event for my country and myself, also. And it would be really cool to play well at an event that only happens once every four years.”



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