Kris Blanks sits on top of leaderboard at John Deere Classic

BY DI STAFF | JULY 08, 2011 7:20 AM

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Round one of the John Deere Classic began Thursday at the TPC Deere Run golf course in Silvis, Ill.

Kris Blanks finished the day atop the leaderboard with a 8-under 63, and three golfers finished with 7-under 64s.

Two-time defending John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker carded a 66, and he is tied with several other golfers for seventh. The American’s performance in the opening round wasn’t as good as last year’s, when he wowed those in attendance with a 11-under 60.

Cedar Rapids native Zach Johnson had a solid first day on the course. The Hawkeye fan wore a black-and-gold ensemble in honor of the tournament’s <a href= “http://bit.ly/oo4XSX”>University of Iowa Day</a> and finished the round 5 under.

Four golfers withdrew from the tournament on day one.

A pair of golfers withdrew after signing their scorecards. George McNeill bowed out after carding a 76, and Scott Verplank withdrew after he shot a 78.

Verplank didn’t given an explanation for his early exit.

David Toms was 1 over through nine holes when he was forced out of competition with a hip injury. He said on Wednesday that his hip was bothering him, but his injury will likely keep him out of next week’s British Open. The Monroe, La., native’s first career PGA win was at the John Deere Classic — then named the Quad City Classic — in 1997.

Robert Garrigus also left TPC Deere Run early. Garrigus was 5 over through nine holes when a back injury resulted in his departure.

Check dailyiowan.com all weekend for live day-by-day recaps and reactions from golfers at the John Deere Classic.

— by Ben Schuff

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