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Perry joins leaders at tight John Deere

• Francis forging ahead at John Deere

By ANDREW SELIGMAN
Associated Press

SILVIS, Ill. — Kenny Perry can’t figure it out, either.

The new putter? That seems to be helping. His surgically repaired knee? It feels fine, after he rushed back two years ago.

New equipment and better health aside, he can’t explain why he’s playing this well.

“If I knew the answer, I’d have done this 20 years ago,” Perry said. “It’s just going my way right now.”

Perry finished with a flourish to move into a three-way tie for the lead through three rounds at the John Deere Classic on Saturday.

Perry, seeking his third victory in five starts, birdied the 18th hole to finish at 4-under 67 for the day and 15-under 198 for the tournament. That tied him with Eric Axley (67) and Brad Adamonis (66), who at 35 is the PGA Tour’s oldest rookie.

Jay Williamson (62) and second-round leader Will MacKenzie (70) were one stroke back.

Perry was at 15-under after sinking a nine-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th before finding trouble on the 15th, hitting rough off the tee and two-putting from nine feet for a bogey. But he made up for it on the 18th, when his approach nearly hit the pin before settling a bit less than 6 feet to its left.

That drew cheers from the crowd and even a “You the man!” from one spectator. Perry then buried the putt to complete the birdie on the par-4 hole and pull even with Axley and Adamonis.

“They may have some anxiety,” Perry said. “I’m not. I’m very relaxed. I’m enjoying the ride, I’m enjoying the walk. If it goes my way, great. If it doesn’t, I really don’t worry too much about it. It’s been awesome how I’ve played this year. It’s been so much fun.”

Axley won the Valero Texas Open in 2006, while Adamonis is seeking his first victory. Now, they’re at the top of a jammed leaderboard with Perry.

“I’m just not really going to pay attention to it,” Adamonis said.

Axley said: “I think it’s going to take a lot of birdies tomorrow. … If somebody makes more than me, then I did the best I can do.”

The 41-year-old Williamson converted eight plus an eagle while making the biggest move with a 9-under round.

Five strokes off the lead when the day began, he jumped into contention for his first PGA Tour win with a strong start and an astounding 29 (7 under) on the back nine.

He started his big move on the par-5 10th hole, when his 112-yard approach dropped into the cup. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 13-under, and ended the round with a 26-foot birdie putt.

Williamson pumped his fist and left the course tied for first. Although the lead didn’t last, he certainly is in a better mood than when he was after he arrived on Tuesday. He saw that he is 158th in the FedEx Cup standings and cringed.

“It frustrated me, and it also was a kick in the pants,” he said. “Again, I haven’t done anything yet. … The fact of the matter is I’ve got to go out tomorrow and perform.”

Which is exactly what Perry’s been doing lately.

His best run in more than two decades on the Tour began with a playoff loss at the AT&T Classic in May and continued with victories at the Memorial and Buick Open last month, giving him four top-six finishes in six starts. After a week off, he’s in position for his 12th win.

“I feel comfortable, let me put it that way,” Perry said. “I’m not nervous. I’m very relaxed. I’m staying in the present better than I ever have. I’m not looking ahead, thinking I can win the golf tournament. If I stay in the zone … the wins will come.”

Perry has raised eyebrows in recent weeks by deciding not to try to qualify for the U.S. Open and honoring a commitment to play in Milwaukee next week rather than go to the British Open. The Kentucky native is focusing on a different major accomplishment: Helping the U.S. win the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville.

“He’s made a commitment to this Tour because he knows that this Tour has put him where he is, and I think other guys need to take a look at what he’s doing because he’s taken a lot of heat for that,” Williamson said. “He’s a guy that really values what the Tour means to him.”

While Williamson made a big leap toward the top, 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson made a big move the other way.

He shot 4-over 75 for the day and was at 1 under for the tournament after bogeying four holes and double-bogeying the par-4 ninth.

“Very disappointing,” said Johnson, who grew up just over an hour away in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He insisted his left wrist was fine after missing three weeks with tendinitis but was at a loss to explain another tough round at what he considers his home tournament.

“I don’t know what it was,” said Johnson, who has never finished higher than 20th here..

Scores with relation to par from the third round of the John DeereClassic, played July 12 at the par-71, 7,257-yard TPC Deere Run inSilvis, Ill. (Note: a-amateur):

1. Eric Axley 65-66-67–198

-15 1. Brad Adamonis 66-66-66–198

-15 1. Kenny Perry 65-66-67–198

-15 4. Jay Williamson 69-68-62–199

-14 4. Will MacKenzie 65-64-70–199

-14 6. J.P. Hayes 67-68-65–200

-13 6. Charlie Wi 64-67-69–200

-13 8. Tim Clark 70-67-64–201

-12 8. Chad Campbell 67-67-67–201

-12 8. Scott Sterling 67-67-67–201

-12 11. a-Philip Francis 67-71-64–202

-11 12. Woody Austin 66-71-66–203

-10 12. Todd Hamilton 69-68-66–203

-10 12. Kevin Sutherland 68-68-67–203

-10 12. Bubba Watson 70-68-65–203

-10 12. Chez Reavie 67-68-68–203

-10 12. John Riegger 68-67-68–203

-10 12. Jeff Overton 67-68-68–203

-10 12. Jerry Kelly 67-72-64–203

-10 12. Aaron Baddeley 71-64-68–203

-10 12. Harrison Frazar 69-65-69–203

-10 22. Bob Tway 73-64-67–204

-9 22. Kirk Triplett 68-67-69–204

-9 22. Vaughn Taylor 68-67-69–204

-9 22. Jeff Gove 66-68-70–204

-9 22. Craig Kanada 74-65-65–204

-9 27. Jesper Parnevik 69-69-67–205

-8 27. Rich Beem 68-68-69–205

-8 27. Nicholas Thompson 67-68-70–205

-8 27. Jason Day 71-67-67–205

-8 27. Garrett Willis 65-70-70–205

-8 27. Tim Petrovic 69-66-70–205

-8 27. Jin Park 70-69-66–205

-8 27. Lee Janzen 72-67-66–205

-8 35. Billy Mayfair 70-67-69–206

-7 35. Nathan Green 71-66-69–206

-7 35. David Lutterus 68-70-68–206

-7 35. Jonathan Byrd 67-68-71–206

-7 35. Bart Bryant 69-70-67–206

-7 35. Brian Davis 67-66-73–206

-7 41. Joe Ogilvie 69-68-70–207

-6 41. Martin Laird 72-65-70–207

-6 41. Brian Gay 72-66-69–207

-6 41. Andrew Buckle 72-66-69–207

-6 41. Pat Perez 67-68-72–207

-6 41. Patrick Sheehan 66-68-73–207

-6 47. Paul Claxton 68-69-71–208

-5 47. Chris Riley 66-71-71–208

-5 47. Nick Flanagan 69-68-71–208

-5 47. Michael Letzig 70-68-70–208

-5 47. Bob Sowards 69-66-73–208

-5 47. Chris Stroud 69-70-69–208

-5 47. Shane Bertsch 69-70-69–208

-5 47. Cameron Beckman 66-73-69–208

-5 55. a-Jamie Lovemark 70-66-73–209

-4 55. Ken Duke 64-72-73–209

-4 55. Gavin Coles 68-70-71–209

-4 55. Jon Mills 68-70-71–209

-4 55. Steve Marino 69-70-70–209

-4 55. Jim McGovern 70-69-70–209

-4 55. Kent Jones 67-72-70–209

-4 62. Marco Dawson 68-70-72–210

-3 62. Ted Purdy 70-67-73–210

-3 62. Chad Collins 69-70-71–210

-3 62. Ron Whittaker 70-69-71–210

-3 66. Heath Slocum 69-69-73–211

-2 66. Dean Wilson 68-67-76–211

-2 66. Glen Day 70-69-72–211

-2 69. Zach Johnson 69-68-75–212

-1 69. Ryan Armour 66-72-74–212

-1 69. Tag Ridings 70-68-74–212

-1 69. Dan Forsman 69-69-74–212

-1 69. Parker McLachlin 72-67-73–212

-1 69. Scott McCarron 71-68-73–212

-1 69. Mark Wilson 71-68-73–212

-1 76. Ryan Moore 68-71-74–213

E • • •

Missed the cut

77. Matt Kuchar 68-72–140

-2 77. J.B. Holmes 72-68–140

-2 77. Brad Elder 69-71–140

-2 77. Steve Allan 70-70–140

-2 77. Kenneth Ferrie 73-67–140

-2 77. Justin Bolli 70-70–140

-2 77. Marc Turnesa 71-69–140

-2 77. Jason Dufner 70-70–140

-2 77. Dustin Johnson 71-69–140

-2 77. Deane Pappas 70-70–140

-2 77. Michael Bradley 66-74–140

-2 77. Mark Brooks 70-70–140

-2 77. Olin Browne 70-70–140

-2 77. John Senden 72-68–140

-2 77. Tom Lehman 67-73–140

-2 77. Tommy Gainey 73-67–140

-2 93. Johnson Wagner 71-70–141

-1 93. Nick Watney 72-69–141

-1 93. David Duval 69-72–141

-1 93. Omar Uresti 72-69–141

-1 93. Sean O'Hair 73-68–141

-1 93. Charley Hoffman 71-70–141

-1 93. Troy Matteson 77-64–141

-1 93. Lucas Glover 70-71–141

-1 93. Todd Demsey 72-69–141

-1 102. John Morse 70-72–142

E 102. Jimmy Walker 72-70–142

E 102. John Huston 69-73–142

E 102. Mathias Gronberg 70-72–142

E 102. James Driscoll 75-67–142

E 102. Charles Warren 73-69–142

E 102. Jay Delsing 71-71–142

E 102. Dicky Pride 71-71–142

E 102. Tom Byrum 69-73–142

E 102. Y.E. Yang 70-72–142

E 112. Jason Gore 72-71–143
+ 1 112. D.J. Trahan 70-73–143
+ 1 112. Mark Calcavecchia 68-75–143
+ 1 112. Kevin Na 73-70–143
+ 1 112. John Merrick 71-72–143
+ 1 112. Paul Stankowski 73-70–143
+ 1 112. Jason Knutzon 71-72–143
+ 1 112. Ben Crane 72-71–143
+ 1 112. Brandt Jobe 74-69–143
+ 1 112. Matt Jones 74-69–143
+ 1 112. Jason Allred 73-70–143
+ 1 112. Travis Perkins 71-72–143
+ 1 124. Brenden Pappas 71-73–144
+ 2 124. George McNeill 70-74–144
+ 2 124. Bill Haas 75-69–144
+ 2 124. Richard Johnson 74-70–144
+ 2 124. Webb Simpson 71-73–144
+ 2 124. Carlos Franco 72-72–144
+ 2 124. J.J. Henry 71-73–144
+ 2 124. Richard S. Johnson 71-73–144
+ 2 124. Doug LaBelle II 74-70–144
+ 2 133. Robert Damron 73-72–145
+ 3 133. Shigeki Maruyama 68-77–145
+ 3 133. Peter Lonard 68-77–145
+ 3 133. Bob Heintz 68-77–145
+ 3 133. J.T. Kohut 73-72–145
+ 3 133. Kyle Thompson 69-76–145
+ 3 139. Larry Mize 76-70–146
+ 4 139. Len Mattiace 74-72–146
+ 4 139. J.L. Lewis 73-73–146
+ 4 139. a-Ryan Brehm 74-72–146
+ 4 139. Robert Gamez 71-75–146
+ 4 139. Mark Hensby 72-74–146
+ 4 139. Brady Schnell 71-75–146
+ 4 146. Brent Geiberger 77-70–147
+ 5 147. Cody Freeman 74-74–148
+ 6 147. Neal Lancaster 74-74–148
+ 6 149. Sean McCarty 76-73–149
+ 7 149. Tim Herron 78-71–149
+ 7 149. Tom Scherrer 75-74–149
+ 7 152. Carl Pettersson 73-77–150
+ 8 152. Chad Proehl 78-72–150
+ 8 154. Ryan Palmer 78-74–152
+ 10 155. Brian Carroll 78-76–154
+ 12 DQ. Frank Lickliter II

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