Late run sends Blanks to Deere Classic lead

Kris Blanks appears at a news conference following his 8-under round at the John Deere Classic golf tournament at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., on Thursday, July 7, 2011.

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SILVIS, Ill. — Kris Blanks birdied his final five holes Thursday to finish with an 8-under-par 63 and grab the first-round lead at the John Deere Classic.

Blanks, who played the back nine first, rolled in a 25-foot putt on No. 5 to start his late run and capped it with an 11-footer to leave him alone at the top after Canadian rookie Matt McQuillan and veteran Davis Love III had held that spot much of the day with 64s.

Another late starter, Steve Marino, also came in with a 64. Mark Wilson, who has won twice on the tour this year, and Kyle Stanley were another stroke back, while Steve Stricker, seeking his third straight title in the tournament, was part of a large group at 66.

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