Howell, Schniederjans shoot 63 to share John Deere lead

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) Charles Howell III and Ollie Schniederjans each shot 8-under 63 in perfect morning conditions Thursday to share the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.

Howell birdied seven his first nine holes and added a birdie on No. 7 at rain-softened TPC Deere Run. The two-time PGA Tour winner lost a playoff to Kyle Stanley two weeks ago in the Quicken Loans National.

Schniederjans birdied five of his last eight holes in his lowest round of the PGA Tour. He earned a PGA Tour card last year through the Web.com Tour.

Local favorite Zach Johnson was two strokes back at 65 along with Rory Sabbatini, Patrick Rodgers and Chad Campbell. Johnson, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the 2012 tournament.

Bubba Wastson, the two-time Masters winner making his first Quad Cities start in seven years, opened with a 69. Fifty-year-old Steve Stricker, the winner from 2009-11 at Deere Run, had a 73.

Defending champion Ryan Moore had a 74 in his return from strained tendon in his left shoulder that sidelined him for five weeks.

The British Open is holding one spot for the leading player among the top five who is not already exempt next week at Royal Birkdale.

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