- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) - Zach Johnson made himself right at home in the John Deere Classic - again.

From just up the road in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the two-time major champion shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday, leaving him two strokes behind leader Andrew Loupe in the suspended first round.

“I don’t know what it is, but I love the golf course,” said Johnson, the 2012 winner at TPC Deere Run. “I love the putting surfaces. I do know the moment I feel like I can take this place down is the moment it can bite me, so I’ve still got to stay focused and keep the pedal down.”

Loupe topped the leaderboard at 8 under when play was suspended because of darkness. The tournament was delayed for 3 1/2 hours by a storm that dropped just over an inch of rain. The round resumed at 3:08 p.m., with none of the afternoon starters able to finish.

Loupe will resume play Friday with a 6-foot par putt on the par-4 15th hole. The 27-year-old former LSU player had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine and added birdies on 11, 13 and 14.

Patrick Rodgers and Ryan Moore were in at 65 with Johnson, and Tom Gillis also was 6 under with two holes left.

Johnson had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the bogey-free round that he started on the 10th tee. The 12-time PGA Tour winner capped the run on the par-5 second and also birdied the par-4 sixth.

“As far as the start and stop, we’re used to that,” Johnson said. “That’s not any secret. It happens all the time. There’s days where there’s a 30-minute delay, there’s days where, shoot, it takes 30-some odd hours to play 18 holes. I’m used to it. Relaxed a little bit, ate something, worked out a little bit, that kind of thing, just to stay loose, and then went back at it.”

Rodgers birdied the final hole for a back-nine 31.

“Today was a really solid day for me,” said Rodgers, the former Stanford star from Indiana. “I felt like I was very consistent tee to green and gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdies. My only bogey was a three-putt. My only missed green was in the fringe, so I played really solid golf. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunities to make mistakes.”

Moore eagled the par-5 17th in his opening nine, and finished with a 30-foot par save on No. 9.

“I was playing well and you hate to drop a shot on the last hole,” the four-time tour winner said. “I didn’t play the hole well by any means. I didn’t hit any good golf shots. But a good putt can save just about anything, and that’s what happened.”

Jordan Spieth chose not to defend his title because he didn’t think it would be appropriate in light of his decision to skip the Rio Olympics.

Scott Pinckney and Scott Brown shot 66, and Geoff Ogilvy and Morgan Hoffman also were 5 under. Ogilvy completed 12 holes, and Hoffman 14.

Pinckney made five straight birdies and six in a seven-hole stretch on his final nine.

“Honestly, I played good on both sides, but the putts started to drop, and I put it a little bit closer on the back side,” Pinckney said. “So, it wasn’t like all of a sudden I’m hitting it good.”

Three-time champion Steve Stricker had a 70. The 49-year-old Stricker, a former University of Illinois player from Wisconsin, won the event in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“Even after the rain, the inch of rain we got, the conditions were pretty good,” Stricker said. “I just didn’t play that sharply.”

Wesley Bryan has 2 under with eight holes left. He won his third Web.com Tour title of the season last week in Kansas to earn an immediate PGA Tour promotion.

NCAA champion Aaron Wise was 1 under after seven holes in his PGA Tour debut as a pro. The former Oregon player won a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada event two weeks ago in Edmonton, Alberta.

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