By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
SILVIS, Ill. — Luke Guthrie has simple plans for the weekend.
"Go low," he said. "Make birdies."
Should he do that, the Quincy native might add a significant accomplishment to his burgeoning PGA Tour resume.
Despite a couple of hiccups Friday in the second round of the John Deere Classic, including one he characterized as a "rookie mistake," Guthrie is in prime position for a top-10 finish after shooting a 3-under 68 to move to 9-under 133 overall with 36 holes remaining.
"I'm going to approach it the same way — play my game and hopefully give myself chances if the putter feels good," said Guthrie, who is 2 for 2 in cuts made in PGA events. "Hopefully get that thing hot and rolling them in."
Guthrie is among a group of seven golfers tied for 11th, four strokes behind Troy Matteson. The 36-hole leader followed up his 10-under 61 with a 3-under 68 and gave the rest of the field a chance to stay in the chase.
Truthfully, that's all Guthrie wanted.
"I'm going to have to play a heck of a weekend, but I know I have it in me," Guthrie said. "I can't wait for the challenge."
More steady play afforded Guthrie this opportunity.
He played the first 11 holes without a bogey, running his streak of bogey-free holes to 29 before three-putting No. 3. He found 14 of 18 greens in regulation and has hit 30 of 36 GIR in the tournament.
"Two solid days," said Guthrie, who will tee off at 11:48 a.m. today in a pairing with 2006 JDC champion John Senden.
The difference was on the greens. Guthrie had eight par putts of less than 2 feet during his opening-round 6-under 65. Friday, he had only three par putts inside 2 feet.
"If I can consistently knock it a little closer on the weekend, I think I can be right there," Guthrie said.
It helps, too, to be able to make big putts.
After opening the round with four consecutive pars, Guthrie brought a large gallery on "Illinois day" to life when he rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 14. He followed it up by draining a 39-footer for birdie on the 15th.
Three more pars allowed Guthrie to make the turn at 2-under — the same score he posted on the back nine Thursday — and he started the front nine steady and solid. After a par at No. 1, he missed the green with his second shot at the par-5 second, only to chip to within 6 feet and make the birdie putt.
That's when the bogey-free streak ended.
Guthrie hit the green with his tee shot on par-3 third, but left with a 50-footer for birdie, he got overly aggressive and ran the putt 15 feet past the hole.
"It was a lack of concentration," Guthrie said. "It was the one shot of the day that I kind of lost it for a second. Unacceptable."
Guthrie's comebacker for par went 2 feet past the hole and ended up with a bogey.
He didn't let it faze him. A par at No. 4 led to back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 as Guthrie reached double digits at 10-under par. Another par followed at the par-3 seventh, but that's when Guthrie's threesome was put on the clock for slow play.
In response, Guthrie raced to the eighth tee box and hurriedly hit his drive. It ended up missing the fairway to the right, and he was forced to punch a shot only about 80 yards back into the fairway.
That was the rookie mistake.
"I just ran up there and slapped it," Guthrie said of the tee shot. "I hit my worst drive of the day. I should know better than that. So that's disappointing. I took my medicine."
The bogey dropped him back to 9-under.
"I feel like I was a little sloppier than (Thursday)," Guthrie said. "I left a few out there."
If he picks those up this weekend, anything is possible.