SILVIS, Ill. (AP) Nathan Green returned to the United States on Monday in a better frame of mind and, apparently, with a better golf game. Three weeks relaxing back home in Australia was just what he needed.
He went to the course for some "social" golf but didn't practice. He played soccer "against my manager's wishes."
More than anything, he cleared his mind.
"I just put my feet up and didn't really do that much the whole time," Green said.
He's doing plenty at the Deere Classic.
While Masters champion Zach Johnson missed the cut, Green shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead over Jason Dufner (66) and Carl Pettersson (64). First-round leader Neal Lancaster (68) was two strokes back.
Johnson shot an even-par 71 for a 36-hole total of 141 and missed the cut by a stroke, leaving the event without its main attraction.
Green, seeking his first tour victory, grabbed the lead on 17 when he knocked in a 4-foot putt for birdie his eighth of the day to reach 12 under.
"I was just happy to be playing golf again," said Green, who had not played since missing the cut in the U.S. Open. "Before I went home, the U.S. Open was my last event and I was frustrated and stressed out and not really enjoying playing. That was the reason for the break."
The 63 was his lowest round in a PGA Tour event and it made him a second-round leader for the first time. Now, he's trying to become the 19th player to earn his first tour victory at the Deere.
With many of the top players overseas preparing for next week's British Open, the Deere Classic attracts unknowns and faded stars. One exception was Johnson, a two-time winner this year and the man with the green jacket.
Also missing the cut were Lee Janzen (even), John Daly (6 over) and defending champion John Senden of Australia (7 over).
Johnson ended the round with a flourish, sending a 153-yard approach within a few feet of the cup to set up a birdie on the par-4 18th. But overall, this was not a good week.
He'll try to shake it off in time for the British Open.
"I've just got to get back to where I was mid, early spring and trust in that and see where that takes me," he said. "I don't feel like it's that far off."