SILVIS, Ill. --- Kenny Perry takes pride in his ability to absorb shots and bury them. And he's been doing plenty of both lately.
While others wonder why he's skipping majors, Perry's enjoying one of his best runs in more than two decades on the PGA Tour. That trend continued Thursday, when he fired 6-under-par 65 in the first round of the John Deere Classic.
Perry chose not to try qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he won't be heading to the British Open next week. Instead, he'll play a secondary event in Milwaukee.
"I've been getting hammered for it," Perry said. "I'm proud of myself to be able to push that aside and go out there and shoot good scores."
The 47-year-old Perry is right behind Ken Duke and Charlie Wi in a tie for third after winning two events in June. Woody Austin was in a group at 5-under, with 2007 Masters Tournament champion Zach Johnson five strokes behind the leaders.
Evans' Vaughn Taylor, seeking his first top 10 since January, is tied for 29th after 68.
Former Louisville, Ga., resident Brian Gay shot 72, Augusta State alum Richard Johnson had 74 and Augusta native Larry Mize shot 76.
Play was delayed twice because of lightning in the area.
SCOTTISH OPEN: In Luss, Scotland, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els failed to break par in the first round of the Scottish Open, while Alexander Noren and Thongchai Jaidee shared the lead at 7-under-par 64.
Angel Cabrera, the 2007 U.S. Open champ, was third with 65.
Mickelson (71) and Els (72) were returning from three-week layoffs.
Augusta State alum Gary Murphy is tied for 19th after 68. Fellow former Jaguar Oliver Wilson (71) stands tied for 77th.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Bridge-port, W.Va., Augusta's Scott Parel fired 5-under-par 67 for a fifth-place tie after the first round of the Nationwide Tour Players Cup.
Leader Rick Price was 8-under through 12 holes en route to 64.