The last stop on the PGA Tour prior to The Open takes us to Illinois for the John Deere Classic, the usual jaunt before the third major of the campaign. With a big event taking place in Europe this week and a major next week this isn’t the strongest field of all time but that should only make for a competitive tournament.
Bryson DeChambeau took advantage of big name absences here last year to nail his maiden PGA Tour success and he is back looking to defend the crown. A mixture of seasoned professionals and young guns will be looking to deny him.
2017 – Bryson DeChambeau
2016 – Ryan Moore
2015 – Jordan Spieth
2014 – Brian Harman
2013 – Jordan Spieth
2012 – Zach Johnson
2011 – Steve Stricker
2010 – Steve Stricker
2009 – Steve Stricker
2008 – Kenny Perry
We are back at TPC Deere Run again this week. This is a familiar course for the majority of the field as it is a tournament whereby course specialists tend to revisit and go well. The track is a par 71 and plays to a total yardage of 7,268 yards so it certainly isn’t one for the bombers necessarily.
In fact, if you look at the roll of honour it is quick to see that the tournament actually suits the ball strikers. Almost all of the winners recently have complete control of their golf ball and are either in form with the putter coming in or have shown good form with it here. I’m after quality ball strikers this week.
We really can’t get away from the fact that this isn’t the best field of the year but it does have the Quicken Loans National winner Francesco Molinari in it as well as the defending champion Bryson DeChambeau.
There are a number of former winners of the title on show this week too not least Steve Stricker, whose record around here is incredible. Zach Johnson is another man teeing it up this week who knows how to win the title, as is Ryan Moore. Young star Joaquin Niemann is also looking to emulate DeChambeau and win his first PGA Tour event here.
It is Francesco Molinari who begins the week as a 10/1 favourite. He is a completely worthy favourite too based on his form over the last couple of months but he won the Quicken Loans in a field similar to this in strength at 20/1. I’m in no rush to take half the price on him even allowing for the fact he has won that event since I struck that bet.
I have talked up Bryson DeChambeau and his chances in a lot of tournaments this year but I’m not sure I want to be on him at 12/1. I probably wouldn’t want to be too badly against him either it must be said although as a rule I don’t back defending champions anyway. To be fair if a title is to get defended it would be one like this but even so I don’t like his price much. I would prefer to get involved in Zach Johnson at the same price if I knew for sure his putter was in perfect nick. He might end up being one that gets away but c’est la vie.
Joaquin Niemann is a 16/1 shot to land his maiden title here. He has been swinging well and getting good results for a while now but he’s way too short as a result. Ryan Moore would be more to my liking at 18/1 but I never get his good putting weeks right which is a concern. Steve Stricker has a blinding record around here and at 22/1 he could well be popular. It is 25/1 bar.
It is one of those on 25/1 who is my first main bet this week. That is Kyle Stanley who I remain convinced will win another tournament soon after his near miss in The Memorial recently. Stanley is as good a ball striker as there is on this tour and his tee to green statistics this season are phenomenal. He’s no longer the mug with the putter that he used to be so based on the fact he has four top 25s here and is much better now than ever before I think he’s a runner at 25/1.
Wesley Bryan is another with a quality record around this track and he catches by eye at 40/1. Bryan has a wonderful wedge game which is important because if you find the fairways here the event turns into a pitch and putt. Putting has been where his struggles have lied over recent weeks but familiar greens might get him rolling the ball to the hole. That would make him very dangerous this week.
Scott Piercy is another who has been dialled in with the wedges this season and we know that when he gets hot with the putter anything is possible for him. He hits it a long way so holes where it helps to get it out there he will have covered. If his iron play is as precise as it has been and he can light the putter up early doors there is no reason why he should be far away at the end of the week.
Ryan Palmer is another who has good numbers with the short irons heading into this tournament and he arrives here off the back of one of his best efforts of the season so maybe the rest of his game is starting to improve as well. If Palmer keeps it in play off the tee we have seen a few times the quality he has in his approach shots. Find some putts to go on top and he could outperform his three figure price.
My last bet is on yet another man who has good numbers with the short irons this week in Blayne Barber. Barber has struggled massively with the putter this season but these small greens will hopefully sort that out. On a golf course which could get soft his precise wedge play would give him lots of chances to score. He has scored well enough recently and a slight improvement on that could have him right in the mix here.
Back K.Stanley to win John Deere Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back B.Barber to win John Deere Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back them here:
Back W.Bryan to win John Deere Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Unibet (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
Back S.Piercy to win John Deere Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back R.Palmer to win John Deere Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-7)