The PGA Tour moves on to the TPC Deere Run for the John Deere Classic, the same site which has hosted this event since 2000. The Course has been designed by former PGA Tour professional, D.A Weibring and runs along the Rock River. The Course has Oak trees lining it for the most part with ponds and some deep ravines adding character.
This is a course that plays easy. There are more birdies hit on this course than on any other event on the tour. Combine that with a relatively shallow field and you have a situation where almost anyone can win.
Not a long course, the TPC Deere Run is just over 7200 yards, Par 71 and has some of the widest fairways on tour. The rough can be pretty high, though, so the cost of missing drives can be high. There is rain expected throughout the four days, making the course softer and allowing players to be even more aggressive.
The John Deere Classic has seen winners like Jordan Spieth (2013 ad 2015), Steve Stricker (2009,2010,2011), Brian Harman (2014) and Ryan Moore in 2016. The timing of this event just before The Open has meant that the field is not the strongest and in fact, a lot of the top players are playing the Scottish Open.
The top-ranked players in the field are Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner, Charlie Hoffman and Brian Harman. Other notable names include Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Charles Howell III, Danny Lee, Kevin Na and Kyle Stanley.
This is a low scoring course and The Wolf expects nothing different this time around. Length on this course is not going to be a factor and players with a strong iron/wedge game will be able to put themselves in birdie scoring positions consistently.
After that, it’s whoever’s putter is the hottest.
Stats That Mater
Seeing as the winning scores here have been 265 or lesser since 2009, this week is all about the scoring numbers.
Proximity to the hole
These are the three main stats that the Wolf has identified for this week to help sort the strongest contenders. Moore, when he won it last year was 1st in greens in regulation, 12th in putts per pound and 10th in driving accuracy.
Steve Stricker finished with a score of 258 (26 Under Par) in 2010 and only ended up winning by 2 strokes!
The Wolf also noted a tendency for players to win this tournament multiple times and that lesser known, left-field winners were uncommon. Sticking to the favorites may actually be the smart way to go here.
There are some players in excellent form coming into this tournament like Daniel Berger and Danny Lee but the Wolf is going with Kevin Kisner yet again. Kisner missed the cut last week but this is a course which he can wreak absolute mayhem.
He ticks all the boxes statistically as well ranking 19th in proximity, 20th in strokes gained putting and 55th in birdie average. A missed cut last week at the Greenbrier and T 58th at the US Open are not the best evidence of form, however, he had a T6 at the Memorial and a win at the Dean and Deluca the week before that.
At $21.00, Kisner is an excellent price in a weak field. Brian Harman and Danny Lee are two other players in this range that deserve to be on your radar and The Wolf recommends playing them as well if they start out well.
For the value pick, Charles Howell III at $34.00 is an attractive option. He has been in excellent form of late and finished 2nd at the Quicken Loans National just a couple of weeks back. He is also a regular at the John Deere Classic having played it 10 times, making the cut 9 times and finishing in the top-10 twice.
His best finish here T3 way back in 2000 but he also finished T5 here more recently in 2011. Statistically, Charles Howell III puts up some strong numbers as well with 29th in proximity to the hole, 55th in birdie average and 32nd in strokes gained putting. His putter has been red hot off late and that could be the clincher this week.
For the long shot, The Wolf has Chez Reavie at $61.00. Reavie has been putting up some really impressive performances of late and has excellent stats to do well at this course. His 14th at the US Open was a highlight of his career and he also finished T4th at the St.Jude Classic before that. Reavie has played the John Deere Classic 6 times, making the cut 5 times with a T5 in 2011 as his best finish. He is 1st in proximity, 71st in birdie average and 50th in strokes gained putting. Look for him to go on a real birdie run at some point this week.
Best: Kevin Kisner ($21.00)
Value: Charles Howell III ($34.00)
Roughie: Chez Reavie ($61.00)
Tournament By Country
Top Aussie: Cameron Percy ($8.00)
Top USA: Kevin Kisner ($11.00)
Top Rest of World: Danny Lee ($3.00)
72 Hole Match Bets
Big 6 (Berger, Lee, Harman, Kisner, Stanley, and Kauffman) vs the Field: Big 6 ($3.20)
Brian Harman vs Kevin Kisner: Kisner ($1.92)
Kyle Stanley vs Charlie Hoffman: Hoffman ($1.90)
Daniel Berger vs Danny Lee: Lee ($2.15)