John Deere Classic | US PGA Tour | 12th - 15th July | 13:00 | TPC at Deere Run
As player’s prepare to take to the course on Thursday, the question on everyone’s lips is does Steve Stricker have what it takes to further stamp his authority on this one and make it four wins in a row? Although he has been priced up favourite (for obvious reasons) there is a chance that this week his putting will let him down so I’m going to avoid tipping the favourite and instead look elsewhere for value. On a track that offers numerous birdie opportunities, approach play and putting are key but don’t be fooled into thinking the long hitters are completely out of it. The relatively forgiving layout means only the most wayward shots are punished. It also means there are numerous angles to look at when picking winners. Let’s see if we can find one.
Steve Stricker 7/1
Zach Johnson 12/1
Nick Watney 22/1
Ryan Palmer 25/1
Jonathan Byrd 28/1
Tim Clark 35/1
Rory Sabbatini 66/1
Ryan Palmer (25/1 a win, 63/10 a place)Ryan Palmer is on fire at the moment and to see him finish outside the top 10 has become a surprise. He comes into this one with some course form, having posted a top 25 in 2009 and that was before he really began making an impact on the Tour. His improved driving distance and strokes gained putting will assist in making birdies this time around so expect big things from Palmer.
Jeff Overton (30/1 a win, 15/2 a place)I’m backing Overton here on his birdie making ability alone. He has the ability to make a ton of these and his form in this regard is consistent. He currently ranks 13th in birdie average and 6th in total birdies made. This form has been rewarded with three top 25 finishes from his last three starts and it’s only a matter of time before he finishes in the top 5. Wins may be a bit optimistic but places are a real possibility.
John Daly (120/1 a win, 30/1 a place)If Daly can hold himself together in this one he has a real chance of a Top 5 finish. He can power the ball down the fairway with the best of them and this is going to give him the opportunity to make a lot of birdies. I definitely can’t see him playing well enough to win; there will be way too many distractions for that, but a top 5 at 30/1 still looks good.
TOP BET: Jhonathan Vegas (100/1 a win, 25/1 a place)
Anyone who saw Vegas play his first round here last year will know that he can make birdies with the best of them. Six in a row saw him tumble from triple figure odds to 9/1 and a lot of punters who backed him on his ability to bomb it down the fairway got very excited. Unfortunately he fell apart on the back 9 that day so didn’t quite capitalise on that great start but he did end up T2nd. 100/1 looks a huge price. I’m just hoping he can string four rounds together.