PGA Tour: John Deere Classic Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Our golf writer takes a look at the 2018 edition of the John Deere Classic set to take place between 12 July and 15 July at TPC John Deere, Silvis, Illinois.

This event has always had the ignominy of falling a week before the Open Championship.  Many of the top PGA Tour players are either resting this week or teeing up in Scotland in preparation for links golf.  In order to counteract this brain-drain, event planners have organized a special charter plane- since 2008- for players to leave swiftly after Sunday’s final round.

Originally known as the Quad Cities Open, this event began life as a satellite event before becoming a full tour event in 1972.  Initially played at Crow Valley in Iowa, the event moved to Oakwood in 1975.  Its permanent home has been TPC John Deere since 2000.
The US PGA Tour
John Deere Classic
TPC John Deere, Silvis, Illinois
12TH-15TH July 2018

This is a very accessible course and one can understand the reticence of some to prepare at this birdie fest ahead of a Major Championship.  Alternatively, perhaps the positives vibes associated with shooting low rounds can translate into positive form on the links.  D.A Weibring designed this course on an old Native American settlement.  Paul Goydos shot a 59 here in 2010, which highlights the ease of the course.  Water is in play on 5 holes while the bentgrass greens measure about 11 on the stimp.

Francisco Molinari has been exceptional in recent weeks, winning on either side of the pond for two victories in four starts.  Add to that a runner-up finish at his domestic open and you can understand his price this week.  Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau will look to defend his title while Zach Johnson aims to finally make it two victories at an event that he has absolutely dominated.  Veteran Steve Stricker will be hoping to earn his first top 10 on the tour this season at an event that he won three consecutive times.

Past Winners
2017: Bryson Dechambeau (-18)
2016: Ryan Moore (-22)
2015: Jordan Spieth (-20)*playoff
2014: Brian Harman (-22)
2013: Jordan Spieth (-19)*playoff

To Win Outright:  
Francisco Molinari (10/1), Bryson DeChambeau (10/1), Zach Johnson (12/1), Joaquin Niemann (16/1), Ryan Moore (18/1)

Value Bets

Bryson DeChambeau- To Win (10/1), To Place (22/10)
I know that 10/1 hardly looks appealing as a so-called value bet, but the relatively poor field this week does allow for a slightly more liberal approach to backing favourites.  Defending champion DeChambeau will be looking to go back-to-back at an event that certainly has a recent history of repeats.  Spieth won here in 2013 and 2015 while Stricker was the last person to three-peat on the PGA Tour at a single event: he won here between 2009 and 2011.  DeChambeau won at the Memorial Tournament and has also picked up three other top 4 finishes this season.  His 2nd at the Arnold Palmer and tie for 3rd at the Heritage highlight his ability to consistently go deep in events.


David Lingmerth- To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)
David Lingmerth was in a real rut earlier this season, experiencing four consecutive cuts between the Zurich Classic and Fort Worth Invitational.  But he has recovered recently and has made his last three cuts in a row.  That includes a tie for 11th at the Travellers in his last event.  Lingmerth looks like a really good bet this week as he is a proven winner on tour.  He should thrive in this relatively decimated field and has exactly the sort of accuracy based game that has served the likes of Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker so well at TPC John Deere in the past.


Corey Connors- To Win (125/1), To Place (25/1)
Young Canadian Corey Connors has been a tad frustrating to punters this season.  The clearly talented young man has often flirted with contention, but his lack of a killer instinct has resulted in some poor final rounds.  Connors led the Valspar going into the final round only to shoot a 77 in the final round.  He also was in contention in the Dominican Republic before shooting well over par to finish 13th.  He did recently have his best finish of the season with a 8th at the Fort Worth Invitational.  He was 2nd for GIR last week at the Greenbrier and I like his chances at 125/1.   


The Man to Beat- Zach Johnson- To Win (12/1), To Place (26/10)
The whole horses for courses argument has few better examples than Zach Johnson this week.  The 2 time Major Champion has a record here that is perhaps even more amazing than three-time champion Steve Stricker.  He has made 9 trips to Silvis, winning the event in 2012.  Added to that are three 2nd places and two 3rd place finishes.  He has an incredible scoring average here of 66.89 and also comes into this event in decent form.  He has nine top 20’s since November last year.  Johnson will look to use this speciality event as a springboard for a crack at a 2nd Open Championship next week.



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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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