PGA betting preview: John Deere Classic
With the Open Championship on deck for next week, the PGA Tour field takes a hit this week as players are either resting or playing in Europe.
The Open Championship is the one Major where players usually are not playing the prior week due to the significant travel time. Players not already in the Open Championship still have a shot to play as one place has been reserved for the leading player, not already exempt, who finishes in the top five at the John Deere Classic.
The John Deere Classic has been a mainstay on tour since 1972 and even though this is the 42nd anniversary, the tournament has gone through eight name changes and three courses. The event nearly died on several occasions back in the '70s, '80s and '90s but it somehow stayed above water until John Deere took over the sponsorship in 1999.
This is just the 14th year that the TPC at Deere Run has hosted the event which obviously coincides with the sponsor. The course is one of the easiest on the schedule. Last year Deere Run ranked 40th out of 51 courses in difficulty. This one has not been lengthened much as only 75 yards has been added since its inception in 2000. Also, the course has only three water hazards.
The scores are always very low as the winners have carded -22, -26, -20, -16, -18 and -19 the last six years and no winner has ever finished worse than -16. And that has been with a very light field. There was a 59 scored in the opening round by Paul Goydos two years ago, which was just the fourth ever 59 on tour. This year there are only two players that are ranked in the top 20 of the OWGR - Steve Stricker (13th) and Zach Johnson (17th).
Stricker (+650) is the favorite and is the three-time defending champion as he birdied the last two holes to win by one shot over Kyle Stanley last year. He become the first back-to-back-to-back winner of this event and he is trying to become the sixth player ever to win the same event four straight years. He won in Hawaii to open the year and has not won since but he has missed only one cut. No value here though.
Zach Johnson (+1,200) has not done much since his win at Colonial at the end of May as his best finish is a T41 in three starts. While current form is important, past history on a course is just as big and Johnson has had plenty of success here. Last year he finished T3, five shots back of Stricker, T21 in 2010 and T2 in 2009, three shots back of Stricker. If anyone is considered a serious challenger to the defending champion, it is Johnson.
After a slow start to the season Ryan Palmer (+2,000) has been playing exceptional. He last played at the AT&T National and finished T15 while prior to that he logged four top 10s in five events which included three top fives. He missed the cut in his last start at TPC Deere Run but that was in the midst of 10 missed cuts in 11 events so he clearly was off his game. He is certainly a different player now.
Jonathan Byrd (+2,500) was tied for second after the opening round last week at the Greenbrier Classic but faded to a T22. He has not missed a cut since March and in seven events since then, he has three top 10s as well as a T12 at THE PLAYERS. He missed the cut at the John Deere last year but he was not playing well and right now he is arguably playing his best golf since he won here in 2007.
Sean O'Hair (+4,000) is having a pretty solid season. He has missed only two cuts in 16 events and he is coming off a T7 at the Greenbrier Classic which was his first top 10 since a T2 at the Sony Open back in January. His current game fits well at TPC Deere Run. He is 12th in birdie average and birdies are the key here. He should know as he won the John Deere Classic in 2005 at -16.
For a longshot, we will take a look at Chez Reavie (+6,000). He has had a tough season with no top 10 finishes and he has missed the cut in half of his 18 starts. However, his two best finishes have been in his last two as he posted a T11 at the Travelers and a T15 at the AT&T National. Reavie has played this event only three times but his best finish came last year which was a T5 despite a Sunday 72.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the John Deere Classic – All for 1 unit
Zach Johnson (+1,200)
Ryan Palmer (+2,000)
Jonathan Byrd (+2,500)
Sean O'Hair (+4,000)
Chez Reavie (+6,000)
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