PGA Tour - John Deere Classic - 11-14 July 2013
TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, USA
This tournament began life as the Quad Cities Open in 1971 and has been played at Deere Run since 2000, always in the week preceding the Open Championship.
Steve Stricker has dominated the event in recent years, winning in 2009, 2010 & 2011 and he was 5th last year when another course specialist and perennial contender, Zach Johnson, won. Zach has a 2nd and a 3rd in recent years in addition to his win here.
Deere Run is an easy Par 71 @ 7250 yards where GIR is the critical stat allied with hot putting on its slowish and easy bent grass greens. The course ranked 42nd in difficulty among 49 courses used by the PGA Tour in 2012 and only significant wind could raise its challenge level.
Of interest to course form followers, Deere Run is statistically one of those rare tracks where course form has been as significant a success predictor as recent form.
The week is typically a resort-style birdie-fest that suits players who can go low and keep it going, with the course record of 59 belonging to Paul Goydos (2010). The winning score is typically in the low-260's, with all 4 rounds in the 60's.
Steve Stricker, naturally enough given his rich history here, is the clear 8.00 - 8.50 favourite.
Next in the betting is that other perennial John Deere star, Zach Johnson, his price of 17.00 reflective of his putting woes for most of 2013.
Then come Open Championship hopeful Keegan Bradley 21.00, tractor afficionado Louis Oosthuizen 23.00 and the can-shoot-the-lights-out Ryan Moore at 29.00.
I don't especially like Strick's very short price nor his age (46) and, as mentioned, Zach has gone cold with the putter this year, so I have my requisite excuses for seeking longer priced value here.
As mentioned above, there is a strong need on this easy track for players to be able to go low over the four days, so I'm seeking birdie machines! And I like four of them:
My 1st machine who's an attractive price is recent tip Charley Hoffman who went low but ultimately let us down with a 7th when contending on an easy track at the Travelers Championship a couple of weeks back. He's 44.00 on Betfair as I type and win-only at that price will do me nicely here; I rate him 26.00.
Last chance at the ok corral for me so far as Charley is confirmed; win here or get sacked, pal!
My next selection, each way, is Troy Matteson at 150.00 and higher. He's well known for going low on easy courses and, frankly, I'm surprised he so long in this! Especially in view of the fact that he has a 2nd & a 3rd here.
He has been absolute rubbish all year but, like Taylor (see below) could easily get some form back at easy Deere Run.
My 3rd pick, also each way, is Andres Romero at 81.00 who went well when tipped a few weeks back without finding a place for us. He also ranks highly for birdie average (30th) and has looked to be finding his form in recent times (41st, 13th, 24th) after a dry spell.
My 4th and final selection is a guy who knows how to go low and who has a handful of good performances here, including three recent top15 placings - Vaughn Taylor at 201.00.
After an excellent and consistent season up to the end of March he fell into a hole and hasn't yet emerged but will not get many easier chances to do so that here on one of the tour's easiest courses and against an Open Championship-weakened field.
Cheers and good luck with your punting.
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