Best bets for the PGA John Deere Classic

July 4, 2023 03:57 PM

John Deere Classic

Rickie Fowler ended a 1,610-day winless drought, dating to the WM Phoenix Open in February 2019, with a playoff victory Sunday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic over Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin.

His recent form indicated a victory was on the horizon, which is why he was a short price at 14-1, with back-to-back top-10s at the Charles Schwab and Memorial, and of course, his T-5 at the U.S. Open, where he was the first-round co-leader and a part of the final pairing in both the third and fourth rounds.

Fowler ranked as low as No. 185 in the OWGR last September but is now rated No. 23 in the world and should likely be back on Team USA at the Ryder Cup this fall.

Rounding out the top 10 in Detroit were Taylor Moore, Lucas Glover and Peter Kuest, who were T-4, Adam Schenk (7th), Justin Lower (8th) and a five-way tie for ninth with Peter Malnati, Alex Noren, Brian Harman, Stephan Jaeger and Aaron Rai.

This week, the PGA Tour stays in the Midwest with its annual stop in the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic. Denny McCarthy (14-1) was sixth here last year and has three top-8 finishes in his last six starts. Russell Henley (16-1) was runner-up in 2019 and comes in with four consecutive top-20 finishes.

Cameron Young (20-1) had seven finishes of second or third in 2022 but has only four top-10s in 16 events for 2023 and makes his debut in this event.

Former World Amateur No. 1 Ludvig Aberg (25-1) hit every fairway and missed just one green in the opening round last weekend at Detroit Golf Club on his way to a sparkling 65. He was in contention until a double bogey at the par-5 14th in Saturday's third round halted his momentum and he ended up finishing T-40.

Hadwin (28-1), Taylor Moore (30-1) and Schenk (33-1) were all top-10 finishers in Detroit last weekend.

Emiliano Grillo (33-1) finished runner-up last year to J.T. Poston (40-1), who we tagged as a winner here at 55-1.

The Event

The John Deere Classic is customarily held the week before the British Open but was moved a week earlier beginning last year because of the Scottish Open now being part of the official PGA Tour schedule.

The tournament's history dates to 1971 when it was established as the Quad Cities Open. It began as a satellite event that year and became a full-time PGA Tour event the following year. Longtime host and late-night sidekick Ed McMahon served as the event's host from 1975 to 1979. Numerous Midwest-based companies, including Miller Brewing Company and Hardee's, sponsored the event before current sponsor John Deere took over in 1999. The event moved all around the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa before settling at TPC Deere Run, located in Silvis, Ill., in 2000.

D.A. Weibring, who designed this week's course, is a three-time winner of this tournament as is Steve Stricker (2009, 2010, 2011). Two-time winners include former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman (1971, 1972), Scott Hoch (1980, 1984), David Frost (1992, 1993) and Jordan Spieth (2013, 2015).

The Course

The descendants of the John Deere family donated the land on which TPC Deere Run, located in Silvis, Ill., and opened in 2000, was built. The track was designed by five-time PGA Tour winner D.A. Weibring, who is from nearby Quincy, Ill., and won this event three times (1979, 1991, 1995). The course plays as a par-71 of 7,289 yards and typically it does not give players much difficulty. In other words, this is a birdie-fest. The course record of 59 was set here by Paul Goydos in the first round of the 2010 John Deere Classic. There are 76 bunkers on the layout and three water danger holes.

Until a small renovation two years ago, no changes had been made to TPC Deere Run. The course underwent a comprehensive bunker renovation and competitive enhancement project. Bunkers were completely rebuilt with new grass surrounds, drainage, liners and sand, which also included reducing overall square footage by 30% and repositioning as needed to increase course strategy.

TPC Deere Run's director of golf course maintenance Alex Studemann and PGA Tour advance man Mark Peterson oversaw the renovation. “We moved some of the bunkers into a more competitive aspect as to where we wanted them,” said Peterson of the changes made using statistics from recent tournaments as a guide to what needed to be adapted. “They tightened up some fairways. In doing so, they eliminated some of them and shrunk some of them, which will help them agronomically.”

The Southshore Bentgrass fairways are wide (37 yards average width — ninth widest on tour) and generous. The L-93 Bentgrass greens, mostly elevated, average 5,500 square feet, are very receptive and roll at around 12 on the stimpmeter. However, the Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue rough is around four inches and can punish players if they miss fairways.

The course itself has three par-5s, four par-3s and 11 par-4s. The par-3s are longer and tougher to score on. Eight of the par-4s are under 445 yards. All three of the par-5s are in the 550- to 600-yard range and should be reachable in two shots.

Although not a difficult course to score, TPC Deere Run forces players to use the entire full bag of clubs with sloping fairways, elevation changes and tight dogleg holes. Over the past five events, the John Deere Classic has averaged 1.39 shots under par per round, which makes it the ninth-easiest course played on tour over the past two years.

If looking for correlated or comparable courses to TPC Deere Run, think TPC River Highlands, Detroit Golf Club, TPC Twin Cities, TPC Craig Ranch, TPC Boston and Keene Trace.

Here is the official scorecard for this week's John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.


Recent History

2022: J.T. Poston (-21/263); 50-1

2021: Lucas Glover (-19/265); 55-1

2020: tournament canceled due to COVID-19

2019: Dylan Frittelli (-21/263), 90-1

2018: Michael Kim (-27/257), 300-1*

2017: Bryson DeChambeau (-18/266), 50-1

2016: Ryan Moore (-22/262), 25-1

2015: Jordan Spieth (-20/264), 4-1**

2014: Brian Harman (-22/262), 125-1

2013: Jordan Spieth (-19/265), 40-1***

2012: Zach Johnson (-20/264), 12-1 ****

2011: Steve Stricker (-22/262), 7-1

2010: Steve Stricker (-26/258), 16-1

Tournament scoring record - *

Playoff win over Tom Gillis - **

Playoff win over David Hearn & Zach Johnson - ***

Playoff win over Troy Matteson - ****

Trends and Angles

  • 5 of the last nine champs were first-time PGA Tour winners.
  • 12 of the last 13 champs played at least one previous John Deere Classic.
  • 8 of the last 13 champs finished 19th or higher in a previous John Deere Classic.
  • 11 of the last 13 champs had at least one top-5 finish earlier in the season.

Statistical Analysis

Approach makes up a little over one-third of the strokes gained at TPC Deere Run.

Strokes Gained Approach (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Alex Smalley 28.6
  2. Emiliano Grillo 27.3
  3. Mark Hubbard 27.3
  4. Chez Reavie 25.4
  5. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 24.4
  6. Russell Henley 20.8
  7. Ryan Palmer 20.6
  8. Nate Lashley 19.9
  9. Adam Schenk 18.8
  10. Scott Piercy 18
  11. D.J. Trahan 16.7
  12. Sepp Straka 16
  13. Akshay Bhatia 15.8
  14. Eric Cole 15.6
  15. Luke List 14.9
  16. Kevin Roy 14.6
  17. Dylan Wu 14.4
  18. Nick Taylor 13.3

13.7% of approach shots at TPC Deere Run come from 100-125 yards.

Proximity Gained 100-125 Yards (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Camilo Villegas 9.1
  2. Kevin Streelman 8.8
  3. Greyson Sigg 8.7
  4. Chris Kirk 8.6
  5. Eric Cole 8.3
  6. Lucas Glover 7.7
  7. Byeong Hun An 7.7
  8. Harry Higgs 7.3
  9. Paul Haley II 6.5
  10. Chesson Hadley 6.2
  11. Sam Ryder 6.1
  12. Jimmy Walker 6
  13. Brian Stuard 5.8
  14. Nick Watney 5.8
  15. Patton Kizzire 5.3
  16. Austin Cook 4.5

Note: Average Feet Gained Per Shot from 100-125 Yards.

19% of approach shots at TPC Deere Run come from 125-150 yards.

Proximity Gained 125-150 Yards (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Chris Kirk 11.4
  2. Satoshi Kodaira 8.5
  3. Russell Henley 8.5
  4. Cameron Young 7.6
  5. Aaron Baddeley 6.5
  6. Akshay Bhatia 6.2
  7. Jason Dufner 5.7
  8. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 5.5
  9. Doug Ghim 5.4
  10. David Lingmerth 4.9
  11. Hank Lebioda 4.9
  12. Geoff Ogilvy 4.7
  13. Vincent Norrman 4.3
  14. Chez Reavie 4.1
  15. Dylan Wu 4.1
  16. Ryan Moore 4

Note: Average Feet Gained Per Shot from 125-150 Yards.

Like last week, the John Deere Classic is another birdie-fest. Last year, nine of the top 10 in birdies or better gained finished in the top 10 on the leaderboard. Two years ago, Lucas Glover led the field in birdies or better gained and won the event. Kevin Na finished second and was runner-up. Last year’s champion, J.T. Poston, was fifth in birdies or better gained.

Birdies Or Better Gained (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Eric Cole 27.3
  2. Nick Taylor 25.3
  3. Dylan Wu 20.4
  4. Akshay Bhatia 19.3
  5. Taylor Moore 19.3
  6. Carson Young 19.2
  7. Emiliano Grillo 18.8
  8. Scott Piercy 18.7
  9. Mark Hubbard 16.9
  10. Denny McCarthy 16.3
  11. Will Gordon 14.6
  12. Adam Schenk 14.1
  13. Cameron Young 12.6
  14. Stephan Jaeger 12.5
  15. Ryan Palmer 12.2
  16. Taylor Montgomery 11.2

Opportunities Gained measures the amount of birdie looks inside 15 feet a player gives himself per round. Making putts has the most variance of anything in golf, especially for tour players. This statistic indicates those players that are giving themselves at least the most chances to make birdies.

Opportunities Gained (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Ryan Palmer 28.3
  2. Chris Kirk 25.2
  3. Chez Reavie 25
  4. Marty Dou 24
  5. Cameron Young 22.9
  6. Alex Smalley 21.9
  7. Ben Martin 21.4
  8. Lucas Glover 20.7
  9. Luke List 20.6
  10. Michael Kim 20.5
  11. Satoshi Kodaira 19.4
  12. Matti Schmid 18.8
  13. Eric Cole 17.2
  14. Scott Piercy 16.5
  15. Akshay Bhatia 16.4
  16. Stephan Jaeger 14.8
  17. Ludvig Aberg 14.3 (28 rounds)

As indicated above, you are going to have to go low (most likely in the -20 range) to have a chance to win here.

Strokes Gained Total — Easy Scoring Conditions (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Seamus Power 58
  2. Russell Henley 44.4
  3. Taylor Moore 42.2
  4. Alex Smalley 41.5
  5. Matt Kuchar 37.2
  6. Ryan Palmer 36.2
  7. Dylan Wu 34
  8. Taylor Montgomery 33.8 (25 rounds)
  9. J.T. Poston 31.9
  10. Adam Hadwin 31.8
  11. Patrick Rodgers 29.5
  12. Justin Lower 28.6
  13. Eric Cole 28.1
  14. Doug Ghim 27.7
  15. Mark Hubbard 26.8
  16. Emiliano Grillo 26.3
  17. Chris Kirk 26.1
  18. Cameron Young 25.3
  19. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 24.8
  20. Peter Malnati 24

As a shorter course with wide fairways, TPC Deere Run is fairly easy to gain strokes off the tee. SG OTT tends to have a slight bias to the longer hitters, but Driving Accuracy is not all that important considering the course was in the top 10 last year for easiest fairways to hit. Good Drives Gained takes into account good ball strikers who can hit greens even if not as long off the tee or missing fairways altogether.

Good Drives Gained (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Denny McCarthy 41
  2. Russell Henley 38.8
  3. Ryan Armour 36.5
  4. Matthew NeSmith 33.7
  5. Lucas Glover 32.4
  6. Carl Yuan 27.4
  7. Ryan Palmer 26.5
  8. Michael Kim 26
  9. Chez Reavie 24.7
  10. Doug Ghim 23.4
  11. Tyler Duncan 21.9
  12. Emiliano Grillo 21.8
  13. Brice Garnett 20.2
  14. Seamus Power 20.1

TPC Deere Run historically ranks as one of the easier putting courses on tour. While any player can catch fire with the putter on these true Bentgrass greens, it is still prudent to account for the best putters on the surface.

Strokes Gained Putting Bentgrass Greens (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Justin Lower 41.8
  2. Denny McCarthy 37.5
  3. Brendon Todd 33.1
  4. Seung-yul Noh 33
  5. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 30.6
  6. Austin Cook 24.9
  7. Eric Cole 21.7 (25 rounds)
  8. Derek Lamely 21.4
  9. Harry Higgs 21
  10. Adam Svensson 20.8
  11. J.T. Poston 20.6
  12. Taylor Moore 19.1
  13. Patrick Rodgers 18.6
  14. Adam Hadwin 18.6
  15. Beau Hossler 18.4

J.T. Poston led the field here last year for Strokes Gained: Around The Green in his victory, and Dylan Frittelli ranked second in the category for his 2019 John Deere Classic victory.

Strokes Gained Around The Green (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Brendon Todd 20.8
  2. Matthias Schwab 19.8
  3. Aaron Baddeley 19.2
  4. Arjun Atwal 18.7
  5. Jonathan Byrd 18
  6. Byeong Hun An 17.9
  7. Ricky Barnes 17.4
  8. Eric Cole 17
  9. Matt Kuchar 16.1
  10. Chris Kirk 16
  11. Peter Malnati 15.2
  12. SH Kim 13.6
  13. Stephan Jaeger 13
  14. Zac Blair 12.8
  15. Kevin Streelman 12.3
  16. Sean O'Hair 11.4
  17. Camilo Villegas 11.1
  18. Joseph Bramlett 10.3
  19. Patrick Rodgers 10.2

TPC River Highlands and Detroit Golf Club, the PGA Tour venues for the last two weeks, along with TPC Twin Cities can be combined with TPC Deere Run to provide us with a more comprehensive course history as these are all summer birdie-fests played on Bentgrass greens.

Comp Course History (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Russell Henley 48.6
  2. Chez Reavie 45
  3. J.T. Poston 39.9
  4. Adam Hadwin 39.7
  5. Chesson Hadley 38.5
  6. Kevin Streelman 37.9
  7. Emiliano Grillo 36.2
  8. Hank Lebioda 35.4
  9. Adam Long 34.9
  10. Callum Tarren 34.4
  11. Mark Hubbard 33
  12. Troy Merritt 30.8
  13. Chris Kirk 30.1
  14. Adam Schenk 29.4
  15. Brice Garnett 27.6
  16. Adam Svensson 25.5
  17. Taylor Moore 25.2

Last year, TPC Deere Run featured the sixth-easiest set of par-3s on the PGA Tour schedule and the sixth-easiest set of par-5s on the schedule. The par-4s will likely be the decider here with three measuring between 350 and 400 yards, five measuring between 420 and 460 and three measuring over 475 yards.

Strokes Gained Par-4s (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Denny McCarthy 46
  2. Nick Taylor 35.3
  3. Russell Henley 35.2
  4. Taylor Moore 25.9
  5. Chez Reavie 25.2
  6. Eric Cole 23.5
  7. Patrick Rodgers 22.8
  8. Adam Hadwin 19.8
  9. Stephan Jaeger 18.4
  10. Brendon Todd 17.5
  11. Chris Kirk 17.3
  12. Alex Smalley 17.2
  13. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 16.7
  14. Adam Schenk 15.9
  15. Chesson Hadley 15.7
  16. Byeong Hun An 15.5
  17. Beau Hossler 15.4
  18. Doug Ghim 15.3
  19. Mark Hubbard 14


Adam Hadwin (28-1, DraftKings)

Hadwin lost in the playoff to Rickie Fowler last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Typically, we would not want to be on a guy with a near-miss the week prior, but we were aboard Poston last year off a runner-up at the Travelers in his previous start and he went on to win.

The Canadian led the field in Detroit for Strokes Gained: Putting.

Adam Schenk (30-1, Bet Rivers)

Schenk has four top-10 finishes, including a seventh last week in Detroit and two seconds at the Charles Schwab and Valspar, so a win looks to be on the horizon.

As a native of Indiana and a Purdue graduate, this is the closest to a home game event that Schenk has. He was sixth here in 2019 and fourth in 2021.

He ranks ninth in total strokes gained, eighth in SG: Putting and top 20 in birdies or better gained.

Eric Cole (33-1, BetMGM)

Cole finally took a week off last week after playing 10 consecutive weeks.

It was a well-deserved respite in a solid rookie season that includes a runner-up at the Honda Classic earlier this year.

Cole has made eight of his last 10 cuts, with a fifth at the Mexico Open, a sixth at the Canadian Open and a 24th at the designated Travelers.

Alex Smalley (42-1, Circa Sports)

Smalley has rated eighth and third on approach for his last two starts.

Recent form includes ninth at the Travelers, 18th at the Wells Fargo and Top 25 finishes at both the PGA Championship and the Canadian Open.

Over the past 24 rounds, he’s among the top 10 in this field in Strokes Gained: Approach, Good Drives Gained, Par-4 Scoring and Strokes Gained: Tee To Green.

Dylan Wu (66-1, BetMGM)

Wu finished only 43rd on debut here last year but led that field for Strokes Gained: Approach.

Wu ranks third in this field for Birdie Or Better Gained over the last 36 rounds.

Chez Reavie (66-1, Bet365)

Shorter hitters off the tee can win here as evidenced by a list of previous winners that includes Michael Kim and Zach Johnson.

Reavie ranks fourth for Strokes Gained: Approach and third for Opportunities Gained over the last 36 rounds.

Callum Tarren (85-1, Circa Sports)

Tarren gained 4.7 strokes off the tee, which ranked second in the field, and 7.1 strokes on approach, which ranked third in the field last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The Englishman was sixth on debut here last year.

Matchups (39-27-6; 2-3 last week)

Kevin Streelman -115 over Sam Ryder (BetMGM)

Seamus Power -110 over Byeong Hun An (South Point)

Placement market wagers along with anything on LIV London and the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach will be available at on Wednesday.

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