After coming up just short with Bryson Dechambeau in the 3M open last week, Matchbook’s resident Golf nut Cian Kirby tries to go one better at the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Illinois.
With the final Open Championship spot available this week to the leading non-qualified player who finishes in the top 5 or ties, competition should be fierce and the event once again presents a decent betting opportunity. Below I have broken down the course details, the field and picked out four outright selections that I think could get into the mix.
The DA Weibring designed course measures 7,268 yds with a total of 78 bunkers and 4 water hazards in play. TPC Deere Run is a course that’s extremely scorable for those players who love to plot their way strategically around a course rather than dominate it. The key to success here is a combination of accurate approach play and a hot putter, as the winning score has been sub -16 par for the past ten years so you’d better make plenty of putts on the opening two days or get ready to pack your bags come Friday evening.
Typically not the strongest of fields with several of the top players opting to play in the Scottish Open instead, the top of the market is comprised of five players all under the age of 23 which you certainly don’t see every week.
Viktor Hovland (21.0) – Since turning pro after his Top 12 finish at the US Open last month, the Norwegian has posted successive top 15 finishes in the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The young talent has all the credentials to go close again this week although I would like to see how he performs in the heat of a PGA Tour battle before I hit the back button with him.
Matthew Wolff (21.0) – Last weeks surprise winner tees it up again, and after missing a back to back cuts before the 3M Open he certainly found his form last week with a gutsy victory, superbly rounded off with a phenomenal eagle putt on the final hole to win by a stroke. It can be difficult to warm to a player with a swing as unorthodox as his but there’s no doubting his ability and a low scoring birdie-fest should suit him again.
Sungjae Im (27.0) – A player I tipped last week, he started well but failed to kick on in the second round which proved costly but he once again posted a solid finish. With four top 25 finishes in a row, it’s hard not to see him getting into the mix again and at such a young age he looks the model of consistency.
Morikawa can go one better
Collin Morikawa (25.0) was desperately unlucky not to make at least a playoff last week with his putt for birdie on the 17th all but finding the bottom of the cup. The young man from California looks a PGA Tour natural already with a succession of five made cuts.
He looks primed for another big week and of the players at the top of the market he makes the most appeal.
Watch out for Wyndham
I was pleasantly surprised to see odds of 55.0 available on Wyndham Clark who once again put in a strong finish last week. After missing five cuts in a row he has bounced back in impressive style by posting three top 20 finishes in his last three starts.
I would be inclined to put a line through his sole missed cut here in 2017 as he was out of form before the event and looks a far more complete golfer now. Ranking 7th in strokes gained-putting Clarke knows how to get hot with the flat stick and he ticks plenty of boxes going into this week.
Denny to drain plenty of putts
If you are looking for someone to hole putts then look no further than Denny McCarthy (85.0).
The Floridian ranks first in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour this season, coupled with back to back top 25 finishes which should set him up nicely for a tilt at this week’s John Deere Classic.
No stranger to the venue he came 34th on his debut at the course last year and for his sole victory on the Web.com Tour, he shot -23 to beat Lucas Glover by four strokes.
This event could effectively turn into a putting contest and if so there is no doubting that Denny can putt the lights out when he needs to.
Chase trending in the Wright direction
For my final pick, I am taking a chance on Chase Wright at a huge price of 220.0. Similar to the above selections he is a superb putter who ranks 17th in strokes gained-putting this year. After a host of missed cuts, the Indiana man has found his form in the last fortnight with progressive form reading 46 & 23. Making his course debut at a track that should suit him I can see him outrunning his massive price.
- Collin Morikawa 2 point win @25.0
- Wyndham Clark 2 point win @ 55.0
- Denny McCarthy 1 point win @85.0
- Chase Wright 1 point win @220.0