Year in and year out the John Deere Classic and TPC Deere Run plays as one of the easiest stops on the PGA Tour. Deere Run’s par 5’s are short and accessible for all players, making par 4 scoring critical to shooting the low scores needed to contend. Past winners include the likes of Jordan Spieth (‘15 & ‘13), Brian Harman (‘14), Zach Johnson (‘12) and Steve Stricker (‘09-’11), none of whom are bombers but rather rely on a strong overall game. Despite their lofty price tags, I expect Stricker and Johnson to be highly owned because of their terrific track records at the Deere. Therefore, I am zigging when most are zagging and finding lower cost alternatives to the favorites.
Wesley Bryan - $9,700
Bryan comes in on fire having earned a battlefield promotion from the Web.com Tour after his 3rd win of the season last week! Two things you need to do to have success at the John Deere is putt well and make birdies. Before getting his promotion to the PGA Tour Bryan ranked first in all putting statistics and birdie average on the Web.com!
Kevin Na - $10,500
Kevin Na racks up a lot of high finishes with his consistent ball striking and putting. Na comes into the JDC in good form with 3 top 25’s in his past 4 starts; the top 25s coming in the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship. I love Na at the John Deere because he ranks 12th in par 4 birdie or better percentage, the highest of any player in the field. Na’s last start came at the John Deere came in 2014 when he finished t13th.
Derek Fathauer - $6,500
With a weaker field than normal, it’s important to find upside in your lower priced players and Derek Fathauer offers just that. Fathauer is one of the PGA Tour’s best putters and ranks 43rd in birdie or better percentage. Fathauer has a knack for going low and with the course not overly long, I like his chances this week.
Patrick Rodgers - $8,500
After a slow start to the season, Rodgers seems to be finding his form with a T3rd in his last start at the Travelers. The club that has been holding him back all year is the putter, which finally got hot last week finishing 7th in strokes gained putting. Rodgers also has good course history, finishing t15th at the JDC as an amateur in ‘13.