Course: TPC Deere Run (Silvis, IL)
Yardage: 7,257 – Par 71
Overview: Xander Schauffele played a solid four rounds of golf to take home his first ever PGA victory. Schauffele introduced himself to many golf fans a few weeks back with a Top-10 finish at the U.S Open. He’s stayed hot since then, riding that momentum all the way to his first win. It doesn’t matter what the field was like; Schaueffle now has some great Sunday experience under his belt that will help him a lot going forward.
With most of the top-ranked players over in Scotland or taking the week off before The Open, the John Deere Classic will sport another very light field. Very light is almost an exaggeration this week. This is almost a Web.com event in terms of competition. The four players priced over 10 K this week are Daniel Berger ($11,200), Brian Harman ($10,900), Kevin Kisner ($10,400) and Danny Lee ($10,200). I will bet you that none of them cracks $8,500 at the Open next week. After that you’ve got a few players who’ve taken steps backwards recently like Steve Stricker, Ryan Moore, and Zach Johnson. The rest of the field is mid-to-low tier players who you’ll have to pay special attention to in order to pick the right ones.
The John Deere Classic will be our final DFS tune-up before the Open next week. You can take a look at the Scottish Open DFS if you want a more familiar field. The Scottish Open looks like a major that’s missing a few stars. Over here on the PGA Tour, the players who’ve stayed stateside will be in Silvis, Illinois, home of TPC Deere Run. This tournament usually has some of the lowest scores on Tour, with the winner usually being in the 20 and under range. That means you need someone who can rack up the birdies, so birdie or better percentage will be necessary to contend this week. To make a lot of birdies, the putter must be running hot to keep up with the field, so strokes gained: putting is another stat to consider. Shorter hitters have had plenty of success in the past at this tournament, so a bomber probably won’t have a great advantage this week. Instead, look for players who excel in the 125-150 and 150-175-yard approach game, as most shots will be in that range. Strokes gained: approach will play a big part once again. With birdies coming left and right, players must be sticking shots close or at least in manageable places to give themselves birdie tries.
2012: Steve Stricker
2013: Jordan Spieth
2014: Brian Harman
2015: Jordan Spieth
2016: Ryan Moore
John Deere Classic DFS Golf Picks
Steve Stricker ($9,800) Steve Stricker’s best days may be behind him, but he’s still very steady and rarely misses cuts. There is no better golf course for this man. He won this event three straight times from 2010 to 2012, shooting 68 under in that three-year span. Let me repeat that, 68 UNDER PAR, for 12 golf rounds. That means that if he went out and shot 66 during that time, he was shooting higher than average for that span. He may not win the event, but he certainly is comfortable at TPC Deere Run.
Kevin Streelman ($8,800) Streelman has been picking up steam as of late, with his last five finishes being 18, 13, 8, 17, and 29. After a very rocky start to his year, I’m ready to ride with Streelman. He gains around a stroke per event on the approach. He gives some of those shots back putting, but has been improving with the flat stick as the year goes along. He is a very good tee to green player (49th), and could be a dark horse to win this event.
David Hearn ($8,200) Hearn doesn’t look great on the stat sheet for this one when it comes to putting and approach, as he’s rather average at both. However, he’s been improving as the summer goes along, and is very comfortable in the 125-150-yard range (39th), where many shots will come from. He also has some great course history here. He finished tied for second with Zach Johnson in a three-man playoff, where Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to win his first career tournament.
Kevin Na ($8,000) Kevin Na is a very tough player to predict. He is one of the better ball strikers on tour (10th in SG: Approach). With this weak field, I like Na to rise above his mediocrity and have one of his good weeks, where you’ll get to watch his painfully slow play all the way through Sunday. He is the third best player on Tour from 150-175 yards out. He should be in that range again and again this week; if he can gain a few shots putting instead of giving some back, he’ll have a great week.
Nick Taylor ($7,600) Nick Taylor has finally made it out of the six thousand range (although probably just temporarily because of the field). Coming off his fourth Top 10 of the season, Taylor played a very solid week last week with four rounds in the 60s. He gains shots on the field off the tee, on the approach, and around the green. He struck it better than nearly everyone last week. He ranked 42nd in the field last week in putting, which is par for the course for him. If he can strike the ball the same way, he’ll find himself near the top of the leaderboard again, still at a bargain price.
Wesley Bryan ($7,300) Wesley Bryan has done very little since winning his first event back in April at the RBC Heritage. Can they make a rule that Wesley can just drop from where his playing partner’s tee shot ends up? He loses nearly three shots per tournament just off the tee. Other than that, he is a very good player. He ranks 20th in SG: Approach, and 45th in SG: Putting. If he can find some fairways, he should have a lot of birdie opportunities. He is the third-best on Tour from 125-150 yards, and 11th-best from 150-175 yards. The question is whether or not he’ll put himself in those positions off the tee, because he can end up anywhere. I predict he’ll straighten himself out this week.