It's off to the Steve Stricker 'owned' TPC Deere Run this week on the PGA Tour where Stricks bids to make it four wins on the spin at the John Deere Classic. Why does the American have such a great record here? That's easy - his short iron approach play and superb putting ability on a track that offers so many birdie opportunities.
Steve is again ranked no.1 in proximity to the hole ahead of this year's John Deere Classic but his putting stats don't quite measure up this time around and that gives us reason to oppose. The course is also generally quite forgiving from the tee (barring completely errant shots) and that leaves us plenty of angles this week to look to exploit. With bombers capable of going extremely low around here, I have a few of them in mind for the John Deere Classic first round leader markets.
John Deere Classic Picks 2012
Pick #1: Ryan Palmer e/w @ 28/1 (Boyle) It's four top 10s and a T15 finish now for Palmer in his last six starts on tour (his last two - T3 and T15 on the back of opening 74s). Palmer has some course form at the John Deere Classic, posting a top 25 finish in 2009 and carding a 2nd round 64 in the process. The form man ranks 10th in strokes gained putting and 13th in driving distance and can over power this track.
Pick #2: Jeff Overton e/w @ 40/1 (Ladbrokes) Also sticking with Overton this week as the former Ryder Cup star looks like he's about to burst into top gear anytime now. Overton can make birdies in bunches, ranking 13th in birdie average and 6th in total birdies and TPC Deere Run is a course that lends itself to that. Three top 25s in last three - a strong title challenge is on the cards soon and good value to be this week at the John Deere Classic.
Pick #3: Bryce Molder e/w @ 66/1 (Ladbrokes) Molder fits the top putter / proximity to the hole criteria here ranking 8th and 18th in respective stats. Consistent this season if not in top form, this course could be what Molder needs to ignite. If he gets that putter going here, watch out field. Two T30s at the John Deere Classic in the last few years.
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Jhonathan Vegas was a player I tipped at the John Deere Classic last season. I mentioned that this course lends itself to birdie streaks and can be over powered by the bigger hitters and Vegas hit six birdies in a row at the start of his first round last year and his odds came tumbling in from triple figures close to 10.0. He went on to shoot +3 on his back nine only to reload for day two and shoot a bogey free -7 to sit T3rd.
He fell out of things at the weekend but having seen what he's capable of here and with him being currently in decent form and at triple figure odds again, he is definitely worth a small bet in the First round leader market and / or a small bet with a view to trading.
John Daly and Brian Harman are two more at triple figure odds that I have an eye on for this market. Harman holds the joint record of lowest round on tour this year (61) and sits an eye catching 4th in the proximity to the hole stat while Daly is very similar to Vegas. The big man is going to go low again very soon and this course offers a great opportunity.
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