Pete’s Picks: John Deere Classic
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Pete’s Picks: John Deere Classic



The PGA Tour heads to the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic after yet another marathon playoff at Detroit Golf Club.

The Deere was not played last year due to Covid but the event returns this year in its normal place on the schedule the week before The Open Championship. Dylan Frittelli took the title two years ago after shooting 13-under on the weekend for a two-shot win over Russell Henley.

TPC Deere Run is no stranger to low scores, as shown by Paul Goydos firing a 59 in the first round in 2010. Henley shot 61 in the final round in 2019 but it wasn’t quite enough to chase down Frittelli. The field isn’t the greatest—just four of the world’s top 50 are in the field—but there are still plenty of dollars and FedEx Cup points at stake.

FanDuel’s golf format has tiers A, B, C, and D in order from favorites to longshots. There are also two extra tiers that allow players to pick anyone else in the field.

Tier A

Players:

Daniel Berger

Brian Harman

Sungjae Im

Russell Henley

The Pick: Russell Henley

Henley returns to TPC Deere Run in good form after top-20 finishes at both the US Open and the Travelers Championship. He will have fond memories of the John Deere after firing a career-low 61 in the final round to finish second two years ago.

Henley’s ball striking—he ranks fourth in SG: Approach—will play anywhere, and he has been one of the game’s best overall players, ranking in the top-30 in both SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Total. In addition to his recent run of good play, Henley has a trio of top-5 finishes at The Honda Classic, the CJ Cup, and the Zozo Championship.

Tier B

Players:

Cameron Davis

Kevin Streelman

Si Woo Kim

Seamus Power

Alex Noren

Kevin Na

The Pick: Kevin Streelman

Streelman was a trendy pick two weeks ago at the Travelers, where he was a past champion and finished second in 2020. He disappointed with a missed cut that week, but he had four straight top-20 finishes from the PGA Championship and US Open.

When thinking about horses for courses in the Quad Cities, Kevin Streelman is far from the first name that comes to mind. Streelman is far from a bomber, ranking 117th in driving distance, but he is inside the top-50 in driving accuracy. Those driving numbers put Streelman at a respectable 45th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. TPC Deere run is not a bomber’s paradise, so Streelman’s lack of length won’t hurt him. Streelman ranks a solid 33rd in Strokes Gained: Approach, but he’s been even better as of late, gaining 16 shots on the field on approach shots in the last 24 rounds.

Tier C

 Players:

Patton Kizzire

Aaron Wise

Lucas Glover

Zach Johnson

Maverick McNealy

Kyle Stanley

Troy Merritt

Doc Redman

The pick: Patton Kizzire

Kizzire was one of my picks from the field last week. He struggled through three rounds but got it going on Sunday with an 8-under 64 to grind out a top-25 finish. Kizzire ranks 25th in the All-Around ranking and has moved up over 100 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking since the start of 2021.

TPC Deere Run should once again produce plenty of birdies, and Kizzire made 19 of them last week in Detroit, despite making just four in rounds two and three. He’s gaining 18 shots on birdies or better in the last 24 rounds, which is second best of the player’s in the field this week.

Tier D

Players:

Doug Ghim

Jonathan Vegas

Hank Lebioda

Sebastian Munoz

Charles Howell III

Harold Varner III

Ryan Moore

Chez Reavie

The Pick: Hank Lebioda

I’m betting on Lebioda keeping his good form going after back-to-back top-5 finishes at the Travelers and Rocket Mortgage Classic. TPC Deere Run features five par 4s between 400 and 450 yards, and Lebioda ranks second in the field from that range, gaining over 14 shots in the last 24 rounds.

The Deere could quickly turn into a wedge contest, and Lebioda ranks 17th in proximity from 100-125 yards and 33rd in proximity from 50-125 yards. With so many wedges in players’ hands, the field will likely hit plenty of greens, and Lebioda ranks 24th on Tour in GIR percentage. Leboida has also been solid on the greens, ranking 37th in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. Most statistical signs point to another good week for the 27-year old Florida State alum.

Field

The Pick: Satoshi Kodaira

Kodaira missed the cut last week in Detroit, but he has been in good overall form recently with three straight top-20 finishes at the Wells Fargo, Byron Nelson, and Palmetto Championship. Kodaira is another good wedge player, ranking 10th on Tour in proximity from 125-150 yards and 23rd from 100-125 yards.

The Pick: Roger Sloan

Sloan has been statistically balanced this season, ranking in the top-60 in SG: Off-the-Tee, Approach, and Tee-to Green this season. Sloan also ranks in the top-10 in both proximity from 100-125 yards and proximity from 50-125 yards. Sloan has also been in reasonably good form this season, making the cut in 9 of 12 events and posting six top-25 finishes this season.

 

About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a golf writer and a graduate of Emerson College. He previously covered all sports for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and The Washington Times.

When not writing about or playing golf, he can often be found listening to or creating country music.

He can be reached by email at petersanto1129@gmail.com

Follow him on Twitter @_PeterSanto