It's the last chance for someone to book their place at Royal Portrush. Steve Carroll looks at who might stamp their Open ticket in his John Deere Classic betting tips
Venue: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, USA
Date: July 11-14, 2019
Course stats: Par 71, 7,268 yards
Course summary: You’ve just got to go low at TPC Deere Run. This course provides a birdie fest where, last year, 10 under would have only got you into a tie for 43rd. For these top players, this is a piece of cake where Paul Goydos joined the 59 club nine years ago.
Purse: $6 million
Defending champion: Michael Kim (-27)
Thursday: Featured groups – Sky Sports Golf – red button, 1pm; Sky Sports Golf, 6.30pm; Sky Sports Golf, 9pm; Sky Sports Golf, 10pm
Friday: Featured groups – Sky Sports Golf, red button, 1pm; Sky Sports Golf, 6.30pm; Sky Sports Golf, 9pm; Sky Sports Golf, 10pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf – red button, 6pm; Sky Sports Golf, 8pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 8pm.
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf – red button, 6pm; Sky Sports Golf, 8pm
John Deere Classic betting tips: Steve’s players to follow
With some of the PGA Tour’s leading lights opting for the links charms of Renaissance, or taking a week off before heading to Royal Portrush, there’s an opportunity to pick up a nice pay packet and a two-year exemption.
Joaquin Niemann (22/1) might be the man to do it. The 20-year-old Chilean did little wrong in a tied 23rd finish at the 3M Open last week and that followed consecutive top 5s at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Getting into the swing of week in, week out PGA Tour action was always going to be a challenge and Niemann had a spell during the middle of the campaign where he missed four of five cuts.
But he’s been here for the weekend in his last six and at the business end in two of them. Solid off the tee and good from tee to green in strokes gained, two of his better results have come in low scoring events. Twenty-third on debut last year, this could prove another.
Kevin Streelman (28/1) has popped in four top 10s this season and course form suggests another might be on the cards this week.
Decent showings at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Texas Open, RBC Heritage and Memorial Tournament see the 40-year-old safely ensconced in the middle of the FedEx Cup pack and with his tour card secured for another year.
Now it’s about whether the two-time PGA Tour winner can add to his haul and TPC Deere Run has been a place that has favoured his eye in recent years.
Tied for 7th last year, he was also a top 10 performer here in both 2012 and 2009. With a solid 3M display to boost confidence – where he was around the fringes for a while but never part of the leading pack – Streelman can capitalise on a greens in regulation percentage that puts him in the top 25 on tour.
Accurate off the tee and strong in approaching the green, a hot putter will surely see him enjoy another good week in Illinois.
Zach Johnson (28/1) fell out of the world’s top 100 last week for the first time in 15 years but if there’s a place where he can rediscover lost form then it is TPC Deere Run.
That might surprise those of you that see the American as a steady plodder but the former Open and Masters champion can point to a fantastic record on this track in recent years.
He won in 2012 and has finished in a podium position on a further five occasions in the last 10 years. Fifth as recently as two years ago, and 16th last year, Johnson is worth a punt.
His last top 10 was at the RSM Classic in November last year. I feel, though, there might be signs that he could be on the way back. Johnson played nicely, without doing much, at the Canadian Open and was tied for 58th at the US Open.
But that finish was largely down to a horrendous third round 79, which spoiled three otherwise steady days at Pebble Beach. They say class is permanent, well we might find out this week.
Daniel Berger (30/1) has suffered from a prolonged lean spell in recent months – tied 2nd at the depleted Puerto Rico Open back in February is his only top 10 of the year.
There were signs of a welcome return to form, though, for the two-time St Jude Classic winner when tied 15th at the 3M Open.
And if he can build on that, returning to a course where he finished in the top 5 on his only start in 2017, we could be quids in.
For the latest prices, visit bet365.