Following a two-week stint in New England, the PGA TOUR heads to TPC Deere Run (par 71, 7,289 yards, bentgrass greens) in Silvis, Illinois for the John Deere Classic. Outside of 2020, when this event was cancelled amid the Coronavirus pandemic, TPC Deere Run has been the only course to host a John Deere Classic since 2000. Last season, Lucas Glover broke a 10-year drought without a victory, winning this event by two shots at -19.
Undeniably, TPC Deere Run is one of the easiest tracks used at the PGA TOUR level. Prior to Glover’s win last season, nine of the previous 11 golfers to pick up a victory at this par 71 shot -20 or better. With easy to find fairways and extra length off the tee not necessary at TPC Deere Run, contending at this birdie fest comes down to catching fire with both your irons and putter. Of the last five victors at TPC Deere Run, three have ranked inside the top 10 in SG APP. Furthermore, four have ranked T8 or better in SGP, showing you how important it is to target golfers who are in encouraging form with their flat stick or own positive splits on bentgrass.
The three par 5s at TPC Deere Run rank as three of the four easiest holes on the scorecard and while taking advantage of these holes is important, scoring on the par 4s still reigns supreme at this par 71. A year ago, Glover led his field in SG on the par 4s at TPC Deere Run, making him the third consecutive champion in Silvis to do so.
After seeing a star-studded field compete at the Travelers Championship this past week, the John Deere Classic presents the weakest field of the season. With Daniel Berger withdrawing Monday morning, Webb Simpson, who currently ranks 58th in the world, is the highest ranked golfer teeing it up at TPC Deere Run. Still, there are many appealing cheap value plays to consider in the bottom half of this player pool, who absolutely have a chance to contend in this weak field.
Below, I break down four of my preferred options that are priced under $7.5K on DraftKings for the John Deere Classic.
Hank Lebioda ($7,300) – After a rocky start to his season, Lebioda is finally starting to look like the player we saw rack up five top-20 finishes in a two-month span last summer. The Florida State graduate comes into this week as the maker of four of his last five cuts, including a pair of top-30 finishes. If we take a deeper dive into this stretch, we will see Lebioda has gained at least three strokes with his irons in back-to-back starts and has gained strokes with his flat stick in three of his last five. Specifically, Lebioda loves bentgrass greens, ranking fourth in this field in total strokes gained when we compare all these players’ last 50 rounds at courses with this green type. The 28-year-old ranked fifth in SGP on these bentgrass greens at TPC Deere Run last season en route to a T8 finish and is one of the better bargains of the week at this depressed salary, which is a $1.1K discount from his price at this event a year ago.
Nate Lashley ($7,200) – Lashley heads to Silvis on the heels of a T25 at the Travelers. During that finish, the 39-year-old gained strokes in every major category and was one of only 14 players to shoot under par for all four rounds of the tournament. Excluding his WD from the Wells Fargo Championship, Lashley has now advanced to the weekend in seven of his last 10 starts, with all seven of these finishes being top-30 results. Plus, Lashley has been one of the best par-4 players on the PGA TOUR this season, ranking fifth in par-4 efficiency, and he posted a T26 in his lone attempt at TPC Deere Run two years ago. That same season, Lashley broke through for the first win of his career, finishing -25 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which just like the John Deere Classic, is an event that offers weak competition and yields very low scoring. Clearly, Lashley brings much better upside than his soft salary suggests, which is evident when we compare DFS pricing to outright odds. On the DraftKings Sportsbook, Lashley and Lanto Griffin both carry +6500 odds to win the John Deere Classic, but the former is $1K cheaper for DFS purposes.
Ryan Moore ($7,200) – His last time out, Moore extended his cut streak to four in a row with a T35 at the Canadian Open, while gaining a season-high 5.2 strokes from T2G in the process. The veteran also produced 2.5 strokes on APP that week, marking the seventh time in his last nine starts Moore has gained strokes with his irons. The 34-year-old’s putter hasn’t been great, losing strokes at back-to-back events, but Moore has a long history of performing well on bentgrass, ranking second in total strokes gained when we analyze this field’s last 50 rounds at venues with this certain type of green. Last, but not least, TPC Deere Run is by far Moore’s favorite track on the annual PGA TOUR schedule. At this par 71, he has only missed one cut in 12 tries and carded eight top-30 finishes, most notably with a win in 2016 and a runner-up finish just last season. At only $7.2K — which is the cheapest Moore has ever been priced for a John Deere Classic by a significant amount — he is one of the top value plays available this week.
Sam Ryder ($7,100) – Ryder is also coming off a promising showing at Travelers, finishing T35, which was capped off by a closing round 4-under 66. For the week, the 32-year-old ranked 15th in SGT2G and fifth in SG APP. In fact, Ryder gained the same amount of strokes with his irons as Xander Schauffele, who went on to win the tournament. Ryder did lose strokes with his putter, but returning to the bentgrass greens at TPC Deere Run should bring his flat stick back to life. Across his three appearances at this par 71, Ryder is averaging an immense 5.2 SGP on these bentgrass putting surfaces, lifting him to a spotless 3/3 record at TPC Deere Run, including a T18 in 2019 and a runner-up finish in 2018. Combining Ryder’s trending up form as a ball striker with his love for these greens in Silvis feels like an undeniable recipe for success, making him a must-have at this low price.
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