PGA Tour Odds: John Deere Classic a Final British Open Tuneup

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:24 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018 12:24 PM UTC

The PGA Tour heads to America’s heartland this week for the John Deere Classic, the last warmup for players ahead of the British Open.

The PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic is in a very tough spot on the annual schedule one week ahead of the British Open. Many players don’t like to play the week before a major, choosing to practice on their own or at the course where the major is being held. Being ahead of the British Open is even worse than a placement ahead of the Masters, U.S. Open or PGA Championship because of the travel involved and the fact that British Open golf is a completely different style than the vast majority of American courses – i.e. links style.

So, for the past several years organizers of the John Deere Classic have chartered a private plane free of charge to fly any competitors in their tournament to the British Open site on Sunday night after the conclusion of the John Deere. In addition, there is one spot still available for the British Open, going to the highest top-five finisher not already qualified.

Still, the tournament has struggled to draw a good field. Many top players opt to play in the European Tour’s Scottish Open the week before the British Open, and that’s the case this year with guys like Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson in Scotland (potentially four more British Open spots are available there). In addition, the 2018 John Deere saw an epidemic of withdrawals last week, including Kevin Na (last week’s winner in West Virginia), Brandt Snedeker (a guy I liked to win), Charles Howell III, Daniel Berger, Geoff Ogilvy and Retief Goosen; Goosen played a British Open qualifier earlier this week in England and got in so he just stayed overseas.

The John Deere Classic, played since 1992, is at TPC Deere Run, a par 71 measuring 7,268 yards in Silvis, Ill., which is right on the border with Iowa. It’s one of the easier courses on the Tour schedule. Paul Goydos shot a 59 here in 2010. Steve Stricker shot a 60 that year on the way to setting a tournament record overall score of 26-under 258. He won this event three straight times from 2009-11, the last player to do that at any tournament. He’s back this week and is +2000 at 5Dimes.

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First wins bring out all the emotions.@B_DeChambeau will defend his first TOUR title this week at the @JDCLASSIC. pic.twitter.com/GAZvz3oKNA

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 9, 2018
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Back-to-Back for Bryce or Francesco?

In one regard, two players are looking for back-to-back wins this week and are the two betting favorites at 5Dimes. Francesco Molinari (+1000) got his first career PGA Tour win last time out at the Quicken Loans National outside, Washington, D.C. The Italian really has it rolling right now as he also has a victory (BMW PGA Championship) and a runner-up (Italian Open) in his past two Euro Tour events. It’s his debut here.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1100) is the defending champion, rallying from four behind third-round leader Patrick Rodgers on Sunday by shooting a 65 to finish at 18-under 266 to win by a shot over Rodgers. That was DeChambeau’s first Tour win, but he has added the Memorial Tournament earlier this year.

The hometown favorite here is Zach Johnson (+1200), who is also on the tournament board. This track suits Johnson to a T as since 2009 he has made the cut all nine times with a win, three runners-up and two thirds with a scoring average under 67. He was T5 last year.

Another potential Horse for the Course, albeit with a much smaller sample size, is Wesley Bryan (+4500), who was third here last year and 8th in 2016 in his only two trips.

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.@ZachJohnsonPGA's last 36 rounds @JDCLASSIC:

67
70
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65
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71
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65
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66
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69#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/kZEbf0FjFg

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 9, 2018
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The Picks

Absolutely have to take Johnson for a Top 10, and he’s -105 for one at Bovada. Also take Ryan Moore (+140) for one as he won in 2016 and was seventh in 2014 and eighth in 2012. The winner is Kyle Stanley at +2500. He has made the cut here seven of the past eight years with four top 25s (runner-up in 2011). He’s also having a solid season.

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