DraftKings PGA: John Deere Classic
Congratulations to Kevin Na! Firing a final round 64 to come from behind and capture the trophy. The Greenbrier played pretty firm, but there were still plenty of birdies. It was not quite the wedge-fest we were hoping for, but -19 is right in line with past champions.
If you liked the layout of the Greenbrier Old White Course, then you are going to love TPC Deere Run. This week, the PGA tour Silvis Illinois on the Mississippi River. The field is depressed due to the top golfers traveling across the pond for next week’s Open Championship. However, we still have some top-level talent here this week. Defending his crown, Bryson DeChambeau looks to join Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker as the only multiple time winners at the John Deere Classic. Francesco Molinari also returns to action after a victory at the Quicken Loans. In addition to DeChambeau and Molinari, Kyle Stanley and Si-Woo Kim are the only other OWGR top 50 golfers in the field.
TPC Deere Run is one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour schedule. The par-71 plays 7,268 yards and boasts some of the easiest fairways to hit on the tour. It is not because the course is so wide open that the fairways are easy to hit, but it is because the course layout requires distance control off of the tee due to dog-legs and wooded areas. Big hitters have not had a major advantage on this course. This week is all about wedges and putting. The greens are soft and have a fantastic bentgrass roll. I usually don’t place much emphasis on putting, but this is a week that you cannot overlook this stat.
The keys stats that I am focusing on this week for Quicken Loans National DraftKings PGA GPP contests:
Tee to Green Gained
Bentgrass Greens Gained
Birdie or Better Gained
The reason why I chose these key stats is because this course is simple: fairway, wedge, and putt. Birdie or better gained is added because DrafftKings scoring places a huge emphasis on birdies and eagles.
John Deere Classic – Golfers to Target
$11,600 Francesco Molinari
I cannot imagine fading DeChambeau or Molinari this week. They are hands down the best two golfers in the field. Both are playing incredible this year and they seem to fit this course extremely well. Molinari is the best tee-to-green player in the field, and if he is striking hi wedges like he was at Quicken Loans National, he will win by 8 strokes again.
$11,400 Bryson DeChambeau
It is difficult not to play DeChambeau this week. He won the tournament last year and he comes in with amazing 2018 form. He stats out nicely in my model, ranking in the top 10 in the field in 4 of the 7 categories that I am weighing.
$9,700 Kyle Stanley
My model loves Kyle Stanley this week. He is a solid ball striker and a good putter. His form is great, sporting 5 top 20’s in his last 9 events. His course history is also solid, making the cut four consecutive years with a T55, T22, T18 and T63 finishes.
$9,500 Chesson Hadley
Scott Piercy is one of the premier ball-strikers on the tour. He ranks 3rd on the tour in approach gained and 17th in tee-to-green gained. Piercy is also somewhat of a par 4 specialist, ranking in the top 15 in the field in par 4 scoring and par 4 birdie or better. The form has not been excellent, but Piercy has won this year (Zurich Classic) and made the cut in his last event. Piercy finished T29 at this tournament in 2015.
Values to Target
$7,300 Corey Conners
Conners is striking the ball exceptionally well this year. He ranks 14th in the field in approach gained and 11th in the field in tee-to-green gained. His crisp iron play is translating to scoring as well, as he enters the week making 6 of his last 7 cuts. Conners has never played this course, but it should fit his skill set nicely.
$7,200 Trey Mullinax
Mullinax is the bomber of all bombers. He leads the Tour in driving distance and his irons are basically mini cannons. TPC John Deere may seem too short to contain all that length, but Mullinax finished T19 in his first visit here in 2017. Mullinax will be able to score on these par 5’s, and if he is able to gain strokes with his wedges then he will be able to notch his 4th top 10 of the season.
John Deere Classic – Pivot Plays
It is impossible to predict the chalk plays each week with certainty, but here are a few golfers that I (and the DrafKings PGA community) believe will garner high ownership.
Zach Johnson $11,200
Ryan Moore $10,200
Wesley Bryan $9,100
Andrew Putnam $7,600
Scott Stallings $7,500
Brandon Harkins $7,300
$9,700 Kyle Stanley
Stanley is one of my favorite plays this week, and I think he may get overlooked. I am guessing that people will tend to pay up for one of the top golfers this week (Molinari, DeChambeau, Johnson), which means Stanley could get overlooked. Stanley rates out excellently in my model, he has decent course history, and he is coming in with great form. He will be a steal at anything less than 15% ownership.
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$9,300 Austin Cook
Cook will be under-owned this week because of his massive price-tag. People are not going to want to pay top dollar for a guy who was in the 7K range last week. He still only garnered 8% last week. Cook ranks top 15 in my model in putting gained, scoring gained, fairways gained, and birdie or better gained. At single digit ownership I love Lovemark’s upside
$8,000 Aaron Wise
Wise is hemorrhaging right now. He has been on the wrong side of 4 straight cuts, and now he looks to rebound at another course he has never played. People will still play Wise, hoping for another 1st place like at the Byron Nelson, but I expect his ownership to be mid-single digits. Wise stats out nicely in my model. He bombs it off the tee and he is an excellent putter. If he can gain strokes with his wedges this week, he can add another trophy to his mantle.
$6,900 Robert Garrigus
Garrigus fired a +10 in the first two rounds at the Greenbrier. That is going to dramatically depress his ownership. I cannot overlook his value here. He has solid course history (DQ, T22, T24) and he is one of the purest ball-strikers in the field.