What a wild couple weeks of golf, eh? After Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open in thrilling, clutch fashion, Xander Schauffele took advantage of a late Sahith Theegala mistake to emerge victorious at the Travelers Championship last week.
The Tour now brings a light field to TPC Deere Run for the John Deere Classic this weekend. Lucas Glover is the defending champion and historically, this has a been a birdie-fest that anyone can win.
Who should bettors look to for value this week? Before we get to my picks, let's check out the odds leaderboard from WynnBET Sportsbook and some key stats to keep in mind:
Odds to Win the 2022 John Deere Classic
- Webb Simpson: +1200
- Adam Hadwin: +1800
- Sahith Theegala: +2200
- Charles Howell III: +2500
- Denny McCarthy: +2800
- Jason Day: +3300
- Maverick McNealy: +3300
- Adam Long: +3500
- Brendan Todd: +3500
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout: +3500
How to Handicap the John Deere Classic
At a tournament where recent winners include Lucas Glover, Dylan Frittelli, Michael Kim and Ryan Moore, this is truly a weekend where anyone can win.
TPC Deere Run is a beautiful, par-71 course with wide fairways and relatively easy attack angles. More than half of the holes traditionally play under par, and with bentgrass greens the weekend typically turns into a low-scoring birdie fest that comes down to who has the hottest putter.
The course features 11 par-4's but is not particularly long, so precision on short approach shots is key to giving yourself birdie looks.
Being long and accurate off the tee isn't as important due to the easier nature of the design, though the rough is punishing if you don't meet a minimum threshold of accuracy. We're looking for moderately accurate, yet streaky players that can catch fire.
In nine of the last 12 years, the winner finished -20 or better. Thus, we need guys that can go low. Given the wide-open nature of the tournament, I'm not overly interested in guys at the very top of the leaderboard and instead prefer to look for value in the mid-tier.
Key Stats for the 2022 John Deere Classic
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Approach 50-125 Yards
- Birdies or Better Percentage
- Par 4 Efficiency 400-450 Yards
- Par 4 Scoring
- Strokes Gained: Putting (Bent)
- Consecutive Birdies/Eagles Streak
Picks to Win the 2022 John Deere Classic
Maverick McNealy (+3300)
Fun fact, Stanford freshmen aren't allowed to have cars on campus. Thus, upperclassmen with no use for parking passes often buy one to give to a freshman that has a car. I bought one for Maverick my junior year, so it's only right he pays me back by winning the John Deere Classic.
While his recent performance is discouraging, McNealy fits the profile I'm looking for this weekend. He's among the best in the field at approach shots from 50-125 yards out and maintains his accuracy even in the rough. One of the best putters competing, he leads the Tour in Consecutive Birdies/Eagles Streak so we know he can catch fire.
As a cherry on top, he leads the field in Birdie or Better Percentage. His game has been shaky lately, but an easier course should do McNealy wonders. It's time to pay me back, good sir.
Nick Hardy (+3500)
Hardy returned from injury in impressive fashion, posting finishes of T35-T14-8 over the last few weeks. He ranks 22nd on Tour in approaches from 50-125 yards and third in approaches from 125-150 yards in the rough.
I'm looking for golfers who can give themselves birdie looks and convert them. Well, Hardy fits that bill perfectly. He's 18th in GIR (Greens In Regulation) Percentage and 27th in Total Putting. He also ranks 35th in Par 4 Birdie or Better Percentage.
We know Hardy can go low as evidenced by his 64 in the second round of the Travelers, so I love taking a shot on him to continue his steady improvement.
Cam Davis (+4000)
Davis is another streaky golfer that's excellent on short approach shots and can get hot with his putter. He's one of the best in the field at Par 4 holes between 400-450 yards and leads the Tour in Bounce Back Percentage, so if he does make a mistake he's likely to get that shot back quickly.
Having made the cut in four straight events with two top-seven finishes in his last six tournaments, Davis fits the profile I'm looking for. He hits fairways and when he's feeling it, there are few golfers more capable of ratting off a bunch of birdies.
Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here