Winner’s Share – $846,000
Course – TPC Deere Run (7,268 yards Par 71)
Our 2014 Picks – Brendon De Jonge (T45), Billy Hurley III (MC), Jerry Kelly (T3), Kyle Stanley (T63), Jason Bohn (MC)
For those of you who read the blog on a weekly basis, we’re sure you would have been as annoyed as us over the last few months – no winners and money seeping out of every orifice.
So to see Danny Lee (150/1) win the 4-man play-off on Sunday was an emotional moment. And by emotion we mean get the beers out.
In honour of the great man we’d like you to watch this video.
It’s always tough to follow up big win but we’re going to ride the crest of this wave and see if we can bring in some money just in time for the Open.
The John Deere is renowned for birdies, pure and simple. The last 6 winners have shot at least -19 with Stricker, who loves it here, reaching -26 for his win in 2010. So how do we make birdies? Finding fairways. Holing putts.
Brian Harman would have been a tough pick last year having missed the cut in his two previous tournaments. But he did record a top 20 two years prior. Of the last 8 winners, only Jordan Spieth didn’t have a top 20 coming in. It’s likely Spieth will be the exception in many stats over the next few years… All of this means course form is essential.
It’s by no means a long track, at 7,200 yards, which means any sort of player can win here. If you’re finding greens and holing putts, it doesn’t matter how you’ve got there. Inevitably it will boil down to getting in done over the weekend on the greens – any Lucas Glover’s out there, steer clear.
You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
Steven Bowditch (60/1 Coral)
The Aussie deservedly grabs our number one spot this week. The last couple of years have seen Bowditch take it to a whole new level, picking up 2 wins (the last of which was 2 months ago at the Byron Nelson) and a top 30 at Augusta, at the first time of asking.
After inevitably going off the boil for a few weeks post-victory, Steve has returned 2 top 15’s in his last 2 starts. Look closer and you’ll find that he also ranked 2nd in putting last week, behind Danny Lee. It will be a putting contest on Sunday, no doubt about it, so this confidence on the greens will be huge.
Currently ranks inside the top 50 in birdie %, par 3 and par 4 scoring. He knows how to shoot low and his 4 rounds in the 60’s last week shows he’s more ready than ever. Has also finished inside the top 12 in his last two John Deere Classics, ticking the all important course form box.
Brian Harman (40/1 Stan James)
If there is a course you can go back-to-back on it seems like it’s this one. A win at the John Deere breeds confidence to go again. Ask Steve Stricker – he won 3 years on the trot. Let alone Zach Johnson who has only finished outside the top 3 once in 6 years.
We’ll admit that the aforementioned Johnson worries us but at 10/1 what can you do? Otherwise, the people above Harman in the market don’t scare us which makes 40’s good value.
We said in the preview Harman missed two cuts coming into this last year. This tells us TPC Deere Run sparks something in his game. Well, Harman finished 3rd at the Travelers 2 weeks ago – ranking 2nd GIR and 13th putting. That tells us the spark is already there. If he can merge his current form with the performance he showed last year, there’s no doubting he’ll go close.
Scott Langley (100/1 Stan James)
Has finished 27th and 33rd here the last two years which shows there’s at least some affinity with the track. But more important is his current form. 25th at the Travelers and 13th last week.
He ranked 8th GIR and 23rd putting at the Greenbrier and was even better two weeks ago – 2nd GIR. Interestingly, he was the 5th worst putter to have made the cut at the Travelers which shows he regained some of his mojo with the short stick last week.
Jhonattan Vegas (150/1 Coral)
Since shoulder surgery at the back end of 2013, we’ve not seen a lot of Vegas. Every now and then he reminds us of what he’s all about though and we definitely saw that at the Greenbrier. But for a horror Saturday, where he shot 76, Vegas would have been right in the mixer. Perhaps being in contention going into the weekend was a bit much but the fact he shot 67 on Sunday shows he picked himself back up and found his game.
Vegas playing well excites us and what excites us more is the fact he finished 3rd here last year – particularly impressive when you see his best finish here prior to that was 68th. Then we delve into his Greenbrier stats and see he ranked 4th GIR. All he needs is the putter to get hot and what better place to do it – that 3rd place last year was his best finish since his T3 at the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open, and hasn’t bettered it since.
Johnson Wagner (175/1 Paddy Power)
Very much like Danny Lee last week, we’ll end on a couple more stat-motivated picks.
After 5 missed cuts in a row, Wagner played a whole lot better at the Greenbrier last week. He ranked T2 GIR and shot all 4 rounds in the 60’s. Like Vegas, the putter was nowhere to be seen. But he too had a very successful 2014 at the John Deere, finishing 7th. Delve deeper and you’ll find he ranks 39th hole proximity, 34th ball striking and 4th par 3 performance. He also ranks 6th for putts inside 10 feet – we like this stat the most.
Billy Hurley III (200/1 Paddy Power)
This guy is in the Jason Bohn mould for always ticking boxes when it comes to stats. But when you see they’ve done well previously on a certain courses it always grabs your interest. Billy finished 8th here in 2012 which he won’t have forgotten about. That was his 6th best-ever finish on the PGA Tour.
The American finished 37th last week with 67’s in his first and last rounds. One thing you’re always guaranteed with Hurley is straight hitting and consistent putting and the Greenbrier was no different with him ranking 3rd in putting.
If he can combine his putting with the other stats we see him doing well in (12th hole proximity, 24th par 3, 37th driving accuracy) then 200/1 is an absolute snip.
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£1.25 e/w on Steven Bowditch at 60/1 (Coral)
£1.75 e/w on Brian Harman at 40/1 (Stan James)
£0.75 e/w on Scott Langley at 100/1 (Stan James)
£0.50 e/w on Jhonattan Vegas 150/1 (Coral)
£0.40 e/w on Johnson Wagner 175/1 (Paddy Power)
£0.35 e/w on Billy Hurley III 200/1 (Paddy Power)
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.
Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
European Tour: £45.50
PGA Tour: £-19.00
European Tour: £-100.62