John Deere Classic 2024 Tips: Six players to back each-way

 | Monday 1st July 2024, 19:05pm

Monday 1st July 2024, 19:05pm

jamie worsley pga tour

It is off to Illinois for the PGA Tour this week as Silvis is the host city and the TPC Deere Run is the course for this event, which has been going since 1971.

Our golf tipster is here with his in-depth preview and he's picked out six players to consider backing each-way as he takes us through his John Deere Classic 2024 Tips...

John Deere Classic 2024 Betting Tips

  • Nick Dunlap – 1/5 8 places – 1.5 pts ew @ 35/1
  • Eric Cole – 1/5 8 places – 1.25 pts ew @ 45/1
  • Seamus Power – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew @ 60/1
  • Lee Hodges – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew @ 60/1
  • Neal Shipley – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew @ 70/1
  • Troy Merritt – 1/5 8 places – 1 pt ew @ 125/1

*Please click on the linked odds above to add this selection directly to your betslip on betfred.com (or app).

The Open Championship at Royal Troon will round out the men’s major season in two weeks’ time, but before many of the top players descend on the Renaissance Club next week for some links-like preparation in the Scottish Open, the PGA Tour first heads to Illinois for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Beginning life as the Quad Cities Open in 1971, this event changed its name to the John Deere Classic in 1999 and moved to its current home of TPC Deere Run the following year.

Due to wins in 1979, 1991 and 1995, the designer of the host course, D. A. Weibring, is one of just two players to win this event for a record three times. The other being Steve Stricker, who won at TPC Deere Run for three straight years in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

There is then a list of four players with two wins apiece: Deane Beman (1971, 1972), Scott Hoch (1980, 1984), David Frost (1992, 1993) and most recently, Jordan Spieth (2013, 2015).

Last five winners:

  • 2023 – Winner: Sepp Straka (-21); runners-up: Alex Smalley, Brendon Todd (-19)
  • 2022 – Winner: JT Poston (-21); runners-up: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Emiliano Grillo (-18)
  • 2021 – Winner: Lucas Glover (-19); runners-up: Ryan Moore, Kevin Na (-17)
  • 2019 – Winner: Dylan Frittelli (-21); runner-up: Russell Henley (-19)
  • 2018 – Winner: Michael Kim (-27); runners-up: Bronson Burgoon, Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder (-19)

Sepp Straka recorded his second PGA Tour victory at TPC Deere Run last year, beating Alex Smalley and Brendon Todd by two strokes. The Austrian returns this week and looks to become the first player since Steve Stricker in 2011 to successfully defend the title.

THE COURSE

TPC Deere Run was designed by D.A. Weibring and opened for play in 2000. It was renovated by PGA Tour Design Services in 2021 – with a helping hand from Weibring – in which all bunkers at the course were rebuilt and some fairways tightened.

Whilst the latter of those changes has led to less fairways being found than previous, the event still remains one of the lowest scoring on tour, and possesses an average winning score of -21 over the last 10 renewals.

The course is a par 71 and measures in at 7289 yards. It contains 11x par 4s (361-503 yards), 4x par 3s (158-226 yards) and 3x par 5s (561-596 yards).

This tree-lined course is built on moderately rolling, hilly terrain, with elevation changes – both uphill and downhill – throughout.

Whilst driving accuracy numbers have been down in recent years, these largely doglegged, sloping fairways are still fairly generous and easy to find. And although there’s some thick patches of rough and strategic bunkering aside the fairways, they’re not overly penal when you do miss the short grass.

The bentgrass greens are a small(ish) 5,500 sq. ft, though are usually pretty receptive and rank among the top-10 easiest-to-find greens on the PGA Tour over the last five years.

Though the ball-striking challenges are pretty simple, these subtly undulating and sloping greens can be both tricky to read and somewhat demanding to scramble around, with more of that thick rough, along with some deep greenside bunkering, for protection.

Water is only in-play on three holes at the course (2, 10 and 18). It guards the green left on the 561-yard par 5 2nd and the green right on the 596-yard par 5 10th, giving a large sense of risk/reward on what would ordinarily be two of the best scoring opportunities at the course.

It also ensures that there is the possibility for high drama right until the very end of the tournament, hugging the left-hand side of the long 18th green, and players will have to hold their nerve to navigate this potentially disastrous final hole if in contention on Sunday.

THE WEATHER

The hot and sunny but humid conditions will bring with them a threat of thunderstorms at the start of the week, though things look predominantly clear over the weekend.

A mild breeze looks on the cards throughout the week, with gusts at around 25mph on Friday suggesting that the second round will be the most difficult day of the tournament.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regulation
  • Proximity from 125-150 yards

This event is all about making birdies and should see the best iron players and putters rise to the top.

Sepp Straka led the field in greens hits last year and was top-20 in approach, with runner-up, Alex Smalley, ranking 1st in approach and 7th in greens-in-regulation.

JT Poston ranked 4th in GIR and 10th in approach when winning in 2022; a year in which seven of the top-10 ranked inside the top-10 for GIR.

Lucas Glover was 3rd in approach when taking the title in 2021; Michael Kim ranked 3rd in GIR and 14th in approach when winning in 2018; and Ryan Moore was 2nd in approach and 3rd in GIR when he won the 2016 edition.

In addition, this a place where the wedges/mid-irons matter most and it looks especially important for players to be precise on approaches between 125-150 yards this week.

  • SG: Putting (bentgrass)

The ability to putt these somewhat tricky-to-read bentgrass greens is an equally as decisive factor as strong iron play.

Sepp Straka ranked 4th in putting last year, whilst the other runner-up, Brendon Todd, ranked 3rd.

The putter was the most important club in the bag in the 2021 edition, with half of the top-10 ranking inside the top-10 on the greens.

Dylan Frittelli ranked 2nd in putting when he won in 2019; Michael Kim led the field on the greens the year before; Bryson DeChambeau relied on the putter to take the title in 2017, ranking 4th; meanwhile, both 2016 winner, Ryan Moore and 2015 champion, Jordan Spieth also putted well, ranking 13th and 9th respectively.

  • Birdie or better %
  • Par 4 Scoring

Players will likely need to make plenty or birdies+ this week and it looks particularly necessary to take advantage of the scoring chances on the par 4s.

JT Poston, Dylan Frittelli, Ryan Moore and Jordan Spieth all ranked inside the top-25 in par 4 scoring the years they won, with Spieth the joint-best par 4 scorer on tour in 2015.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Shriners Open (TPC Summerlin)

TPC Summerlin is a par 71 of a similar length to TPC Deere run, that typically features low scoring. These two courses rank closely in most aspects, with generous fairways and receptive bentgrass greens simple to find, though also possess reasonably demanding scrambling tests should players start missing the putting surfaces.

With approaches between 125-150 yards prevalent at both venues, it’s easy to see why there is a strong collection of crossover form between these two events.

Notable correlating form:

Bryson DeChambeau:

John Deere (1st) / Shriners (1st)

Ryan Moore:

John Deere (1st) / Shriners (1st)

Jonathan Byrd:

John Deere (1st) / Shriners (1st)

JT Poston:

John Deere (1st) / Shriners (3rd, 4th)

Lucas Glover:

John Deere (1st) / Shriners (3rd)

Kevin Na:

John Deere (2nd) / Shriners (1st, 1st)

Ben Martin:

John Deere (2nd) / Shriners (1st)

Troy Matteson:

John Deere (2nd, 3rd) / Shriners (1st, 5th)

Sam Ryder:

John Deere (2nd) / Shriners (3rd)

David Hearn:

John Deere (2nd) / Shriners (5th, 7th)

Joel Dahmen:

John Deere (2nd) / Shriners (7th, 9th)

Adam Schenk:

John Deere (4th, 4th) / Shriners (3rd)

Barbasol Championship (Keene Trace Golf Club)

Keene Trace Golf Club serves up a similar ball-striking test to TPC Deere Run, with the bentgrass greens ranking as some of the easiest to find on the PGA Tour. It also ranks closely to this week’s course in putting difficulty and with scoring there continually very low, it should act as a sound comp.

Notable correlating form:

JT Poston:

John Deere (1st) / Barbasol (2nd, 5th)

Sepp Straka:

John Deere (1st) / Barbasol (3rd)

Lucas Glover:

John Deere (1st) / Barbasol (5th)

Sam Ryder:

John Deere (2nd) / Barbasol (3rd)

Patrick Rodgers:

John Deere (2nd) / Barbasol (5th)

Luke List:

John Deere (4th) / Barbasol (5th)

Mark Hubbard:

John Deere (6th) / Barbasol (3rd)

Travelers Championship (TPC River Highlands)

TPC River Highlands ranks closely to TPC Deere Run in most aspects statistically. A moderately hilly, tree-lined course, with small bentgrass greens and a necessity for quality in approach from 125-150 yards, it looks a strong comp for this week.

Notable correlating form:

Jordan Spieth:

John Deere (1st, 1st) / Travelers (1st)

Kenny Perry:

John Deere (1st) / Travelers (1st)

Ryan Moore:

John Deere (1st, 2nd) / Travelers (2nd, 2nd)

Brian Harman:

John Deere (1st) / Travelers (2nd, 3rd, 5th)

JT Poston:

John Deere (1st) / Travelers (2nd)

Patrick Rodgers:

John Deere (2nd) / Travelers (3rd)

Jerry Kelly:

John Deere (3rd, 4th) / Travelers (2nd)

Danny Lee:

John Deere (3rd) / Travelers (3rd)

Chris Stroud:

John Deere (4th, 5th) / Travelers (2nd)

Chez Reavie:

John Deere (5th) / Travelers (1st)

Kevin Streelman:

John Deere (7th, 8th, 8th) / Travelers (1st)

3M Open (TPC Twin Cities)

I found the 3M at TPC Twin Cities to be the strongest comp for this week’s event from a statistical point of view. The two courses rank similarly in all aspects, both ball-striking and in the short-game areas on/around the bentgrass greens.

Notable correlating form:

JT Poston:

John Deere (1st) / 3M Open (2nd)

Emiliano Grillo:

John Deere (2nd) / 3M Open (2nd, 3rd)

Sam Ryder:

John Deere (2nd) / 3M Open (7th)

Jhonattan Vegas:

John Deere (3rd) / 3M Open (2nd)

Keith Mitchell:

John Deere (7th) / 3M Open (5th, 5th)

Rocket Mortgage Classic (Detroit Golf Club)

The tree-lined Detroit Golf Club possesses similarly generous fairways and receptive bentgrass greens; a relatively stress-free ball-striking test that usually leads to comparably low scoring in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Notable correlating form:

Bryson DeChambeau:

John Deere (1st) / Rocket Mortgage (1st)

Lucas Glover:

John Deere (1st) / Rocket Mortgage (4th)

Sepp Straka:

John Deere (1st) / Rocket Mortgage (8th)

Cam Davis:

John Deere (8th) / Rocket Mortgage (1st)

Cameron Young:

John Deere (6th) / Rocket Mortgage (2nd)

Hank Lebioda:

John Deere (8th) / Rocket Mortgage (4th)

Cameron Tringale:

John Deere (9th) / Rocket Mortgage (5th)

Wyndham Championship (Sedgefield Country Club)

Finally, Sedgefield Country Club is another classic, tree-lined course with a similar tee-to-green challenge as this week’s course, and has some of the strongest recent form-ties on offer.

Notable correlating form:

Lucas Glover:

John Deere (1st) / Wyndham (1st)

JT Poston:

John Deere (1st) / Wyndham (1st)

Ryan Moore:

John Deere (1st, 2nd) / Wyndham (1st)

Brian Harman:

John Deere (1st) / Wyndham (3rd)

Michael Kim:

John Deere (1st) / Wyndham (5th)

Kevin Na:

John Deere (2nd) / Wyndham (2nd, 4th)

Russell Henley:

John Deere (2nd) / Wyndham (2nd, 5th)

David Hearn:

John Deere (2nd) / Wyndham (8th)

Scott Brown:

John Deere (4th, 5th) / Wyndham (3rd)

THE FIELD

After world #8, Patrick Cantlay’s withdrawal, we are left with just eight of the world’s top-50 in this week’s field. This includes defending champion Sepp Straka (#24) and former two-time winner, Jordan Spieth (#32).

Straka and Spieth are two of eight former winners in attendance, joined by JT Poston (2022), Lucas Glover (2021), Dylan Frittelli (2019), Michael Kim (2018), Ryan Moore (2016) and Zach Johnson (2012).

We also have many of the same youngsters who performed well last week back in action, with current #4 amateur, Luke Clanton and the leading amateur from The Masters and US Open, Neal Shipley – who finished 10th and 20th respectively in the Rocket Mortgage Classic – hoping to give another good account of themselves at this level.

SELECTIONS

*You can get all the up to date and Live John Deere Classic Odds over on betfred.com

Market leaders:

Patrick Cantlay’s withdrawal certainly gives this event an even more open feel, as with his recent form and suitability to the test, he looked sure to go well.

As a two-time winner of the event, it could be the ideal spot to spark Jordan Spieth into life before heading across to the UK. Whilst last year’s winner, Sepp Straka, will be hoping for a similar run over these next few weeks to what he had last year, as a win at TPC Deere Run was then followed by a runner-up finish in The Open on his next start.

My tentative vote at the top of the betting would be for the Austrian in defence of his title this week, but I think there’s more value to be found further down the betting. After a 10th-place finish last week that was engineered by a superb ball-striking performance, I’m going to give Nick Dunlap another shot.

Nick Dunlap

Last week’s result was the former #1 amateur’s best since he made that incredible breakthrough in the AmEx at the start of the year, when still holding amateur status.

After some in-and-out form following that win, he’s had some positive results of late, finishing 24th at Quail Hollow and was 12th in the Memorial Tournament three starts ago; before securing his first top-10 since January last week.

Dunlap fired every round under par there and hit the ball beautifully. He led the field in greens-in-regulation and when combining his off-the-tee/approach rankings of 6th and 7th, he ranked as the second-best ball-striker in the field.

Ultimately, though predominantly looking good on the greens this year, he couldn’t quite hole enough to get truly involved last week, ranking 42nd overall in putting. But gaining strokes in three of his four rounds, he wasn’t all that far away with the club.

Dunlap displayed his birdie-fest credentials with that win in California at the start of the year, firing -29 for the win and with his performance last week on his first try at Detroit Golf Club acting as a decent piece of comp form, he looks well worth another shot on this somewhat similar setup.

Eric Cole

2023 Rookie of the Year, Eric Cole, has found the going tough in recent months but turned his form around last week, recording his best result of the year with a 6th-place finish in Detroit. With his strength in approach and on the greens showing signs of returning to full force, and showing plenty of promise at this course last year, he can carry through the momentum from last week to achieve his breakthrough victory.

Cole actually started this year well, recording six top-25s in his first nine starts but had been on a poor run of form prior to last week’s effort, missing seven of his previous 12 cuts and hitting the top-40 on just two occasions.

Though not showing the consistency of last year, he had been having some good rounds in approach and was improving on the greens, gaining strokes in two of his previous three starts.

In ranking 15th last week, Cole produced his best approach display since the Valspar Championship all the way back in March and though a difficult day on the greens on Saturday impacted his overall numbers, he looked solid with the putter on the other three days.

It was these areas that engineered his superb year last year, as he ranked 13th in putting and 19th in approach for the 2023 season. As a player who is strong with his wedges and knows how to make plenty of birdies – especially on the par 4s - if he is about to go on a good run of  form, TPC Deere Run should be a good fit.

Cole did miss the cut here on debut in 2021 when still largely unknown, though showed promise last year, opening with three rounds in the 60s before a final round 71 saw him fall to 42nd on the leaderboard.

With a 3rd-place finish in the Shriners Open, that 6th last week in Detroit and other strong performances in the Wyndham and Travelers Championships, his comp form certainly suggests he’s capable of better here and I’m expecting him to prove that this week.

Seamus Power

Seamus Power has had some good performances in strong company over recent months and coming to a place at which he’s rarely failed to fire, he looks a very appealing price to lift the trophy.

Power was slow to get going this year after returning from a hip injury but has had some commendable performances in this year’s Signature Events, finishing 12th in the RBC Heritage, 16th in the Wells Fargo Championship and last time out he was 20th in the Travelers Championship. With many of the top names he’s been up against in those events absent this week, he can finally turn a solid display into a contending one in Illinois.

He has been steady tee-to-green for most of the year but has impressed most in approach, ranking 68th and is especially strong in that 125-150yd range, ranking 24th. The putter hasn’t quite been as strong as in recent years but he does come into this after three positive strokes-gained performances in a row, and as someone who often does his best work on bentgrass, he should appreciate the surfaces here.

This has proven to be the case across Power’s five previous visits to TPC Deere Run, where he’s gained strokes on the greens in every start and finished inside the top-25 on four occasions, recording a best of 8th in 2021. As the winner of the 2021 Barbasol Championship, he has a high-class piece of correlating form and I fancy him to take advantage of this weaker field to become a three-time PGA Tour winner this week.

Lee Hodges

Lee Hodges disappointed with a missed cut in last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. Although, there was enough in his second round to tempt me into giving him another chance here at a course that should also suit.

Hodges entered last week in good form, having made each of his previous five cuts, which included 12th-place finishes in the PGA Championship and Charles Schwab Challenge.

Things didn’t quite go to plan, as he hit the ball poorly and failed to find anything on the greens to record a 1-over par score in round one, but he bounced back with a 3-under 69 in round two, looking much better with the long game and putter. He gave himself every chance to make the cut after his front nine, before a couple of bogeys on the back halted his charge up the leaderboard.

He went into last week producing his best run of iron play this season, ranking 3rd over his previous 20 rounds, and had also been top-30 on the greens. Indeed it’s these areas in which he excels in most this year, especially with his irons, ranking 38th in approach for the season and he is also a rock-solid 39th from 125-150 yards.

Hodges has only played TPC Deere Run once previously, finishing a solid 43rd in 2022. His emphatic seven-stroke victory in last year’s 3M Open shows just what he can do in similar low-scoring events with bentgrass greens and with that second round last week alleviating my concerns of an oncoming regression in form, it was an easy decision to go back in on him this week.

Neal Shipley

Neal Shipley’s impressive amateur performances have shown little sign of drying up in the pro ranks and as one of the standout iron players in last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, he looks the pick of the youngsters at the prices.

Shipley has gained major recognition for taking the low amateur title at both this year’s Masters and US Open, looking particularly impressive at Pinehurst, finishing 26th. Though he’s a player who has been making waves in the amateur ranks for several years now.

He had many high-class performances last year, though no doubt the best of them was his 2nd-place finish to Nick Dunlap in the US Amateur at Cherry Hills. Carrying that form over into 2024, he achieved the biggest win of his amateur career in the Southwestern Invitational at the start of the year; an event previously won by Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay and Sahith Theegala among others.

Shipley turned pro right after the US Open and followed a 9th on his PGA Tour Americas debut by finishing 20th on his PGA Tour pro debut last week

He was one of the best tee-to-green players in the field, ranking 6th and especially excelled in approach, ranking 2nd. Solid performances on the greens over the opening two rounds regressed over the weekend, though he did putt adequately at each of those two major appearances this year.

We can’t be too sure of exactly what type of player Shipley will become, though he did show periods of red-hot scoring last week. He clearly possesses enormous potential, regardless of how he decides to display it and surely able to draw inspiration from his US Amateur conqueror, Dunlap, winning on tour at the start of the year, I see no reason why this fearless youngster won’t once again go well this week.

Troy Merritt

At the other end of the experience scale, two-time PGA Tour winner, Troy Merritt has recorded his two best finishes of the year on similar setups in recent starts and looks a big price to end his six-year wait for a third PGA Tour victory.

Though starting the year with a top-25 in Hawaii, Merritt largely struggled for form over the first few months. However, he arrives this week after recording his only two top-25s over the course of his last five starts.

His best finish came exactly five starts ago, as he finished 9th in the CJ CUP Byron Nelson and looked to have every chance of bettering that last week, though had to settle for a 17th-place finish due to a final-round 73. Where the highlight of his week was an 8-under 64 in round two.

What stands out about both of this year’s best efforts is that they each came in typically low-scoring contests on bentgrass greens, conditions similar to what he’ll find this week. Which I’m hoping will lead to him recording a new best for the year.

He was solid across the board there and has been hitting his irons well for a number of weeks now, ranking a strong 36th between 125-150 yards. At a place that largely relies on the wedges, he should relish this week’s course with his irons in this form.

Merritt has had some positive finishes here but produced his finest performance yet when 17th last year, where he ranked 2nd tee-to-green. As a winner of the Barbasol; a runner-up in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and possessing top-10s in the 3M Open and Travelers Championship, his comp form is encouraging and give me confidence in him outplaying his large odds at TPC Deere Run.

*You can get all of Betfred's live Golf Odds over on the main site.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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