The John Deere Classic gets underway this week at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Steve Stricker has owned this event and is the 3-time defending champion. He will probably be tops on most people’s picks this week, and mine won’t be any exception. The TPC Deere Run track allows for players to go really low, and Stricker’s tournament record -26 in 2010 proves that. In 2010 the course let up a 59 by Paul Goydos AND a 60 by eventual winner Stricker. So look for guys on your roster who have a tendency to get hot and throw a low score in there.
A Group – As I mentioned above, there isn’t really any reason NOT to pick Steve Stricker this week. Since he’ll be the popular choice among most people in your respective league’s you probably won’t gain much in the way of standings. Stricker has four top 10s in 11 starts this season, and all eyes will be on him this week to make history. Backing him up I like fellow mid-Westerner Zach Johnson who’s posted two top 3s at this event in the last three years.
B Group - Ken Duke proved to be a solid pick for me last week, I just wish I had started him well before Sunday (Duke went 66-68-65-70). So I’ll be riding the hot hand again this week and will start Duke who currently ranks 6th in scoring average before the cut (wish I knew that last week!). Duke has also been a top 10 machine, posting 6 of them so far this year. Charley Hoffman gets the start along with Duke. Hoffman was co-runner up at the Travelers just a few weeks ago, and finished T7 at the John Deere last year. One interesting option on the bench is Tim Clark. Clark shot all four rounds in the 60s at the Travelers and placed T4. He also has a great track record at TPC Deere Run, where he’s posted T7 (2010) and 2nd (2007).
C Group – To start the C group I like Jonathan Byrd, who is a past champion of the event (2007). Byrd ranked 2nd in the field in birdies last week at the Greenbrier, and was in contention before fading over the weekend. Backing him up will be the guy who came out of nowhere last week, Charlie Beljan. Beljan shot a 62 in the 2nd round last week and followed that up with a pair of 67′s on the weekend to finish T3. He’s rolling with a lot of confidence after last week.
Starting Foursome: Steve Stricker, Ken Duke, Charley Hoffman, Jonathan Byrd
On the Bench: Zach Johnson, Brendan de Jong, Tim Clark, Charlie Beljan