The 156-man field is set for the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities area of Illinois. The field lacks punch, with most of golf’s marquee names either in Scotland prepping for next week’s Open Championship, or taking the week off. However, there are still plenty of recognizable players in action.
TPC Deere Run, which has hosted the event since 2000, is a 7,268-yard par-71 course that places an emphasis on the approach game and putting. Distance and accuracy off the tee aren’t critical, so skilled wedge players have the advantage.
Here, we rank the top 10 in the field (betting odds in parentheses):
10. Chris Kirk (33-1)
Kirk’s run of six straight cuts made includes three top-15 finishes and a sixth-place finish at the St. Jude Classic in June. His extended time off is slightly concerning. But in a weak field, Kirk’s strong tee-to-green game makes him an obvious contender.
9. Austin Cook (33-1)
The front-runner to win the Rookie of the Year award heads to the John Deere Classic after finishing tied for fifth at The Greenbrier.is an exceptional putter, a common skill among previous winners at TPC Deere Run. His iron play needs to improve, but if it does, Cook could easily pick up his second win this season.
8. Joaquin Niemann (18-1)
continues to impress as a 19-year-old, officially picking up his 2019 PGA Tour card with a top-five finish last week at The Greenbrier. He has four top-10 results in eight events as a pro and is a favorite to win his first PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic. There was another 19-year-old to win for the first time at TPC Deere Run. His name? Jordan Spieth.
7. Ryan Moore (18-1)
won the 2016 John Deere Classic and has also finished inside the top 10 twice in the last six years. He continues to gain a ton of strokes tee to green, piling up 50 over his last seven events. If his putter gets going this week, Moore will be in line for his second win at TPC Deere Run.
6. Wesley Bryan (33-1)
owns one of the PGA Tour’s elite wedge games, ranking third in proximity from 125-150 yards, a key distance at TPC Deere Run. His wildness off the tee is mitigated at this event, as he can keep the driver in the bag for much of the round. In his only two appearances at the John Deere Classic Bryan finished third and tied for eighth.
5. Chesson Hadley (22-1)
ranks fourth in strokes gained: approach this season, and he hasn’t lost strokes with his irons in 19 of his last 20 events. That’s the recipe for success at TPC Deere Run – hit as many greens in regulation as possible and pray a few putts drop in. Hadley is in for a big week.
4. Steve Stricker (22-1)
won the John Deere Classic three straight years from 2009 to 2011. His infrequent appearances on the PGA Tour seem to result in high finishes, most notably an impressive top 20 at the U.S. Open. Stricker has made four straight cuts on Tour, and heads to a course he could navigate blindfolded.
3. Francesco Molinari (10-1)
continues to surprisingly show up to mediocre PGA Tour events, and this week isn’t heading back to Europe for the Scottish Open. That approach worked two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National, where he ran away with an eight-shot win. If Molinari continues his torrid play, another dominating victory is possible.
2. Bryson DeChambeau (11-1)
Last year’s John Deere Classic winner is in great form to defend his title.won the Memorial a few weeks ago and finished tied for ninth at the Travelers Championship. His remarkable par-5 scoring ability will give him an edge over the rest of the field. Bryson has an incredible opportunity to repeat.
1. Zach Johnson (12-1)
‘s track record at the John Deere Classic is off the charts. Since 2009, he’s only finished outside the top five twice. He won in 2012, has been the runner-up three times, and has three other top-five results. With the TPC Deere Run only 70 miles away from his hometown of Iowa City, Iowa, Johnson always puts on an impressive performance for his local fans.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
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