With most of the golfing elite playing in Scotland this week at the Scottish Open in preparation for next week's The Open Championship at Royal St George’s, it’s a depleted field for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois.
It certainly opens the door for anyone in the 156 field to bag a PGA title and collect $1.08M from the $6.2M prize pot.
Dylan Frittelli returns to defend the title he won in 2019, his maiden PGA Tour victory, with last year's event cancelled.
This is a par 71 parkland layout where low scorecards will be plenty, with the key attribute being precision around the greens, and lots of birdies.
The weather is forecast to be mainly sunny and warm with thunderstorms expected over the weekend and light to moderate breezes.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting at 12.45pm GMT on Thursday.
So let’s try pick out some winners for this week's John Deere Classic. For my main selection I’m going to advise Maverick McNealy 40/1 EW Bet365.
Again, as I mentioned with all the big hitters on this side of the Atlantic this week in Scotland, it leaves the door wide open and gives the rookie Maverick McNealy an ideal opportunity to bag his maiden PGA tour victory.
In his last eleven tournaments the 25 yrs old rookie has finished inside the Top 20 on four occasions which include an unlucky runners-up spot at AT&T Pebble Beach and 4th place at the RBC Heritage.
He missed the cut at both recent majors but that’s a totally different ball game so I’m not going to allow that to sway me with my selection.
McNealy has recently turned Pro but he was the number one amateur in the world and it’s not going to be long before he makes that breakthrough on the PGA Tour, possibly even this weekend in Illinois with most of the big hitters absent, it could be his best ever chance and with eight places available with most firms then even a place will result in a tidy profit, he’s more than capable and has better form than most in this field.
For my next selection I’m going to single out Seamus Power 33/1 EW Betfair.
The 34 yrs old Irishman from Waterford seems to have been around forever and has been playing some good golf recently. In his last six tournaments, Power has five Top 20 finishes with three of those in the Top 10.
He was 8th at the Rocket Mortgage last week, 9th at the AT&T Byron Nelson and also 9th on the KFT Tour at the MGM Resorts Championship.
Another who is yet to break his duck on the PGA Tour, this week will give Power every opportunity and probably give him his best chance to do just that.
I’m only going on recent form here as a guide and Seamus Power comes here with probably the best form in the field so it could all be coming together at just the right time.
For sure it would be a popular win if he can manage it and I’m sure many would be more than happy for the Irishman.
He has found a groove on the build-up to this event therefore I’m one of those willing on Seamus to finally make that much needed breakthrough after all these years trying, this week could well be his week and 33/1 EW is a decent price.
For my next pick I’m going to suggest Steve Stricker 45/1 EW Bet365.
I just simply cannot ignore the 54 yrs old American at this event, remember he’s won this event three times previously.
At his most recent event, the PGA Championship, Stricker finished a very respectable 44th. He was 13th at the Honda Classic, 4th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, 17 th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and 18th at The Memorial Tournament, these are all events in the past few weeks so it’s fair to say that his form has been pretty consistent.
The veteran American doesn’t have to worry about maiden titles like many in this field as he already has so many of them so he can just go out there with no nerves and enjoy his game without any pressure at a tournament he adores.
Stricker plays more on the Champions Tour these days where he has excelled, winning twice in his last five attempts. I know the competition is not as fierce on the Champions Tour as it is on the PGA Stage but hey, a wins a win and Stricker just keeps on winning, not many in this field can claim that.
I just feel Stricker will use his experience and expertise and make it win number four at The John Deere Classic at a nice tidy price for us punters.
Hank Lebioda v Ryan Moore
For my final selection it’s the customary 72 hole matchbet and I’m going for Hank Lebioda 10/11 Nap to beat Ryan Moore.