PGA Tour Picks: John Deere Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Quite a finish at the first-ever 3M Open outside Minneapolis on Sunday as PGA Tour rookie Matthew Wolff made a 26-foot eagle putt on the final hole to finish at 21-under to edge out Bryson DeChambeau and fellow rookie Collin Morikawa for Wolff's first Tour win. He's only 20 and was playing just his third Tour start as a professional event.
If you follow amateur or college golf, this win probably didn't surprise you that much. Wolff was the 2017 U.S. Junior runner-up, winner of the 2018 Phil Mickelson Award and was the 2019 NCAA individual champion at Oklahoma State, setting a single-season NCAA scoring record of 68.7 and taking home the Jack Nicklaus Award and Haskins Award (nation's top player).
Wolff became the second-youngest Tour winner in the modern era behind only Jordan Spieth, who was 19 when he won the 2013 John Deere. Wolff is the third player ever to win the NCAA title and win a Tour event in the same year, joining Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw. Wolff won the NCAA title on May 27, debuted a few weeks later at the Travelers and finished T80 after an MDF. He then played two weeks ago in Detroit and missed the cut by one shot so the kid hadn't even completed 72 holes as a pro yet. He entered last week ranked No. 20 1,659 in the world and +12500 to win the 3M Open and only got in the field on a sponsor exemption.
I knew of Wolff but obviously he wasn't on my betting radar at the 3M Open. My winner was Patrick Reed, who broke 70 in every round but still finished only T23.
The PGA Tour's Midwest Swing - which didn't exist until this year's schedule added new tournaments in Minneapolis and Detroit the previous two events - concludes this week at the John Deere Classic from TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., which is practically in Iowa. If the worst spot on the annual PGA Tour schedule isn't the week after the British Open, then it's the week before. That's because of all the travel heading overseas and the fact the British Open is a completely different style of golf so guys want to get over there early and practice.
The tournament does all it can to try and lure guys by offering a free private flight to the United Kingdom following Sunday's following round. The highest Top 5 finisher this week earns a spot in the British Open if not already qualified.
As expected, not a great field again this year at the John Deere Classic, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary at TPC Deere Run. The tournament started elsewhere in 1972 as the Quad Cities Open. TPC Deere Run is a par 71 measuring about 7,270 yards. One of the PGA Tour's 59s came here from Paul Goydos in 2010. It's an easy track as one can tell by the tournament record score of 27-under 257 last year by winner Michael Kim. He lapped the field by eight shots to become the 22nd player to earn his first victory at this tournament since it began.
The margin of victory was a record for this event and the 257 broke Steve Stricker's tournament record (2010) by a shot. Kim had missed five of his previous six cuts entering last year's event. It was his first Tour victory, and he hasn't won since. Kim is having an utterly atrocious season so I don't recommend backing him for any props this week. The last player to repeat here was Stricker, who won it three straight from 2009-11. Jordan Spieth's first Tour win came here in 2013 and he was loyal for a while but isn't playing. In 19 years at TPC Deere Run, the event has been decided by two shots or fewer 13 times, including six playoffs.
Golf Odds: John Deere Classic Favorites
I don't ever remember a time that a rookie was favored in a PGA Tour event but that's the case this week with both Morikawa and another former amateur/NCAA star Viktor Hovland both at +1600. Tells you how weak this field is, although those two and Wolff (+2000) are obviously mega-talents. Hovland broke Jack Nicklaus' U.S. Open scoring mark for an amateur last month and then turned pro. He was T13 last week.
Lucas Glover is also +2000 with a handful of guys at +2500 - including 2016 champion Ryan Moorea and 2014 winner Brian Harman. Zach Johnson, who won here in 2012, is from the area and sits on the tournament's board of directors, is +3300. Kim is a +40000 long shot to repeat.
Golf Odds: John Deere Classic Picks
An American has won this event 12 straight years and all but a handful of times overall, but again most Europeans are overseas this week annually. In fact, no European has won here. Four of the past eight champions at TPC Deere Run have made it their first Tour victory.
Definitely take Johnson (+250) for a Top 10 as he has finished Top 5 here every year since 2009 but three (16th last year). Also like Scott Brown (+650) for a Top 10 as he six Top 25s in seven visits to TPC Deere Run. We'll go with Joaquin Niemann at +2500. He's having a very solid year with three Top 10s and was 23rd here in his debut in 2018. He hasn't been worse than 31st in his past six Tour events in 2019.
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