Sleeper picks: John Deere Classictext sizeJuly 10, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
Note: Fantasy expert Rob Bolton provides his list of sleeper picks for every tournament. This week, he focuses his under-the-radar selections for the John Deere Classic:
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Jhonattan Vegas ... Tied for fourth at the AT&T National two weeks ago, leading the field in Strokes Gained-Putting and ranking T1 in birdies. In his debut at TPC Deere Run last year, sat T4 at the midpoint four strokes off the lead before fading to finish T68. His opening-round 68 featured eight birdies, including six in a row at one point. Carded a bogey-free 64 in the second round. Can't forget that his lone PGA TOUR victory occurred at a another birdiefest (2011 Bob Hope Classic).
Billy Mayfair ... Shared 33rd place at The Greenbrier Classic where he opened with three rounds in the 60s. In the last nine occurrences that he's opened a tournament with a pair of sub-70 rounds, he's failed to post a top 25. While that fact doesn't endorse him for this feature, there's something to be said of the form he flashed before falling 22 spots on the leaderboard on Sunday at The Old White TPC. For the week, he ranked T8 in greens hit and T15 in birdies. Three top 20s in eight appearances at TPC Deere Run, the most recent of which a T11 in 2007.
Jason Bohn ... Still stuck on one top 25 among eight cuts made in 18 starts this year, but he's logged three in six starts at TPC Deere Run. The last was a T21 in 2010 when he carded four rounds in the 60s. After opening last year's edition with a 1-over 72, he reeled in a T30 with rounds of 66, 68 and 68. Must avoid the big number, however, as he's carded at least one score of 74 or higher in each of his last five starts.
Garth Mulroy ... Rebounded from a back injury to post seven sub-70s in eight rounds in his last two starts, both of which resulted in a top 30. The South African has also shown a propensity over the years to ride a groove once he's found it. Ranked T13 in greens in regulation and T2 in birdies at The Greenbrier Classic. Hit 16 GIR in both rounds after the cut.
Richard H. Lee ... With Ted Potter, Jr. coming out of nowhere to emerge with a victory at The Greenbrier Classic, and other PGA TOUR rookies like Charlie Beljan and Billy Hurley III cranking out recent top fives after enduring entirely quiet seasons, it's only natural to wonder who's next to break into our consciousness. Well, I've had my eye on Lee for months. While he's coming off a T38 at the Greenbrier where he posted four rounds of par or better for the first time on TOUR, it's his splits that have earned attention.
The rookie ranks 30th in total driving, 62nd in greens in regulation, 61st in Strokes Gained-Putting and 60th in birdie average. If you had to circle a relevant weakness, it's that he simply doesn't compete on the par 5s where he sits 117th in birdies or better. That helps explain why he's 105th on TOUR in adjusted scoring. Yet, there is enough evidence here that he should lurk on a leaderboard, if not this week then certainly at least once on a par 70 or 71 later in the year.