Sleeper Picks: John Deere Classic
July 06, 2021
By Rob Bolton , PGATOUR.COM
- Kyle Stanley during Round 2 of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Kyle Stanley (+5000) … This is the 10-year anniversary of his runner-up finish to Steve Stricker’s threepeat at the John Deere Classic. It’s one of five top 25s contributing to an 8-for-10 record. For a talent primarily known as a ball-striker’s ball-striker, that he’s been to convert on his chances with better-than-average performance overtime is proof for his level of comfort for TPC Deere Run. His scoring average in 36 rounds on the track is 68.75. Also strides in having connected seven straight paydays. Sits a customary 39th in fairways hit, 11th in greens in regulation and third in proximity to the hole, so an eighth consecutive cut made is the lowest of expectations this week.
Richy Werenski (+6600) … The Georgia Tech product has sustained position comfortably inside the top-125 bubble since a T4 at Bay Hill four months ago, but last week’s T25 in Detroit was his best finish in individual competition in the interim. He’d like to have the final round back given he launched into it slotted T6 and just three shots off the lead, but another tournament means another opportunity to close. Perfect in three trips to TPC Deere Run with a pair of top 25s, a scoring average of 68.25 and an active streak of eight sub-70s.
Maverick McNealy (+4000) … Like so many decorated amateurs, he came through here in 2017 and finished T44 with four sub-70s. Back for the first time since, he’s chasing elevated positioning in the FedExCup for a deep run into the Playoffs. Currently 54th in points despite missing 10 of 21 cuts. The 25-year-old has picked his spots and enters on a T20-T30-T21 run since Colonial.
Fabián Gómez (+20000) … The 42-year-old from Argentina hasn’t recorded a top 10 in a PGA TOUR event rewarding 500 FedExCup points or more to the winner since the 2016 FedExCup Playoffs, but he is coming off his best finish in said competition in 23 months. His T14 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic just missed matching a T13 at the 2019 Wyndham Championship, but it had the makings of even better. He finished T6 in greens hit, fourth in proximity and fifth in Strokes Gained: Putting. Although he’s just 1-for-6 at TPC Deere Run with a T23 in 2018, his scoring average in 12 rounds is 69.83.
Alex Smalley (+15000) … Should come cheap in DFS but expect his stock to rise. Already 2-for-2 with top 25s in both editions of the Corales stop this season, the product of Duke University gained entry into the John Deere Classic via open qualifying on Monday (with a 6-under 65 at Oakwood Country Club). With the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada postponed due to the pandemic, the Forme Tour was created to give golfers from the developmental circuit places to play and sharpen their axes. In the two events thus far, he’s one of only four golfers with top 10s in both – a T5 and a T3, respectively. When including LOCALiQ Series stops in the second half of 2020, the 24-year-old has posted five top 10s and another five top 25s in his last 11 starts across three tours. In essence, since turning professional in 2019, he’s made the most of the opportunities presented during the worst time in modern history to turn pro. (NOTE: The Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada is scheduled to begin its 2021 season on July 26 in Quebec. It will be limited to golfers already situated in Canada.).
Odds were sourced on Tuesday, July 6 at 5 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.