John Deere Classic 2018 Course Preview

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Course: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois

-Par 71, 7268 yards

-Fairways: Bentgrass

-Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass

-Greens: Bentgrass

-Field: 156 players; Cut is Top 70 and ties with possible MDF

– One of the easiest courses on tour; absolute birdie fest

Well I’m back after a week of 4th of July debauchery and it’s always fun to move from a bad field at the Quicken Loans to a shitty field at the Greenbrier to a fucking garbage field at the John Deere Classic. However, this is to be expected the week before a major, especially one overseas, so I guess I can’t blame the top guys. By the way, that Scottish Open field is pretty stacked but if you’re going to degen the fuck out of this tournament like me let’s get into it. Consistently one of the easier courses on tour, one of the weaker fields on tour, and some of the easiest fairways to hit on tour… you gotta make birdies. TPC Deere Run has hosted this tournament every year since 2000 and the winning score has never been below -16. Go low. The name of the game here is to target those wedge players (hence why you could also call this the Zach Johnson Open), and guys who hit a lot of greens. The average green size is around 5000 sq. ft. which is plenty big and the field on average hits about 71% of them. Of note, about 72% of the fairways get hit as well. The greens run around 11 on the stimp which is slower than normal on the PGA Tour so it gives the shitty putters somewhat of a leg up compared to normal. With about 78 bunkers and only 3 water hazards, most of the guys should be able to avoid trouble but there are a few risk reward holes scattered around the course.

TPC Deere Run

As mentioned above, as it’s one of the easier courses on tour, guys have to take advantage of the Par 5s, which there are 3 and all between 550-600 yards. Further, with 3 Par 4s under 400 yards, including one that’s drivable for the huge hitters, keeping the ball in the wide fairways and dialing into the wedges will be key. As we can see below, most of the holes play under par, especially the Par 5s, with the only few difficult holes being the last (hardest on the course) and the longer Par 4 9th. Per, which has numerous quotes from players over the years, tons of players have commented how much they love the grass here and how true the greens run; take that as you will but it seems like this is set up to be a fair and semi-easy test for guys who know how to attack it.

Hole Par Length Rank Avg Strokes. O/U Par
1 4 395 11 3.903 -0.097
2 5 561 18 4.461 -0.539
3 3 186 3 3.143 0.143
4 4 454 12 3.9 -0.1
5 4 433 7 3.998 -0.002
6 4 367 9 3.961 -0.039
7 3 226 13 2.883 -0.117
8 4 428 5 4.035 0.035
9 4 503 2 4.188 0.188
10 5 596 15 4.827 -0.173
11 4 432 6 4.002 0.002
12 3 215 8 2.963 -0.037
13 4 424 10 3.948 -0.052
14 4 361 17 3.602 -0.398
15 4 484 4 4.084 0.084
16 3 158 14 2.842 -0.158
17 5 569 16 4.816 -0.184
18 4 476 1 4.197 0.197
71 7268 69.753

Key Stats Needed to Compete

As mentioned above, hitting fairways and greens is key here that if you’re wayward off the tee or miss with your short irons, you’re often times losing a stroke on the field even with a par. Via, players hit 72% of fairways here versus 61% on average and 71% of greens versus 65% for the tour average. When I look at landing zones as well as last year’s Approach Shot Distribution (via I see approaches spread out all over the place which is interesting this week. Normally when I dive into approaches there is at least a clear 30-40% or so range that guys are hitting from but I see a lot of variance. I am going to target 2 ranges this week: <125 to key on the strong wedge players but also the 200+ range since, depending on daily set up, at least 2 Par 3s are over 200 yards and the bigger hitters can also go for the Par 5s in two from that range. Lastly, I can’t emphasize enough how important SG: APP this week is compared to other weeks. Yes, it’s almost always a key stat but looking back at course history, it is about 2-3 times more important than both SG: OTT and SG: ARG here.

So, what’s it going to take to compete? Stats I think I’ll be targeting include SG: Ball Striking (Player’s rank in both total driving AND GIR), SG: APP (with emphasis on <125 and 200+), GIRs Gained, SG: Par 5, Bogey Avoidance, and BoB Gained. Please note that there should always be some emphasis on SG: T2G but since that is used each and every week I don’t include it in stats that I’m “targeting.” I will go into more depth on my finalized stats, players who’s form I like, course history, and more in my DFS article in the next day or two.

That’s all for the course preview! Follow me on Twitter @sscherman and follow @AmateurHour_Pod too for picks, podcasts with FIRE guests, and weekly picks to win.

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