Dan Roebuck’s John Deere Classic preview: Stricker the one to beat again

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Expect a birdie fest on the PGA Tour this week as the stateside schedule stops at TPC Deere Run, home of the John Deere Classic and a course that has proved one of the easiest to master in recent years, with the winners score expected to be nudging 20 under – and that on a par 71 layout.

Steve Stricker is the single-figure odds favourite at 7/1 and he has to be – he won this tournament three years on the spin from 2009 onwards and has twice rewarded each-way backers on two other occasions in his last seven starts at the Illinois venue. His scoring average in his last 16 rounds there dips below 66 and with his much reduced schedule paying dividends – he was eighth at the US Open last time out – he cannot be left out of the staking plan.

Charley Hoffman ranks eighth this season in birdie average on tour and is a player who can go very low – as we saw with his 61 in the opening round of the Travelers Championship recently. He’s been in the mix a few times this term and failed to get the job done, but with four top 10s in his last 10 starts and very good course form he is worthy punting material at 40/1.

As might be Rory Sabbatini at 100/1. His best days could be behind him but he has surprised on occasions this term and is another player who converts more than his fair share of birdie chances. The South African finished with a 65 at Deere Run last term to grab a top-20 finish on his debut at the track and he is capable of doing better – as we’ve seen with two top 10s in his last four appearances.

My three to follow therefore – Stricker, Hoffman and Sabbatini.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.