How’s it going everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings PGA Sleeper Picks for this week’s PGA stop, The John Deere Classic. Last week, I had a pretty decent week, with 2/3 of my featured golfers making it to the cut. Trey Mullinax stuck around and ended up finishing at T50 for the week, which was a solid return considering his price, but Robert Streb was the gem of the week, putting up 114.5 DK points with a runner up finish, at extremely low ownerships in GPPs. (3.4% in The Fore) Streb was leading for a good amount of the time Sunday and it would have been awesome to have one of the sleepers pick up a win, but either way, he was a very successful play at his salary. Now let’s move onto John Deere Classic, which takes place at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. (7,268 yards)
This par 71 course is known as one of the easiest course on The Tour, if not the easiest. This event is always an absolute birdie fest and there is no reason not to expect very low numbers again this time around, with the average winning score being -20.5 over the last decade. Longer hitters do not have an advantage here and hitting the fairway is much more important than length. Accuracy off the tee is definitely worth a look, but I wouldn’t over emphasize it because a lot of players should club down off the tee, naturally improving their chances of finding the fairway. The two most important things here are finding the green at a high rate and draining as many birdies as possible. Over the last 11 years, the champions of The John Deere Classic have averaged a very high 77.1% GIR percentage and an also high 33.6% birdie or better rate during their wins. (Via Fantasy Golf Metrics) Also there isn’t anything different or difficult about these bent grass greens, but I believe we need to put a focus on putting at this venue, as the last ten winners have posted a low 27.02 average putts per round.
As I said above, this is again a very weak field of players, with most of the big names already overseas prepping for The Open next week or playing in The Scottish Open. I know I sound like a broken record lately with these type of fields, but again I think it would be smart to be careful about how much of your bankroll you use this week, with The Open only a week away. So good luck everyone, and as always if any of these picks help your lineups or if you need any advice, just let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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Michael Kim: (6,900) Outside of his missed cut at The Memorial, Kim has been a very steady option over the last two months, making the cut in six of his last seven starts. He has been a strong putter and birdie maker all season, ranking 37th in strokes gained putting, and 56th in birdie or better percentage. The only problem is he can really struggle if his irons are off, but he has improved with his approach game in his last two events, seeing a 69% GIR percentage compared to his 65.1% average for the year.
Also, he has only played here once, but Kim was solid in his first time playing at TPC Deere Run, finishing T47th last season. If he can keep it going with how much better he has been hitting greens over the last two weeks, I think Kim should make the cut again this year and post a higher finish. He has top 25 upside in this field and is a fine value play in both cash games and GPPs at this low price of only $6,900.
Curtis Luck: (7,100) Luck has shown us his potential these last two weeks, with a T20 last week at The Greenbrier and T5 two weeks ago at The Quicken Loans National. The Australian player made his PGA debut just back in March and if we exclude his DQ at The Arnold Palmer, he is 6/8 in PGA Tour events this season. In the last two weeks he has been hitting 68.5% of greens and is averaging a 28.5 average putts per round.
He also has been a respectable scorer, averaging 13 birdies per tournament in his last four events, and was actually second in birdies back at The Quicken Loans. As a rookie, he has never played at this track, but I don’t think Luck should have any problems with this course in his first time. He is a good enough iron player and putter that he should be able to make the cut, especially in this type of field. At this cheap price tag, Luck is the perfect GPP play this week.
Grayson Murray: (7,200) Murray let many DFS players down last week at The Greenbrier after he withdrew from the tournament very early in his first round on Thursday due to an illness. Prior to this surprise withdrawal, Murray was a cut making machine, making it to the weekend in eight of his last nine events. There really isn’t any clear cut information about his illness, but it seems that it was very minor, as he is in the field this week for The John Deere Classic, which will be his first time competing in this event. Barring another withdrawal, which seems very unlikely, Murray should get back right on track at this easy course.
As with most players down in this price range this week, Murray isn’t a statistical beast, but he is a good birdie maker, ranking 66th in birdie or better percentage this year. Also when not including the two and half holes he played last week, Murray has been rolling it much better over his last five starts, posting a low 27.2 average putts per round. We can’t expect the world out of this 23 year old in his first time playing in this event, but I think this is a great chance to buy low on Murray right now, as most DFS players may still be bitter about last week. (2-4% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
Also Consider: Johnson Wagner (three straight top tens at TPC Deere Run), Patrick Rodgers, Ollie Schiniderjans, Wesley Bryan (3/4 recently and finished T8 here last year, but may end up being a trendy pick), Geoff Ogilvy, Scott Brown, Trey Mullinax, and Harold Varner III.