Tour News

Stricker and Spieth John Deere hopefuls

(Photo: Bruce Young)
The PGA Tour plays its traditional lead in event to the Open Championship this week when the John Deere Classic is played at the TPC at Deere Run in Silvis in Illinois.

The event offers one last chance for one player from the top five, should he be not already qualified, to jump on a plane to head for England and the Open Championship.

Steve Stricker is the player with whom this event has become synonymous. Stricker faded badly last week at the Greenbrier Classic but that aside his season has been very impressive especially considering his limited schedule at present.

Three wins and two top tens in his last five starts in the event indicate Stricker's liking for the layout and although he has only played eight events this season he has not missed a cut. His chances of a continuation of his good record in the event appear promising.

Jordan Spieth won his first PGA Tour event in this tournament last year and has since gone on to become one of the best players in the game and is currently number 10 in the world ranking. He has played well enough of late to again be a factor. His second place finish at the Masters was perhaps the highlight of the season but there have been plenty of other good finishes also, missing only two cuts in eighteen starts.

Zach Johnson has backed off a little since his very good start to the season but he enjoys a great record at this venue having won and been three times inside the top three in his last five starts.

Johnson missed the cut at his last start in Hartford and he has been below his best in the last few months but if he can find just a touch of that early season form his love of the layout will take him a long way this week.

Kevin Streelman appeared from nowhere to win the Travelers Championship three weeks ago and does have a couple of good performances in this event to his name. He has recorded two or three very low rounds at the venue so if he was to continue on from that important win in Hartford then it would not be the surprise it was at the TPC River Highlands.

Harris English has been a little inconsistent of late but in his only start in this event he finished a reasonable 15th. His 7th place finish at his last start at the Travelers indicates he is getting back to the form he was in earlier in the season and if that is the case he could easily handle this field.

In trying to find an outsider you could do worse than Chad Campbell who has a series of good finishes in this event in the past and has shown glimpses of his capabilities in recent weeks including when 7th in Hartford. He is a genuine longshot but might be worth a few dollars.

This was the scene of John Senden's first PGA Tour victory and he is no doubt playing the event as a result of what it means to him. Senden was putting together a good run of events before consecutive missed cuts at Memphis and the US Open slowed the momentum.

The Queenslander has had one or two other good finishes in the event also and given his elevated status in the game in recent times he should have some prospects of a good week before heading across the Atlantic.

Other Australians in the field are last week's leading Australian Robert Allenby, Steven Bowditch, Greg Chalmers, Rod Pampling and Nathan Green.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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