John Deere Classic: In-form Kisner can finally get it done

Kevin Kisner is in a rich vein of form ahead of the John Deere Classic
Kevin Kisner is in a rich vein of form ahead of the John Deere Classic

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and each-way tips for this week's PGA Tour event at TPC Deere Run...

"Winning scores in this event over the last six years read -22, -19, -20, -22, -26 and -20 so birdies are needed. No-one has made more than Finau's 334 on the PGA Tour this season and his 14th place in both Birdie Average and Par Breakers (birdies and eagles) suggests he'll take to the course on his first appearance."

Mid-range - best bet: Tony Finau @ 41.040/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Favourites - best bet: Kevin Kisner @ 17.016/1

Let's talk about Kevin.

With three second places (play-off losses at The Heritage, Players and Greenbrier), a fifth, an 8th and a 12th in his last eight starts, Kisner is vying with Dustin Johnson as the third best player on the PGA Tour (Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy Nos. 1 and 2 obviously) over the last three months.

So, is there any reason NOT to back him here at 16/1 in a field seriously lacking in depth.

His failure to grab that elusive first win would be one and clearly the presence of Spieth (just 3/1) here makes that goal harder.

Another could be the fact that he's followed his previous two play-off defeats with relatively modest finishes in his very next event - T28 in New Orleans after Harbour Town and T38 at Quail Hollow after Sawgrass.

The obvious argument is mental let-down but, after two goes at it, I'd argue that he'll handle the disappointment better this time.

If your confidence is high, I'd also claim that the best place to keep it rolling would be on an easy layout with no tricks. TPC Deere Run looks ideal for Kisner to go low again as it gave up more birdies and eagles than any other course last year.

His putter is hot (8th in SGP and 3rd in Putting Average last week) so expect more rounds in the mid to low 60s.

Kisner sounds as calm as you like when asked the 'W' question. "Yeah, I keep knocking on the door," he said after last week's playoff loss. "I'll be there soon enough. I keep playing well, I'll win one of them."

Last week he also made a mockery of previous course form (three missed cuts out of three) by nearly taking the trophy but this year he has the bonus of having finished T20 in the 2014 John Deere.

He did that with a closing 64 so will have even more positive vibes to call upon.

The 16/1 is a working each-way price and after being literally the revolution of a ball away from victory on Sunday, hopefully this is his time.


Mid-range - best bet: Tony Finau @ 41.040/1

Finau continues to give the impression that a first PGA Tour win isn't far away and he made it a seventh straight top 25 with a T13 at the Greenbrier Classic last week.

Given his prominence on leaderboards and regular TV coverage over the last few months, he's well known to punters so I'm surprised to see 40/1 on offer this week.

Yes, Spieth and Zach Johnson are taking up a chunk of the market but perhaps there's an element of layers being happy to dangle a fair price on Finau. None of his top 25s have even been top 5s so regular backers are getting frustrated and perhaps now need encouragment to keep playing him.

But this is not the time to give up on Finau.

Winning scores in this event over the last six years read -22, -19, -20, -22, -26 and -20 so birdies are needed.

No-one has made more than Finau's 334 on the PGA Tour this season and his 14th place in both Birdie Average and Par Breakers (birdies and eagles) suggests he'll take to the course on his first appearance.

As you'd expect, Finau continues to trot out the line "I like the way I'm playing" and he isn't putting too much pressure on himself to win.

It's a nice, relaxed atmosphere at Quad Cities so everything suggests Finau will be in the mix again.


Long-shot - best bet: Luke Guthrie @ 126.0125/1

Local Illinois players, or those from neighbouring States, have a great affinity with this event and even refer to it as their 'fifth' major which sounds strange to us but, hey, if it helps them play well.

And it certainly has with Wisconsin's Steve Stricker and Iowa's Zach Johnson, who have four wins and three second places between them (both States border Illinois if you check the map!).

So how about Illinois resident Luke Guthrie, who finished T5 on debut here in 2012.

Speaking then, Guthrie said: "I couldn't be happier to be here. If I have a home tournament on the PGA Tour, this would be it."

The American, who first played the course when he was just 12-years-old, gave himself a "B plus, A minus" for his top-five three years ago so felt there was more to come.

He's not done quite as well since and missed the cut in 2013 but he took T27 last year and his last five laps of TPC Deere Run have produced rounds of 67-69-69-69-67.

The former University of Illinois grad hasn't kicked on in the way many expected but he's still just 25 and might have taken a little inspiration from 24-year-old Danny Lee's victory last week.

Guthrie has been starting events well (66-69-69-68-67 in his last five opening rounds) but hasn't been able to hold it together after that.

He was T18 after three rounds of the Byron Nelson at the end of May before fading on Sunday and before that threw in one bad round at Colonial and had to settle for T27.

Last time out there was more consistency in a T37 at the Greenbrier (67-70-67-70) so hopefully the extra buzz of playing at home will keep him focused for all four days.

Take him at 125/1.


Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £660
Returned: £308.75
P/L: -£351.25

(Includes last week’s Greenbrier)

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