John Deere Classic: Birdie king Garrigus can shoot for gold

Robert Garrigus looks worth a punt at 50/1
Robert Garrigus looks worth a punt at 50/1

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

"His stats make him a great fit for TPC Deere Run this week and it’s an event he’s shown plenty of promise in."

Main Bet: Back Robert Garrigus @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Robert Garrigus e/w @ 50/1

It may have moved in the schedule but the recipe for success hasn't changed at the John Deere Classic. Namely, hit it near the flag and make lots of birdies and eagles.

Winning scores at TPC Deere Run read -20, -22, -19, -20, -22-, -26, -20 for the last seven years and all have been put up by American golfers.

So, let's keep it simple and seek out US players who are well up the Birdie or Better Percentage table (the PGA Tour's measure of how often a player is under par via birdie, eagle or something even rarer).

The top nine on that list aren't playing this week but No.11 does interest me.

Robert Garrigus is a name that has flickered up on leaderboards down the years and he did once get over the line when landing the 2010 Children's Miracle Network Classic. On three other occasions he's lost out in a play-off.

To be honest, given that his father once won an Olympic medal (in trap shooting, no less) at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, he'd probably prefer to be in Rio.

But there's a good chance he can hit targets of his own in Illinois this week if his latest form is anything to go by.

Since May, Garrigus has finished T4 at the Byron Nelson, T8 at the Quicken Loans, T11 in the Barbasol and, last time out, T5 in the Travelers Championship after three 67s and a 68.

He's 45-under for those events so has been pouring in the birdies.

Other stats that impress when checking out his numbers include fourth for SG: Approach-The-Green and seventh in Proximity To The Hole while he's 1st in Approaches from 150-175 yards and also Approaches from 175-200 yards.

For the record he's also made 505 straight putts from inside three feet. That's the best sequence on tour.

His stats make him a great fit for TPC Deere Run this week and it's an event he's shown plenty of promise in without quite putting it all together.

Overall, Garrigus has cracked the top 25 in three of his last five visits while last year and in 2012 he opened with a 65, placing him inside the top five after day one on both occasions.

He also closed with a 65 in 2010.

Speaking about his upturn in form which now shows T29 or better in six of his last eight starts since May, four of those T11 or better, Garrigus said: "I switched to a new Cure putter in New Orleans and really started seeing the fruits of that in Charlotte (T28 at Wells Fargo).

In a very modest field, the in-form Garrigus can do some damage at 50/1.

Next Best: Back Patrick Rodgers e/w @ 40/1

Patrick Rodgers has had a very mixed season so far but we finally saw what he's capable of when the 24-year-old posted T3 in the Travelers Championship last week. That followed a closing 67 when T32 in Canada.

Rodgers, if anyone needs reminding, is the phenom who matched Tiger Woods' record of 11 wins at Stanford University before going on to top the World Amateur rankings for a good chunk of 2014.

He's not hit the ground running like Tiger did since turning pro and probably I should shut up with the Woods comparisons as they'll never be fair on anyone

But he's already accumulated $2.34m in his brief time on the PGA Tour and this year has three top 10s and a total of eight top 25s.

Last summer, Rodgers started a run of form that went 3-38-6-13-20-10 so recording five top 20s in six starts hinted at what might be to come.

Interviewed in Connecticut last week, he was asked to assess his season so far. He replied: "I have incredibly high expectations for myself, so it's been a little bit disappointing in some regards, but I think some of the struggles that I've been through this year have led to some really positive changes.

"I'm working with a new coach (Matt Killen) and I'm really excited about what I'm working on. It's allowed me to kind of take some time and reflect on the things that are important for me to play my best golf, and I think I'm on the right track now, and I think I will be for a long time, so it's exciting."

Another line of interest was this: "This is my fourth time playing here. I feel like an experienced player at this golf tournament already at such a young age."

It certainly helped him there and he could reap similar benefits this week.

Rodgers teed it up here several times as an amateur and his very first round in 2012 was a 67. He's opened with that number in three of his four visits and although he only made it through to the weekend once, in 2013 he shot all four rounds in the 60s (the only ever amateur to do so) and finished T15. That included 65 on day three.

He was called into the interview room last year and gave these insights which really lift his appeal for me this week.

Said Rodgers: "This is maybe the most special event on the PGA Tour for me, obviously playing well here as an amateur, having such great memories coming to the event just as a spectator and watching some of the best players in the world.

"I can remember walking the back nine after play was over and walking down the fairways and just kind of imagining myself being in that position, having a chance to win. It's been really cool to play this event three times now, and I really feel like I've progressed nicely as a player, and I feel like I'm ready to be in that position that I saw myself being in, I think it was in 2007. I feel like I'm ready to win out here, and I'm excited for the opportunity this week.

"This is really exciting for me because a lot of my friends and family come over. It's a four-hour drive from where I grew up and where a lot of my friends and family still live, so I'm really excited to see everyone.

"2013 was my first time really being kind of in contention or in the mix at a PGA Tour event, so even if it wasn't here, that's great experience to draw back on. But especially coming back here and being on the same golf course, the same event, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence that I can be in the same position again."

There are plenty of examples of players shining at an event that gave them their first break or where they first contended and Rodgers could be the latest if he shows more of last week's form.

Rodgers is seventh in Greens In Regulation, ninth in Eagles (Holes Per) and 53rd in Par Breakers (T5 in Birdies last week) so 40/1 and that could look very sweet.

Best Top 5/10: Back Kevin Na for top 10 at 9/5

This tournament has been dominated by a handful of players in recent years with Steve Stricker winning it three times on the spin (2009-2011), Jordan Spieth taking the trophy in 2013 and 2015 and Zach Johnson coming out on top in 2012 and finishing runner-up in 2009, 2013 and 2014.

Stricker and Johnson are back for more and, although they look fairly horrible prices right now, the respective 12/1 and 13/2 might appear very nice on Sunday evening.

I can't really be backing Daniel Summerhays or Kevin Na at 20/1 and 22/1 respectively either but there is scope for backing the latter in a side market.

Na has been a top 10 regular down the years on the PGA Tour. He has 54 of them overall and six already this season.

In recent weeks he's been excelling in top-class company, his last four starts showing seventh at the US Open, T27 at Firestone and T22 in both The Open and PGA Championship.

It's easy to see how he can get much higher up the leaderboard when facing this drop in class and TPC Deere Run should be a good one for him.

Due to scheduling, he's only played this event once since 2008 but, on that occasion (2014), he narrowly missed this week's requirement when finishing T13 after rounds of 68-66-71-65.

In his one start in the state of Illinois since then he made the top 10 in the 2015 BMW Championship while he has three top 10s at Colonial where form has correlated well with this week's venue.

Looking at his stats, Na is ninth in SG: Approach-The-Green and 39th in Par Breakers. His 12th place in the FedExCup standings should also tell you that he's a better player than many will acknowledge.

Making the cut this week will send him through the $3m barrier for season earnings and hopefully he can add a healthy cheque via yet another top 10 finish.

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £910
Returned: £703.25
P/L: -£206.75

(After Travelers Championship)

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