John Deere Classic: Harman can frank US Open form

Brian Harman can win at TPC Deere Run for the second time
Brian Harman can win at TPC Deere Run for the second time

Dave Tindall looks for more profits in his preview of this week's PGA Tour event in Illinois...


"The 16/1 may look short on first glance but in the last six years here we’ve had winners at 7/2, 7/1, 12/1, 16/1 and 25/1 so it’s paid to look at the front of the market."

Main Bet: Back Brian Harman @ 17.016/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places


Main Bet: Back Brian Harman e.w. @ 16/1

With subsequent wins for Tommy Fleetwood and Xander Schauffele, the form from last month's US Open is working out very well.

Fleetwood and Schauffele were both in the top five at Erin Hills and have shown that confidence from a huge week in a major can be parlayed into a victory soon after; hence Fleetwood's win at the Open de France and Schauffele's Greenbrier Classic triumph on Sunday.

So how about US Open runner-up Brian Harman pulling off a similar stunt at this week's John Deere Classic?

The left-hander's best major finish had previously been T26 so to do what he did at Erin Hills was a big step forward.

And yet, it hardly came out of the blue given that he'd won the Wells Fargo Championship just four starts earlier.

Harman played the Travelers Championship the week after his US Open second place and, all in all, T35 was okay. But now the dust has settled a little, we should look to play him again on any course that should suit his strengths.

TPC Deere Run is exactly that and it's absolutely no surprise that it was the scene of the American's first PGA Tour win in 2014.

Harman shot 63-68-65-66 that week to beat Zach Johnson by a shot and he's also posted T19 there on debut when opening with a pair of 65s (second at halfway) and T24 when defending in 2015.

Putting it in play and holing lots of birdie putts is a basic but reliable formula for this course and that's what he does well; the 30-year-old is 8th in Strokes Gained: Putting and 17th in Birdie Or Better percentage.

Speaking after his opening 63 at the 2014 John Deere, Harman said of the course: "It suits me. It's really a tee shot golf course I feel like. Whenever I can get going with the driver, I can push the golf course a little bit and get a lot of good looks and birdies.

"The golf course is manicured just perfectly, so all the putts are rolling really well. It's a very fun golf course."

It's fair to say that if you like this course, you'll continue to play well on it.

Steve Stricker won it three times in a row while Zach Johnson had six top threes in seven visits from 2009 to 2015.

Last year's winner, Ryan Moore, had posted two top 10s in his four previous starts at the course.

All that trio are worth considering but Harman's excellent form over the last few months and high position in the putting stats makes him the one for me.

The 16/1 may look short on first glance but in the last six years here we've had winners at 7/2, 7/1, 12/1, 16/1 and 25/1 so it's paid to look at the front of the market.


Next Best: Back Charley Hoffman e/w @ 20/1

I don't really think this is a week for trying to reinvent the wheel.

If you like the course and have good form, history says it's a great course to cash in on those converging trends.

So next up is the very in-form Charley Hoffman.

The current World No.39 has had an excellent 2017 and is another who should have taken plenty of positives away from his US Open performance.

Hoffman finished eight there and his closing 1-under 71 included a triple-bogey 7 so could have been higher.

He's since followed that up with T3 at the Travelers Championship where he shot all four rounds in the 60s.

At Erin Hills he gained 4.167 strokes on the field with his putter and at TPC River Highlands he increased that to 6.69 so let's ignore his season-long SG: Putting stats which put him outside the top 125.

In fact, he's tightened up both on and around the green.

Speaking at the Travelers, the 40-year-old said: "All year my stats in the short game have been bad. So I've been focusing on that the last few months and it started to show this week. Got the putter going nice, and it takes a little stress off chipping it close which is good."

"I hit a ton of great up-and-downs the first couple days to keep the rounds going. If I keep doing this, I feel like my chances are going up in the next few events."

Perhaps with the Open Championship in mind, he'd taken the John Deere off his schedule for the last few seasons but in 2010 he shot bookend 65s to place T7 and the year before was T15 after another 65 on day two.

Again, it's easy to baulk at the price of 20/1 but with five top fives this season, Hoffman has given each-way backers plenty of returns and, on current form and with no Jordan Spieth in the field, he must really have a great chance of getting the 'W' this week.


Final Bet: Back Chad Campbell e/w @ 60/1

Staying at the front end of the market, Kevin Kisner (20th SG: Putting) and Daniel Berger (24th SG: Putting) would have obvious chances at 16/1 ad 12/1 respectively.

However, it's Berger's debut and Kisner has gone MC-58 in his last two starts and has a best of T20 here in four starts despite it looking a KK-style track.

Zach Johnson is certainly a backable price at 25s but his form is rather flat and Steve Stricker might just be a dark horse for a big performance in a side market at next week's Open so perhaps better save him for that. Being harsh you'd also say his finishes here are getting worse (11-35-52) since his golden run from 2009-2011.

So I'll come up something a little more imaginative at least and try Chad Campbell at 60/1.

It's a long time since the former Ryder Cup star got his hands on a trophy (2007) but he may not be done yet.

Recent form shows T13 at the Byron Nelson, T10 at St. Jude and T9 at last week's Greenbrier Classic so if you put that together he has two top 10s in his last three starts and three top 15s from his last five.

Looking at his scorecard last week, the 43-year-old was 9th in Strokes Gained: Putting while he was fifth in that category at the Byron Nelson so the flatstick is definitely being more help than hindrance at the moment.

He was also T10 for Birdies last week and further evidence of a sharp short game can be found in his Scrambling stats where he ranks 1st.

As for course form, Campbell has made all his nine cuts here and two of his four top 15s have come on his last two appearances, T15 in 2013 and T13 in 2014. In the latter he carded a birdie-ridden 62.

He also shot a second-round 64 and closing 66 when T28 last year so there's enough ingredients there to suggest he can improve upon his tournament-best T7.

Elsewhere, recent Quicken Loans National runner-up Charles Howell III has a solid each-way chance while Johnson Wagner is 7-5-5 here over the last three seasons. A recent runner-up at TPC Potomac, he'll probably be quite popular and I hope I don't regret leaving him out after putting him up last week when he missed the cut.

Jamie Lovemark is a form horse (3-MC-27-10-18) although he's not beaten T34 in four starts at this event and at some point Bubba Watson will probably leave us all kicking ourselves that we've allowed him to go off at an unbacked 50/1 in a weak field like this.

Out of interest, Bubba hasn't played here since 2010 and has a best of T17 in 2006.

Surprisingly, the golfer ranked highest on SG: Putting taking part this week is Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano!

That's measured over 35 rounds and he's gained 27.79 strokes over the season so it rather makes a mockery of the idea that he can't putt.

A string of recent missed cuts isn't ideal but he was T13 in April's Texas Open and T28 at this course two years ago. If you want a 300/1 shot, the Spaniard could have something up his sleeve.


Dave's 2016/17 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £980
Returned: £1974.68
P/L: +£994.68

(After The Greenbrier Classic)

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles