June 30, 2012; Bethesda, MD, USA; Ryan Palmer tees off the 14th hole during the third round of the AT

John Deere Classic - Fantasy Golf Picks

Jul 5, 2012, White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Steve Stricker hits from the 17th fairway during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the The Old White TPC. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

A week before everyone heads across the the pond for the Open Championship, the PGA Tour is headed to Illinois–Silvis, to be precise. The TPC Deere Run hosts the John Deere Classic for the 12th year in a row and Steve Stricker goes for a piece of history this week which makes him an obvious fantasy golf favorite. Without a deep field though, the picks get a little murky after that. Keep reading for who I’m taking and why…

Last week, the Greenbrier Classic gave us a first-time winner for the second year in a row as Ted Potter Jr. won in a playoff. I didn’t have Potter on my team last week, but my roster was good enough to get me the win for the week in our FantasyCPR group which is finishing out the season strong with everyone still active and all 18 entries doing well. The win last week didn’t do much for me in the segment standings where High Tyde Webb has the lead for the Summer section. For the season, it’s “XXXX MT CUP XXXX” who has the lead with Webb in second and Boss of the Moss in third. The summer standings are still tight with less than 100 points separating the top 14 and less than 40 points the top 7.

Good luck to everyone this week at the Deere. Here’s who I like…

A List

Steve Stricker – The prohibitive favorite this week as he goes for his fourth win in a row at the Deere. He would be only the sixth player in golf history to win the same event four times in a row. His recent form definitely sets him up with a good chance as in his 11 starts this year he’s been in the top 10 four times and  and the top 25 six times. He put up four rounds in the 60s last week at the Greenbrier finishing t22. If you’ve been saving Stricker’s starts for the end of the year like I have this is the beginning of his typical end-of-the-year charge. I have eight Stricker plays left, and with 10 weeks left it’s time to start playing him.

Sean O’Hair – Most people will pair Stricker with Zach Johnson and with good reasons. Johnson is an Iowa native, speaks for the midwest in many ways, and has a great history at this event. He’s won on tour this year and most teams paying attention with have a completely legit Stricker-Johnson pairing in their A-List. That’s not the way I’m going though. In his last three tournaments since winning at the end of May Johnson has struggles a bit going MC, t41, and t64. Instead, I’m rolling with Sean O’Hair who finished t7 last week after four straight rounds in the 60s and has the ability to go uber-low in a hurry which is what it will take to win this tournament.  He led the tournament last week in birdies and he’s a returning champ from 2005. If anyone gives Stricker a run, I think it will be O’Hair. It’s a risk not having Johnson, but with Stricker starting and quite possibly playing all four rounds, it’s not a big risk.

B List

Ryan Palmer – Palmer doesn’t have an awesome history here (only 3-7 making the cut). I’m still taking him though in a thin B-list group based on his four top 10’s in his last six starts. His last two tournaments he’s opened with a 74 and still bounced back nicely. Here’s hoping this week he can eliminate the rough start and go straight for the leaderboard.

Martin Flores – Another pick based on recent form, Flores finished solo 6 last week after opening with a 64 and shooting four rounds under par. He has two top 10s on the year now and is my sleeper pick to end up on the leaderboard on Sunday.

Brendon de Jonge – Last week he fired a 64 on Friday to rush the cut line and make it to the weekend for my team. He comes into this one off of 12 consecutive cuts made which makes him a nice insurance policy with my high-risk top two picks.Before last week, De Jonge has consecutive top 11’s at the AT&T National and the Travelers. He’s tied for seventh here the last two years.

Tim Clark – The South African has been a regular around the top of this tournament with a second in ’07, T18 in ’08,  and T7 two years ago. He’s coming off elbow surgery almost a year ago and had his first top 10 since then with a t4 at the Travelers his last start.

C List

Jonathan Byrd – Byrd has been in the top 25 in five of his last six tournaments including a t22 last week after being in the final group headed into the weekend.  He’s made seven cuts in a row and won the Deere back in 2007.

Seung-yul Noh – Noh hasn’t played here before (he’s a tour rookie) but has 10 made cuts in a row including three top 10’s and five top 25’s.

Tags: Fantasy Golf John Deere Classic Steve Stricker

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