Expert picks: John Deere Classic


This week, the PGA Tour heads to the Quad Cities and TPC Deere Run for the John Deere Classic. Steve Stricker is looking for this fourth straight John Deere title. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Steve Stricker: Who else would you rather see win the Silvis (Ill.) Slam? Besides, he hasn’t had a top-10 finish since New Orleans, and that’s just not Stricker.

Group 2: Kyle Stanley: He finished runner-up last year at the John Deere, and after a prolonged dry spell, he seems to be on the rebound following a tie for 22nd at the AT&T National.

Group 3: Troy Kelly: His runner-up showing last week in West Virginia earned him his first trip to the, British Open but he will have more to celebrate before he boards “Air Deere” on Sunday.

Group 4: Gavin Coles: The Australian posted four consecutive rounds in the 60s for the first time since 2008, thanks to a resurgent short game. He finished tied for fifth in putting at The Greenbrier Classic.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Steve Stricker: Duh!!

Group 2: Charley Hoffman: Top 25s in each of his last three starts entering this week. Lurked late at the Travelers Championship en route to a co-runner-up. Top 15s in his last two trips to TPC Deere Run.

Group 3: Tim Clark: It's all coming together for the diminutive South African. In his last start, he tied for fourth at the Travelers. Worst finish in three tries at TPC Deere Run was a T-18 in 2008. Solo runner-up in 2007.

Group 4: Charlie Beljan: Riding the hot hand. After a career-low 62 in the second round of the Greenbrier, he closed with a pair of 67s including a bogey-free third round. That  fulfills the rhetoric that he competes without fear of success. Recent swing and equipment modifications have clearly taken, too.