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Golfbet Insider: John Deere Classic

Once or twice a year, you can take one step forward when you think you’re taking two back. The overall experience at the Rocket Mortgage Classic was exactly that in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.

Because so many particular notables missed the cut in a tournament with but a handful of them, early in Segment 4 when you had starts to burn and for whom you think you won’t need all three, it’s likely that you didn’t get four to the weekend and, yet, still didn’t lose much ground. In fact, you may have even expanded a margin relative to your league.

For example, after the Travelers Championship, I led Glass in second place in my little league by 171 points on the season. Then, only two of my six survived the cut in Detroit, but I now lead Sean in second place by 198. That’s due in part to me having champion Rickie Fowler and co-runner-up Collin Morikawa – although both were inside the top-eight most-owned, anyway; Fowler was on top at 81 percent, so he was a virtual push – but it’s primarily due to the fact that everyone who could apply pressure also was short-handed in the third and final rounds.

However miffed I felt when the cut fell on Friday was assuaged promptly by my proven strategy to invest in chalk, or at least enough of it to retain defensive position in the event of disaster. In other words, as basic game theory demands for success over time, as a front-runner, I expect my decisions to be no less rational as those of the nearest opponents in pursuit. Just as I won’t be foolish, those who have the strongest whiff of first place won’t be, either.

Gamers who dominated at the Rocket Mortgage cannot sustain the strategy that generated a big week because a large percentage made decisions that were not as rational as yours. They’ll have their moments in the sunshine because even the fringes will achieve some success – this is how the extreme manifests – but very few who danced around zeroes in Motown went in with reasonable explanations why not to play the same particular notables. Ignorance is bliss, it’s better to be lucky than good, etc.

So, keep last week last week. It happens, and it’s OK. Tip your visor and stride to the next tee. The biggest lesson is accepting how not to respond irrationally to the disaster.


Cameron Young (-110 = Top 20) … Since we’ve added odds to my preview material, there have been guys who have fallen through the cracks that have developed as my work has evolved. For example, while I stand by endorsing this prop, it’s not necessarily because I believe in it. It’s just the shrewdest play. (He’s -225 for a top 40, so I didn’t even bother with that.) It’s based on his high ceiling and strength relative to the field, and neither of those dynamics come into play when a guy is omitted from the Power Rankings proper. The PGA TOUR sophomore doesn’t slump, but he’s had only one top-50 finish in his last seven starts (T32, U.S. Open). All but one of those was a major or a Designated event – a T57 in Canada – but he showcased his talent on those stages throughout his Rookie of the Year season in 2021-22, so our expectations have been getting knocked around. Further arguing the point, it’s why I’ve rostered him in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. It’s exceptionally rare when I go off the board of the Power Rankings, but strategy demands that he’s available for me for defensive purposes. Gotta play both sides of the ball.


NOTE: These are notables who are not included in my Power Rankings or Sleepers. Connect with me on Twitter if you want analysis, insight and opinion for anyone else.

J.T. Poston (+150 = Miss the Cut) … If it seems absurd to circle this prop for a defending champion, look no further into the rearview mirror than Tony Finau at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He was three strokes too high to advance, but that’s the possibility of a shootout. Even those most likely to make noise fall short, which is what the opening at the top of this page reviewed. While fantasy strategies still demand finding fairways in the context of playing it safe for success, BetMGM’s board grants decent plus value for this week’s defending champ. He’s among the streakiest when he’s thriving, but he arrives with just three paydays in his last eight starts, none of them for a top 30. And prior to his victory here a year ago, he was just 2-for-4 without a top 60 in the tournament.

Seamus Power (-135 = Top 40) … I fully expected to apologize for limping into this prop but, you know what, it ain’t bad for a guy who’s 4-for-4 at TPC Deere Run with a T8 in his last appearance (2021) and a scoring average of 68.13 in 16 rounds. He’s longer than I expected because he’s scuffled of late, but he tends to stand taller in shallower fields, so it’s time to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s worth adding that he scored 3-under 137 in his last start at TPC River Highlands and missed the cut on the number, so it was a close call much more than it was the latest in a recurring theme. Sláinte!

Zach Johnson (+150 = Top 40) … We’re officially separated enough not to feel the magnetic attraction to him as the automatic One & Done at TPC Deere Run. In fact, his last top 30 in the tournament was a T16 five years ago, but the 47-year-old who sits second in all-time earnings here has cashed in 14 consecutive appearances, and only the bookends weren’t top 40s. So, give him a whirl. He’s been hangin’ in there this year more often than how a typical season transpires for a Ryder Cup captain.


NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.

PARLAY: Emiliano Grillo, Keith Mitchell, Eric Cole (+175 = All to Make the Cut)
Emiliano Grillo (-135 = Top South American)
Yuto Katsuragawa (+350 = Top 40)
Michael Kim (+100 = Top 40)
Taylor Montgomery (+140 = Miss the Cut)
Callum Tarren (+225 = Top Brit and Irish)
Vince Whaley (+250 = Top 40)
Carson Young (+150 = Top 40)


Scott Piercy … Take two. He was slated to return in Detroit last week but bowed out a day ahead of the opening round. He last pegged it at TPC River Highlands but cut his week short after one round due to discomfort in his back.


Webb Simpson … One full year has now elapsed since he exited the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, and there’s been little in the way of hope for a rebound. At 160th in the FedExCup, a rise into the Playoffs picture isn’t imminent, but he’s fully exempt on the PGA TOUR through 2026 when he turns 41.

Brandon Wu … It’s his third early withdrawal since late March but he played the week after the first two and he’s in the preliminary field to tee it up in next week’s Genesis Scottish Open.

Charley Hoffman … Snuck into next week’s stop in Scotland, so his focus shifts forward.

C.T. Pan … Since returning to the PGA TOUR from an injured left wrist, he’s a combined 2-for-6 on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA TOUR, but those two paydays were a solo fourth at TPC Craig Ranch and a T3 at Oakdale. Although he’s taking consecutive weeks off now, permit your faith to overcome your frustration.

Luke List … This isn’t a surprise given he cited an injured foot for his mid-tournament withdrawal in Detroit last week. He opened with 74, and then shut it down. Currently 115th in the FedExCup.

Vincent Norrman … He was out on Saturday of the Rocket Mortgage so it’s impressive that he closed with 65 for a T24 and his sixth top 25 in three months.

RECAP – Rocket Mortgage Classic

Power Ranking Golfer = Result
1 Rickie Fowler = Win
2 Tony Finau = MC
3 Justin Thomas = MC
4 Tom Kim = MC
5 Max Homa = T21
6 Brian Harman = T9
7 Hideki Matsuyama = MC
8 Collin Morikawa = P2
9 Sungjae Im = T24
10 Keegan Bradley = T21
11 Harris English = DNP
12 Austin Eckroat = MC
13 Cam Davis = T17
14 Aaron Rai = T9
15 Chez Reavie = T29

* – For the recommendations below, an asterisk represents a bet that won.

Golfer (recommended bet) = Result
Ryan Gerard (+300 = Top 40) = T56
*Doug Ghim (+115 = Top 40) = T33
*Chesson Hadley (+240 = Top 40) = T33
*J.J. Spaun (-105 = Top 40) = T33
Kevin Yu (+138 = Top 40) = MC

Team (recommended bet) = Result
*Wild Card: Chris Kirk (-110 = Top 40) = T14
*Also Starring: Adam Hadwin (+150 = Top Canadian) = P2
Also Starring: Taylor Moore (+140 = Miss the Cut) = T4
Also Starring: Tom Hoge (+115 = Top 40) = MC
Tap-in: HOLE-IN-ONE IN ROUND 2 (+350 = Yes) = No
*Tap-in: PARLAY: Cam Davis, Ludvig Åberg, Brian Harman (+200 = All to Make the Cut) = T17/T40/T9
*Tap-in: PARLAY: Chris Kirk, Aaron Rai, J.J. Spaun (+240 = All to Make the Cut) = T14/T9/T33
Tap-in: Ludvig Åberg (+150 = Top 20) = T40
Tap-in: Akshay Bhatia (+150 = Top 40) = MC
Tap-in: Joseph Bramlett (+110 = Top 40) = MC
Tap-in: Cody Gribble (+333 = Top 40) = MC
Tap-in: Mark Hubbard (+125 = Top 40) = MC
*Tap-in: Aaron Rai (+250 = Top Brit and Irish) = T9
Tap-in: Sepp Straka (+100 = Top 40) = T64
Tap-in: Justin Suh (+120 = Top 40) = T78
*Tap-in: Dylan Wu (+150 = Top 40) = T24

Source : PGA Tour