This week the Tour heads to the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run. Similar to last week in Detroit, we have a very weak field playing a course that is defenseless against the onslaught of birdies that will ensue. TPC Deere Run does play a bit differently than Detroit Golf Club, though, as it rewards precision and accuracy off the tee more than the brute force power that was preferable last week. The formula for success here is to keep the ball in play off the tee and be able to rack up birdies by the bunches, often thanks to elite putting. This is why we have seen players like Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson have great historical success at this event.

Let’s take a look at two players who can contend this week:

Denny McCarthy Top 20 +125

This is going to be one of Denny’s best chances to break through and secure his first win on Tour. He has finished sixth here each of the last two years. We all know that McCarthy is one of the best putters on Tour. Possibly THE best. Historically, McCarthy is well below average off the tee, losing strokes to the field in most events. However, in his five starts at the Deere he has gained 8.5 strokes off the tee. Why is that? Well, he doesn’t hit the ball overly far which hurts him most weeks on Tour. But many of the holes here actually require a player to hit less than driver. This course clearly suits his eye off the tee. His play in 2024 has been consistent but not spectacular. He has played 17 events and missed only two cuts, and hasn’t finished worse than 48th in any event where he completed all 72 holes. Look for him to linger around the front page of the leaderboard this week, maybe even capturing that first win.

Maverick McNealy Top 20 +140

McNealy has quietly been playing some very solid golf in 2024. He hasn’t missed a cut in 13 starts over the last five months. He has recorded five top 20s during that span, many of which came against much tougher fields than he will face this week. In his last two appearances at the Deere, he has finished eighth and 18th. McNealy is an above average ball-striker off the tee who has the ability to get scorching hot with the putter. He ranks fourth in this field in birdies, so if this does become a shootout like expected, I love our chances with him.

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