Berger should relish the shape of John Deere leaderboard
Confident youngster set to triumph again
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Patrick Rodgers leads by two shots going into the final round of the John Deere Classic, the pre-tournament 125-1 chance reaching 16 under par through 54 holes.
Rodgers has been in front from the halfway stage onwards, the US Tour maiden seeking a breakthrough at TPC Deere Run, Illinois. He will have to do it the hard way, though, with the ante-post favourite breathing down his neck.
Daniel Berger had no Deere Run experience heading into this week, but the world number 20 has slowly but surely adjusted to the layout over the first three days. Berger, 14-1 at the outset, fired a third-round 63 to tie for second place.
The final event before the Open Championship resumes in twoballs just before 4pm UK and Ireland time. Rodgers and Berger are scheduled to tee off at 6.40pm.
-16 Patrick Rodgers
-14 Daniel Berger, Scott Stallings
-13 Nicholas Lindheim
-12 Jamie Lovemark, JJ Henry, Bryson DeChambeau
-11 Vaughn Taylor, Brian Campbell, Rick Lamb, Trey Mullinax, Rory Sabbatini, Jonathan Byrd, Kevin Tway, Charles Howell, Chesson Hadley, Zach Johnson
-10 Ricky Werenski, Ben Martin, Ollie Schniederjans, Kevin Streelman, Lucas Glover, Stuart Appleby, Troy Merritt, Brian Harman, Chad Campbell
11-4 P Rodgers, 14-5 D Berger, 7 S Stallings, 16 J Lovemark, 22 B DeChambeau, Z Johnson, 33 C Howell, N Lindheim, 40 JJ Henry, 50 K Tway, B Harman, T Mullinax, 55 C Hadley, 66 bar
There was only one negative next to the name of Daniel Berger prior to the John Deere Classic this week – the fact he was making his debut in the event and had no course experience. That handicap has been quickly overcome and the cocksure Floridian has a third US Tour title at his mercy.
Berger has been full of form and confidence, successfully defending his St Jude Classic title last month before losing a playoff to Jordan Spieth in the Travelers Championship, and he will be relishing the shape of the JDC leaderboard with 18 holes to play.
Berger does not have a pretty swing, but it is one he has grown up with and is comfortable using, and this attacking player has fallen in love with the straightforward JDC layout this week. The likes of Zach Johnson and Charles Howell (three shots behind Berger), Brian Harman (four), Kevin Kisner and Wesley Bryan (five) have almost certainly given Berger too much of a final-round advantage to finish in front of him.
Berger should arguably be clear favourite given Patrick Rodgers is a US Tour maiden who is bound to be feeling plenty of nerves. Rodgers has a two-shot advantage, but the mental edge of Berger is probably worth more than that over the closing 18 holes.
Final-round twoball punters should consider Kevin Tway (5.46pm), who has been a birdie machine from April onwards and should account for Jonathan Byrd, while Harman rediscovered his A-game in round three and can see off Chad Campbell in the 4.52pm contest.
4pts 14-5 Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes
2pts 4-5 Power
2pts 4-5 Betfred