Wise punters should be rewarded for keeping the faith
Streak of missed cuts can end in Illinois
Sky Sports Golf, 6.30pm Thursday
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and runaway Quickens Loans National winner Francesco Molinari headline an underwhelming John Deere Classic field at TPC Deere Run.
Most of the elite are either resting for the Open Championship or getting some links practice in the Scottish Open, so opportunity knocks in Illinois for the lesser-lights of the US Tour to claim a million-dollar prize.
Palmer's top tip
Aaron Wise 55-1
There is a often a short slump after a player achieves his main goal and punters should not be too concerned by the fact that Aaron Wise has narrowly missed four cuts since his maiden US Tour triumph at the AT&T Byron Nelson at the end of May.
Wise won the Byron Nelson in emphatic fashion – a closing 65 for a three-shot success – and he looks one of the most promising youngsters in the States. Prior to his victory, he shared second spot in the Wells Fargo Championship, and the 22-year-old appears to have all the tools required to flourish in the modern game.
Wise quickly made waves in the professional ranks after excelling as an amateur, winning on the Canadian Tour in 2016, then the Web.com Tour last year, before his 23-under-par Byron Nelson masterclass. Expect the Las Vegas-based ace to get his game-face back on this week and reward gamblers at a fancy price for the John Deere Classic.
Wise made his debut in a regulation US Tour event at the 2016 John Deere, finishing 16th as an amateur on a sponsors invitation, firing a third-round 63. He has returned two years later with comfort and confidence levels massively increased, and this fantastic putter seems likely to feast on birdies at this straightforward layout.
Chesson Hadley 30-1
Another attacking player who can flourish at a low-scoring venue is Chesson Hadley, who has hit a rich vein of form in the last few months and looks ready to do himself justice at Deere Run.
His first two JDC starts came when he was in miserable form, resulting in missed cuts, then he faded to 25th place over the weekend last year, jaded a week after winning on the Web.com Tour.
This time, preparation looks perfect. Hadley finished eighth in the Quicken Loans National last time out, his eighth top-20 finish in 11 starts, including the Zurich Classic pairs event alongside a weak partner (Brice Garnett).
A winner four times on the Web.com Tour and once on the US Tour – Chesson could have reasons to be cheerful on Sunday.
Patrick Rodgers 55-1
Chris Kirk 50-1
Brian Gay 60-1
Patrick Rodgers had the JDC title at his mercy 12 months ago until DeChambeau stepped up a gear, but the runner-up could gain revenge. Rodgers was eighth at the Memorial last month, before qualifying for the US Open, where he played well for three rounds but carded an 83 on the savage Saturday set-up which drew so many complaints from the competitors.
Rodgers has been up and down since Shinnecock, but the former world number one amateur does not look far away from an overdue US Tour breakthrough, and Deere Run is the best chance he will get all season.
Complete your staking plan with two flat-stick wizards – Chris Kirk and Brian Gay – for an event which is often regarded as a glorified putting competition. Four-time US Tour champ Kirk has got his act together this season, posting seven top-15 finishes, while Gay, another four-time victor, has registered four top-20s in his last six starts, including at a US Open for which he had to qualify.
Others to note
The 2012 John Deere champion loves this venue and is the pick of the market leaders, but he is winless since the 2015 Open.
The putting master won the JDC three times in a row from 2009 and the 51-year-old retains much of the ability which made him a US Tour star.
The Chilean youngster has quickly found his feet on the US Tour and seems a likely contender on his JDC debut.
The Indiana man, twice a winner on the Web.com Tour and once on the US Tour, putts with assurance and could threaten a place at a massive price.
2pts each-way 55-1 Betfred
2pts each-way 30-1 Betfair
1pt each-way 55-1 general
1pt each-way 50-1 188Bet
1pt each-way 60-1 bet365, Sky Bet
Course TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Prize money $5.8m ($1.008m to the winner)
Length 7,268 yards Par 71 Field 156
Course records – 72 holes 258 Steve Stricker (2010) 18 holes 59 Paul Goydos (2010)
Course winners taking part Sean O'Hair, John Senden, Jonathan Byrd, Steve Stricker (three times), Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, Bryson DeChambeau
When to bet By 1pm on Thursday
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports from 6.30pm Thursday
Time difference Illinois is six hours behind the UK and Ireland
Last week – Greenbrier Classic 1 K Na (50-1), 2 K Kraft (200-1), T3 B Snedeker (50-1), J Kokrak (200-1), T5 J Niemann (28-1), A Cook (80-1), J Dahmen (125-1), S Saunders (250-1), H Varner (175-1)
Course overview The John Deere Classic has been held at the TPC Deere Run since 2000. The tournament was played in the middle of August in 2016, switching because of the Olympics, but was immediately restored to its traditional pre-Open slot.
The track, crafted by DA Weibring in 1999, is one of the easiest the US Tour competitors face all season and Paul Goydos opened with a 59 in 2010. Steve Stricker carded 60 on the same day before finishing at 26 under par for 72 holes.
The first and second holes are extremely simple, so there is scope for a fast start, and this is a birdiefest where only the hottest of putters will contend.
Story of last year Bryson DeChambeau birdied four of his final six holes to overtake a fading Patrick Rodgers and claim a maiden US Tour title.
Weather forecast Hot and sunny for the most part, with hardly any breeze, but there is a threat of short thunderstorms from Friday through to Sunday.
Type of player suited to challenge Stricker, awesome with a wedge in hand and one of the best putters in the world, won this event three times in a row before Zach Johnson, a player of a similar ilk, ended that streak. The John Deere lends itself to low scoring, so support the flat-stick masters.
Key attribute Touch
Read Racing Post Sport and racingpost.com/sport every day for the best World Cup betting coverage
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport
Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport