Stricker defends John Deere title
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 John Deere Classic | Preview | 07 Jul 2010
The PGA Tour is in Silvis, Illinois this week for the John Deere Classic, an event that has taken on extra significance in recent years as the lead in US event to the Open Championship. It has even more importance in regards to the Open Championship in that it provides one final place at St Andrews to the leading player inside the top five and ties and not otherwise exempt for next week’s third major of the year.
The tournament is again played at its now permanent home since 2000, the D.A. Weibring and Chris Gray designed TPC Deere Run. The event dates back to 1972 when initially played as the Quad Cities Open but became the John Deere event a year before moving to this new venue in 1999.
Steve Stricker will defend the title he won with a final round of 64 on a Sunday where 36 holes were required to finish the event. Stricker had recorded a round of 61 in Friday’s second round and in the end he won by three over Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Brett Quigley.
A year earlier Kenny Perry had won a three way playoff and both of the past two champions get their chance again before heading across the Atlantic to St Andrews.
Perry has won twice and missed only one cut in the two years since he won this event in 2008 and despite being only one month away from his 50th birthday he has a great chance of leaving the forties in style.
Stricker has been solid enough since his great start to the season which included a win at Riviera and might find a way to return to winning form this week.
Zach Johnson won in Fort Worth six weeks ago and although his form in three starts since has not been great he has done well enough to go close to adding another victory here.
At some stage the floodgates must burst for Jeff Overton. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour but has been third or better in four of his last eight appearances this season. Overton has made the cut in the three times he has been to this event earlier in his career but is a far more accomplished player now.
Jason Day has run out of steam in his last two events when contending perhaps the result of a lingering illness he carries. This was the first event he played on the PGA Tour when making the cut as an 18 year old in 2006 and has continued to support the event and played well in it since.
Another Australian who appears to be on the verge of a big week is Matt Jones who finished 5th here last year and who despite missing the cut last week in Philadelphia is playing very well in 2010.
Former winner Mark Hensby, Marc Leishman, John Senden, Steve Elkington, Cameron Percy, Aron Price, Matt Goggin, Greg Chalmers, Michael Sim, Stuart Appleby, Nathan Green, Aaron Baddeley, James Nitties, Rod Pampling, David Lutterus and Jarrod Lyle provide the balance of the Australians.