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David Thompson 11th Jul 2012 - 9:43

Stricker unbeatable in Illinois!


The John Deere Classic

The PGA Tour

Starts Thursday 12:30 - live on Sky Sports 3 from 20:00


Steve Stricker will tee it up at the John Deere this week as the three-time defending champion. Three consecutive victories in Illinois present the 45-year-old with an opportunity to become only the fifth man in history to win a tournament four times in a row. Unbelievably the 12-time Tour winner is 68-under-par in his last three appearances here and at 7/1 William Hill's odds still appear to maintain decent value. Stricker performed well at the US Open and broke 70 in all four rounds last week at The Greenbrier so expect the American to go close this week.

Despite many of golf's top names concentrating on practicing Links golf so close to The Open Championship the field at John Deere remains strong. The likes of 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink (80/1) and 2009 PGA Championship victor Y.E. Yang (80/1) will be joined by 31 tournament winners over the last two years, including 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson.

The eight-time Tour winner is the second favourite at 12/1 but Johnson has struggled since winning the Colonial in May. The John Deere Classic is close to his hometown and he has featured ten times here in the past. T-2 and T-3 highlight that without Steve Stricker's participation the American has the ability to shoot low and win in Silvis.

One player who could surprise a few this weekend could be two-time Major winner John Daly. He won't go unnoticed, but T-12 at the Greenbier Classic after four straight rounds of par or better suggest that the flamboyant American is gearing up nicely for a run at The Open. We have gone 66/1 about a John Daly victory which could be worthy of an E/W bet @ 1/4 odds for a top 5 finish.

There are 25 or so British Open contestants playing in the USA this week including four past Open champions Stewart Cink,  John Daly, Todd Hamilton 300/1 and David Duval 300/1. Expect all to be striving for the form of years gone by and it may be worth a punt to cover them all with a Top Ten finish this weekend.

If you're looking for a sure thing, then the Top European market should provide the answer. Carl Pettersson. The Swede is having a fantastic season; currently tenth in the FedExCup standings and 12th on the PGA Tour Money list thanks to his victory at RBC Heritage, he is up against a poor field of European participants. He is the favourite at 6/5 to be the number one ranked European this week, and those odds look to offer unbelievable value on a golfer in great form.



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