2021 John Deere Classic Round 2 Buys & Fades: Patrick Rodgers, Richy Werenski Lead Options Heading Into Friday

2021 John Deere Classic Round 2 Buys & Fades: Patrick Rodgers, Richy Werenski Lead Options Heading Into Friday article feature image
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Drew Hallowell/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Rodgers.

The day at TPC Deere Run played out just as expected and as it has for many years of this event. There were birdies to be had on nearly every hole on the course, leading to an average score of more than a shot under par, making for a likely three- to four-under cutline going into Round 2 on Friday.

Chez Reavie and Camilo Villegas set the pace from the morning wave with matching 7-under 64s, but those wouldn’t hold up in the lighter conditions of the afternoon. Sebastian Munoz birdied his final five holes to get in at 8-under, but would quickly be matched by Chesson Hadley. Hank Lebioda would later match the rounds from Reavie and Villegas, to put five players distinctly at the top of the leaderboard.

More than 50 players shot 2-under or better on Thursday at the John Deere Classic, and they’ll need to do it again on Friday just to make the weekend. It creates an incredible logjam throughout the leaderboard and keeps many players in contention going into the second round. There is also a high likelihood of rain tomorrow afternoon and into Saturday, which could cause some issues for the tournament.

Let’s take a look at the players that stand out in the stats going into Friday, and see who has some value, especially from the morning tee times.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2

One of the players that jumps out to me early in the week is Patrick Rodgers. He didn’t do anything spectacularly on Thursday, but he did miss three of his first four greens in regulation, leading to a 1-over start to his round. He would gather things from there with a shot to the driveable Par 4 14th to just 7 feet from the hole, where he made eagle to turn things around.

Rodgers went on to make some uncharacteristic errors on his day highlighted by his three-putt from 21 feet on the Par 3 7th, but I expect him to clean that up on Friday. If he can get those issues cleaned up, he can certainly position himself for a late afternoon, weekend tee time with a solid second round. He goes off in the preferred morning wave with an opportunity to move up the board, all of which makes him an attractive option at +5000 on BetMGM.

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I became a big fan of Richy Werenski coming into the week, and he didn’t disappoint on Thursday. He gained 1.88 strokes on the field ball-striking in the opening round as he posted a 3-under 68.

Werenski gave himself a bunch of chances to really post a low round, but missed a few inside of 10 feet. He seemed to find some rhythm and comfort on the greens across his back nine. If he can maintain his ball-striking in the second round, and at a minimum, avoid the mistakes on the greens, he will position himself nicely going into the weekend at TPC Deere Run.

We’ve got a decent +8000 available on FanDuel, but I am more interested on some placing odds for Werenski going into Friday. He also makes for a great matchup or DFS Showdown play in the second round.

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There is possibly no player that sticks out in our traditional model of guys that hit it well tee to green, and especially ball-striking, but putted poorly than Sepp Straka. He went through his first round missing just four fairways, and only one green in regulation (on his final hole), but due to multiple misses on short putts he only got in at 1-under 70.

Straka was a popular play last week, but due to his missed cut he was overlooked this week despite it being a similar course. I am looking forward to going to him in matchups and DFS on Friday as he gets the preferred morning tee time and will have a chance to improve his 2.66 strokes lost on the greens. He has also shown a preference in his career for the bermudagrass greens he gets to roll it on this week, which has me really high on his chance for a bounce-back round on Friday.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

We have seen some exciting opening rounds from Sebastian Munoz this year, but unfortunately it hasn’t produced many results come Sunday. I expect that trend to continue at the John Deere Classic as his troubles with consistency aren’t likely to disappear. He has been boosted to the tournament favorite after his 8-under round on Thursday, but that’s just due to the lack of firepower from this field.

I am putting in an early fade on Munoz, which may not come to fruition on Friday, but is more about the rest of the way. The Colombian has lost significant strokes on approach in every one of the recent weekend rounds he has played, and if he does remain in contention, there’s no reason to think he suddenly finds it.

Kevin Tway was a player I came across before the event that seemed to be trending in the right direction, and that played out on Thursday. He opened with a solid 66 to put himself just three shots behind the leaders going into the second round.

My fade for Tway is more about the way he got it done as he was simply field average on approach, and his off-the-tee game did all of the work. While his driver is a nice benefit, this isn’t a course that can be dominated round by round off the tee, and if he can’t find the other half of his ball-striking, he will begin to fade into the weekend at TPC Deere Run.

The final fade for me on Friday is with Nick Taylor, which doesn’t come without some hesitation. He is the longest hit I’ve ever had after getting him before the event at his first TOUR win at the AT&T Pebble Beach in 2020. It will always be one I look back on favorably, but I can’t let it affect my future picks.

Taylor shot a 4-under 67 on Thursday to put himself in a good spot going into the second round, but the way he did it causes some concern. He lost 1.13 strokes to the field on approach and another .64 around the greens. The Canadian missed one third of his greens, and five fairways in his round, which won’t translate well into the weekend. He is not a player that can rely on a hot putter all week, and if his ball-striking doesn’t get straightened out quickly, he could be in danger for the cut on Friday.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 1

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