2021 John Deere Classic Round 3 Buys & Fades: Ryan Moore and Kevin Na Stand Out Up Top
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Na.
It was another low-scoring day around TPC Deere Run on Friday as the field played the course to 2-under in the second round. It allowed the cutline to move all the way out to 4-under for the week, and left a few of the bigger names, like Brian Harman and Kevin Streelman packing their bags after just 36 holes.
No player took more advantage of the scoreable conditions than Luke List who shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend. List did it by gaining nearly six strokes on the field tee to green, including 3.11 on approach. His low round was matched by three others, including Lucas Glover and Chase Seiffert who will start the weekend in a tie for third, just two shots back of the lead. First-round leader Sebastian Munoz will join List in the final pairing on Saturday as he posted another solid round to finish just one shot behind in solo second.
Eleven players in total got to double-digits under par through the first 36 holes, putting them all within three strokes of the top of the leaderboard. The rain will move into the area tonight, making for a soft golf course and the potential for more low scores heading into the third round. Let’s take a look at the strokes gained data from Friday to see who stands out heading into Moving Day at the John Deere Classic.
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 3
There are some players that just see things better on certain courses, and that seems to be the case for Ryan Moore around TPC Deere Run. He is typically a player that can get hot with his ball-striking, but the putter can be hit or miss. It is not the case for him on this course as he seems to roll it really well when he is on. In eight prior trips to this event, he has lost strokes on the greens just three times, and when he’s gained strokes, he’s never gained less than a stroke on the field.
Moore has gained 2.66 shots on the greens through two rounds this week, and it has helped to put him within just two strokes of the leader going into the weekend. The really encouraging thing for him heading into Saturday is that he has been strong throughout his bag, having gained more than five strokes tee to green in the opening two rounds. I expect that Moore will continue to play well in all facets of his game and will give himself a chance to win on Sunday. While I don’t feel great about the win equity at the top of the leaderboard, Moore would be my first choice of that group going into the weekend.
Speaking of win equity, the player that has the most within a handful of the lead is certainly Kevin Na. He also comes at better odds than some of the other names around him, making him an attractive choice at +2700 heading into Moving Day.
Na made a big jump up the leaderboard in the second round as he shot a 5-under 66 to get in the clubhouse at 9-under. He will start Saturday four shots back of the lead, and he’s really showing to have a majority of his game this week. The one area where he is losing strokes is off the tee, which isn’t nearly as penal on this course versus many of the others on TOUR.
Na is certainly making up for it with strong play on approach, as well as on and around the greens. If he can keep that play going this weekend, we know he can get a really hot putter and steal the tournament.
Arguably the hottest player in this tournament is Seamus Power. He has posted top-20 finishes in each of his last four events, including two top 10s. He finished 8th last week at the Rocket Mortgage with no bogeys on the weekend, and went bogey-free in his opening round yesterday too. He lost that bogey-free streak on Friday, but he put up seven birdies with the three dropped shots to get in at 7-under on the week.
Power has gained strokes in every metric tee to green to start his week at the John Deere Classic, and if he can just hole a few more putts, he may be able to get in the mix with a big Saturday. He’s a good value at +8000, though that is reflective of the longshot it would be for him to pull it off, so I have more interest in a top-10 play at +400 and certainly in matchups and DFS.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3
The first fade for me just jumps off the page as Brandon Hagy has been nearly all putter through his first two rounds at TPC Deere Run. He has lost strokes to the field both on approach and around the green in back-to-back rounds to start the tournament but has been bailed out by a scorching hot flat stick.
Hagy is known mostly for his distance and ability off the tee, which has been his best area tee to green through two rounds. He ranks 42nd in strokes gained off the tee this season, so I expect that to continue, but I don’t expect him to remain as the best putter in the field.
Hagy ranks 143rd in strokes gained putting this season, and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t regress back to that mean over the next two days. When I couple that likely regression with the fact that his approach struggles are a long standing issue, he becomes a confident fade for me the rest of the way.
There were a lot of expectations placed on Cameron Champ early in his career, mostly because of his length off the tee. He hasn’t quite lived up to those despite having won already, as he has lacked consistency. Champ had missed four straight cuts coming into this week, so he has finally broken that streak, but I just don’t see him being able to remain in the top 20.
He has gained strokes as expected off the tee, but his 1.04 strokes lost on approach on Friday are the signs of the big concern with his game. Champ has lost more than 15 strokes with his irons in the last three events he has played, and it appears that issue is coming back into play after a positive round on Thursday. I can’t trust it until I see it more consistently with Champ, which makes him an easy fade as he seeks his first top-20 finish of the calendar year.
Roger Sloan is another player in the same position as Champ, as he is in a tie for 18th heading to the weekend. His game came alive on Friday, shooting a 7-under 64 as he was able to gain a bit on the field in all categories tee to green. It was a nice bounce back after he lost 2.95 strokes to the field on approach on Thursday, but his trends say that the opening round may be more indicative of what to expect the rest of the tournament.
The Canadian was on fire with his putter in the second round, gaining 2.45 strokes on the greens during the round. It’s been four straight tournaments with strokes lost on approach for Sloan, but he bailed himself out with the putter last week in Detroit and may need to do so again this week. He certainly could keep that up this weekend at TPC Deere Ranch, but I’ll make my play against that variance starting on Saturday.