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Kenny Perry the favourite for John Deere Classic

American world number four Kenny Perry is known for his red-hot streaks and will launch his title defence as heavy favourite for this week’s John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Perry clinched his 14th PGA Tour victory in his most recent start, at the Travelers Championship nine days ago, and will be bidding for his third win this year when he tees off in Thursday’s opening round.

“My whole career has been like that,” the 48-year-old Tour veteran told reporters in the build-up to this week’s event at the TPC Deere Run. “I’m a very streaky player.

“I won three times in ’03, the Colonial and Memorial back-to-back and two weeks later I won again. It just seems like whenever I get on these streaks I can hold my game together for four, five or six tournaments.

“I did that again this year,” Perry added, referring to a run of six top-10s in his first 10 PGA Tour appearances of the season. That streak included a victory at the Phoenix Open in February and a playoff loss at the U.S. Masters in April.

He has since triumphed by three shots at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut and can be expected to flourish again this week at one of his favourite venues.

Twelve months ago, Perry received widespread criticism for competing at Deere Run and then skipping the British Open at Royal Birkdale the following week.

Instead, he honoured his pledge to play at the Milwaukee Championship and his desire to qualify for the U.S. team at last year’s Ryder Cup in his native Kentucky.

“This was a huge tournament for me last year to win,” said Perry, reflecting on his playoff victory over compatriots Brad Adamonis and Jay Williamson.

“This really springboarded me right into the Ryder Cup. As everybody knows, I took a lot of grief for skipping a couple of the majors but I had a goal, I had a plan.”

Perry will, however, compete in next week’s British Open at Turnberry in Scotland.

Although most of the top players are already in Europe preparing for the third major of the year, this week’s PGA Tour event has attracted three members of the world’s top 20.

Apart from Perry, fellow Americans Steve Stricker (eighth) and U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (17th) are also taking part.

There is added incentive this week as the leading player finishing in the top five at Deere Run not yet exempt for the British Open will secure an automatic berth for Turnberry.


July 8, 2009

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