St Jude Classic Preview – Picks and Sleepers
The Fedex St Jude Classic – Daily Fantasy Sports Preview
This week sees the St. Jude Classic taking place in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the final event before next week’s US Open with many players hoping they’ll find some form this week to take into next. This event is also the last where a player can qualify for next week – the top 60 in the World Rankings next Monday will all tee up at the US Open, so anyone just outside could join the party by moving up.
The Fedex St Jude Classic – The Field
The field this week is not a particularly strong one with none of the world’s top ten players competing, however world number eleven and crowd favorite Phil Mickelson will be hitting the fairways this week. There is a slightly European feel to the event with Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell all using this week to get in shape for next week’s Major. Other notable players teeing up are Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson,Rickie Fowler and fending champion Harris English.
The Fedex St Jude Classic – The Course
The event is played at TPC Southwind and is slightly unusual in that it is a par 70 course, both nines being 35. The tournament course is 7244 yards, the set-up is some 700 yards longer than when the members play. The course record is 61, achieved by both Jay Delsing and Bob Estes.
The Fedex St Jude Classic – Past Tournaments
Last year saw Harris English win the tournament, his first victory on the PGA Tour. This win was set up by rounds of 66 and 64 on Thursday and Friday. Two shots back were Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings. Notably, Dustin Johnson finished in a tie for 10th.
In 2012, Dustin Johnson won the event, a closing round 66 giving him a one shot victory over John Merrick. In a four way tie for third were Ryan Palmer,Davis Love III, Nick O’Hern and Chad Campbell. Rory McIlroy finished just a shot further back.
Other past winners include Harrison Frazar, Lee Westwood and Brian Gay. David Toms won the event in both 2003 and 2004, and Justin Leonard won in 2005 and 2008. All five of these players are in the field and looking for another victory in Memphis.
The Fedex St Jude Classic – What the Stats Tell Us
By looking at the statistics of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Scott Stallings and John Merrick we can gain a feel for what it takes to do well around TPC Southwind. One thing that immediately stands out is that none of the players featured in the top 100 in driving accuracy last year – driving distance is a mixed bag, Johnson and Stallings ranked highly, Mickelson and Merrick not so good.
John Merrick and Dustin Johnson both feature highly in approaches > 200 yards, and Stallings features highly in greens in regulation over 200 yards. Mickelson doesn’t fit this bill here, however Lefty makes his birdies by his great use of the flat stick. Three of these players score very highly on par 3 performance and this might be the most meaningful stat of all here – this is a course that has four par 3’s and seven par 4’s over 440 yards, meaning that the approach shot seems vital – the tee shot not so much.
Players in the field with a good par 3 performance this year are Russell Knox (1st), Tyrone von Aswegen (3rd), Kevin Stadler (5 th) and Harris English and Zach Johnson (joint 8th).
The Fedex St Jude Classic – Interesting Pointers
Chesson Hadley is currently 66th in the world rankings and a good week might see him move up into the all-important top 60. Other playerslooking for a big week are Charles Howell III (68th), Bernd Wiesberger (69th) and JB Jolmes (70th).
The Fedex St Jude Classic – The Betting – Picks and Sleepers
After his win two years ago and his top ten last year, Dustin Johnson edges the betting (16/1) in a close run market. Phil Mickelson (18/1) and Lee Westwood (18/1) are just behind the favorite, with Harris English (22/1) and Ryan Palmer (22/1) a little further back. Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson are next in the list (25/1), followed by Charles Howell and a group of Europeans in Poulter, Casey, Dubuisson and McDowell (33/1).
I do not have a strong grasp on any great sleeper picks for this week. I recommend looking at the bookmaker odds and finding a lower priced player with better than related odds, checking their recent form and rolling the dice.
Good luck this week!