A DFS Look Ahead to This Week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic
Course: TPC Southwind (Memphis, Tennessee)
Yardage: 7,244 – Par 70
Purse : $6.6 M
Field: 152 players
*Past FedEx St. Jude Classic Champions
It seems like every other week a young up-and-coming player walks away with the win. Early in the season it was Patrick Cantlay, Austin Cook, and Jon Rahm, lately it’s been Satoshi Kodaira, Andrew Landry, Aaron Wise, and now Bryson DeChambeau with his second career win. DeChambeau went 15 under par after 72 holes, finding himself in a playoff with Byeong Hun-An and Kyle Stanley. After Stanley was eliminated on the first playoff hole, DeChambeau rolled in a 12-foot putt for birdie to knock off the second-year Korean Tour pro and win his second tournament. After a slow start to DeChambeau’s rookie season, the 24-year-old has broken out since then with two victories in a 10 and a half month period with a total of six Top 10 finishes this season. Headlined by Rahm, the 2016-17 class has three main stars in Rahm, Cantlay, and DeChambeau. The three have combined for five wins already in a year and a half on Tour, and add to the ever-growing competition on the PGA Tour.
The Tour moves from Ohio to Memphis, Tennessee for the FedEx St. Jude Classic for the final tune-up before the 2018 U.S Open. The 2018 edition of this tournament marks the final year that this tournament will be sporting a full field. In 2019 the FedEx St. Jude will become one of the WGC (World Golf Championship) Events, replacing the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, moving from it’s usual June slot to Augustof next year.
Unlike last week and next week, this is a very watered-down field as most of the stars chose the Memorial as their final warm-up for the second major of the year. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, and Brooks Koepka will headline the players teeing it up at TPC Southwind. The only other Top 50 ranked golfers playing this week are Daniel Berger, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Tony Finau, Peter Uihlein, and Charl Schwartzel. Beyond the Top 50 guys, we’ll also be watching last week’s runner-up, Byeong Hun-An, Adam Scott, Billy Horschel, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Charles Howell III, and Luke List. The 19-year old Chilean phenom Joaquin Niemann will be teeing it up after leading the Memorial for three rounds last week, and finishing in sixth place. This week’s mid lower-tier will be inhabited by names like Lucas Glover, Russell Knox, Ryan Palmer, J.B. Holmes, Kevin Tway, Kevin Chappell, Ollie Schniederjans, Chez Reavie, Brandt Snedeker, Shane Lowry, Grayson Murray, Keith Mitchell, Austin Cook, James Hahn, and Danny Lee.
TPC Southwind, a Par 70 track that measures 7,244 yards, has been the site of the FedEx St. Jude since 1989. In recent years, there hasn’t been a particular style of player to repeatedly win this tournament, so recent form may be more important than searching for a guy to perfectly fit the course, but as always there are some basic things you want your DFS players to do well.. We’ve seen short-hitters like Ben Crane, who averages 279 yards a drive, win in 2014, and bombers like Dustin Johnson who averages just under 310 yards per drive. win in 2012. So clearly there is no reason to have any distance-bias when rostering players.
TPC Southwind challenges all parts of a player’s game, with water hazards on ten different holes, players will have to be precise with their ball striking. Players who gain strokes off the tee will have an advantage on the more wayward drivers of the ball. Striking it well off-the-tee is necessary for keeping the ball dry, as well as attacking the greens from the proper angles. The greens at TPC Southwind are some of the smaller surfaces on Tour and are very difficult to hit, so players who rank highly in approach strokes gained: approach and Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentage will need to showcase that ability this week. As a Par 70 course there are only two par 5s and 12 par 4s, so Par 5 scoring is devalued and Par 4 scoring gets the nod with two-thirds of the holes playing as a Par 4. In recent years, winning scores are somewhere in the 10 to 14 under range. With only eight par 5 opportunities all week, at least some of the birdies must be made on the 4s, so finding someone who has a high percentage of birdies on Par 4s (Par 4 birdie or better percentage) will lead to success at TPC Southwind.
Strokes gained: off-the-tee
Strokes gained: approach
Par 4 scoring
Par 4 birdie or better percentage
Byeong Hun An Featured Image: (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)