Strong field play final tournament before US Open.
For the eighth year in a row, the St Jude Classic is the PGA Tour’s final challenge before the US Open. A strong field line out in Memphis this week getting their last practice in before heading to Pinehurst next week for the second Major of the year.
With over a million dollars to the victor, the St Jude is certainly an event worth winning. Keep reading for our preview of this year’s tournament.
Tough course rewards controlled aggression
The St Jude has been contested at TPC Southwind since 1989. With a scoring average of 70.760 in 2013, the 7,239-yard course ranked as the third-hardest par 70 of the season for a non-major. Accuracy is key with both the fairways and greens hard to find although there are birdies to be had if your aggression is channelled well.
With players having to contend with both a tough par 70 course and the unreliable Memphis weather, low scoring could be at a premium this week.
The favourites for the FedEx St Jude Classic
Floridian Matt Kuchar is the favourite in Memphis and the 35 year old has recorded a top ten finish in four of his last seven events. He finished T15 at the Memorial Tournament last week despite a poor opening round of 74.
It’s Kuchar’s first appearance at this event since 2007 and the world number 5 is the 11/1 favourite.
A better bet may be the 2012 champion Dustin Johnson. The tall 29 year old has six top 15 finishes to his name this season and finished T14 at the Colonial a fortnight ago. His form last week wasn’t terrific but he has a good record as this event and followed up his win two years ago with a T10 finish in 2013. Johnson is the 14/1 second favourite.
Another former St Jude winner in good form is Lee Westwood. The Englishman has three top 20 finishes on his last 5 starts on the PGA Tour including a T6 at the Players Championship in May. Add in his recent comprehensive win at the Malaysian Open and a solid performance at the BMW PGA at Wentworth and the 41 year old could be one to watch.
Westwood won the event in 2010 and was T11 a year later and so he knows his way around the Southwind course. He’s worth watching at 16/1.
Some outsiders to consider
The Southwind course favours those players with good ‘greens in regulation’ stats and so it’s worth keeping an eye on last year’s champion Harris English. English ranks second in the Tour’s GIR stats and won his maiden Tour event at the St Jude last year.
After a strong start to the 2014 season his form has trailed off a little – he has missed three of the last five cuts – but his game may just suit the Southwind course. English could be a good each-way investment at 33/1.
Canadian David Hearn has yet to win on the PGA Tour but he’s beginning to enjoy an excellent season. The 34 year old has recorded three top 10 finishes in 2014 including a T6 at the Players Championship last month. Hearn has made five consecutive cuts on the Tour and has played the weekend at the St Jude for four years in a row, finishing T18 last year. The Canadian offers good each-way value at 45/1.
2014 hasn’t been a terrific year for Billy Horschel but there have been signs in the last couple of weeks that the 27 year old is getting his game back together.
He finished T5 at Muirfield Village where he led the field in greens hit – another stat that is vital on the Southwind course. The man from Grant, Florida also ranks in the top five on the Tour for GIR. Horschel finished T10 in this event last year and could be a very handy each-way bet at 45/1.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2014 FedEx St Jude Classic over at our main site at https://www.betbright.com/golf/51633018