Fedex St Jude Classic

Fedex St Jude Classic

Fedex St Jude Classic

So it was a great week at the Memorial with Bryson Dechambeau delivering a 50-1 winner for us.

He certainly put us through the mill missing an 8ft putt on 18 to win in regulation before finally getting the job done in a three man play off.

It was our third play off this season and after the heartbreak of Beau Hossler and Si Woo Kim it was nice for the chips to finally fall our way in one!

So with our seasons profit to date nicely bolstered lets move on.

With one and a half eyes very firmly on Shinnecock Hills the tour heads back South to Memphis, Tennessee, for the Fedex St Jude Classic.

The tournament has been an annual fixture on the tour since 1958 and has been played at its current home of TPC Southwind since 1989.

The tournament has made it’s own niche in the calendar for many years now as the ‘pre US Open’ warm up event, however from next year this will all change.

This is because the event is to become a WGC replacing the current Bridgestone Invitational and as a result it will move to the August slot currently held by Firestone.

As is always the case the week before a Major certain big name players prefer to play [particularly those looking to find some momentum] whilst others choose to sit the week out and tinker on their game back home.

The leading lights teeing it up this week are Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka.

One other thing to bear in mind this week is that final Sectional Qualifying for the US Open took place on Monday [in fact is reaching a head as I type] and as a result of this you always see some withdrawals on Tuesday before the event from players who have qualified for the US Open and therefore decide at the last minute to take the week of in Memphis.



TPC Southwind is a Par 70 measuring at just under 7250 yards.

The greens are Bermuda.

TPC Southwind is a tough, technical test with fairways being hard to find and water in play on 8 of the 18 holes.

As such year in year out the course ranks as one, if not the, toughest par 70 on tour.

As is the want for the events held the week before a major organizers attempt to deliver a tough test, set up where it can be, in a manner comparable to what players will experience the following week. After all the more they can do this the more they hope this will help to attract bigger named players looking to ‘warm up’ in Major conditions.

This means that subject to Mother Nature cooperating you will see firmer, faster conditions with tough rough around the greens.

If you hope to contend this week a good short game is therefore certainly required.

You will also no doubt see the stat come up on your TV screen over the week that TPC Southwind year in year out sees more balls in the water than any other course on the PGA Tour.

This means no lead is safe coming down the stretch here.

One man who will certainly testify to this is Robert Garrigus who famously took a seven on the 18th back in 2010 when he held a three shot lead, thus ending up in a play off which ultimately lead to Lee Westwood being the grateful recipient of the trophy.



As you would expect from an event played the week before a major we have seen some shock winners here over the years.

Fabien Gomez and Harrison Frazar are probably the two biggest ‘skinners’ who spring to mind. In addition in the past ten years there have been wins for Brian Gay, Ben Crane and Harris English.

The last two editions have been won by Daniel Berger, DJ won in 2012 [when of course he wasn’t yet at the standing he is now in the game], Justin Leonard won in 09 and as already mentioned Lee Westwood was gifted the trophy by Garrigus in 2010.

One very interesting point to note from this list of winners is the amount of Texans who have had success here, with Frazar, Gay, Crane & Leonard all initially hailing from the Lone Star State.

This is not totally unsurprising as they would undoubtedly feel comfortable in the hot sticky conditions of the neighbouring state to the one they were brought up in.

Stretch this out even further and you if you add Berger, English, DJ and Gomez to the list nine out of the last ten winners of the event hailed from Southern/South Eastern states in the US [or South America in Gomez’ case] with only Westwood breaking this mould.

The message is clear therefore at this event, if you’re looking for the winner you’re certainly better of late swerving players who hail from West Coast states or Northern states of the US.

The winning score here consistently sits in the -10 to -13 range here year in year out, although we did see -8 and -14 back in 2008 & 2009. 



While you can never rule out a storm in the part of the world as a whole it seems to be a case of very hot and sunny this week with temperatures in the low to mid 90s most days.

Unless a storm does materialize then we will be looking at firm, fast conditions.



I always find this week a unique week for selections as it is possible to have some joy with big priced players who have been out of form but come to life in the US Open qualifying.

This has certainly served me in good stead over the years.

In addition of course with the second major of the season coming up next week this can be a week for a big priced shock and I am therefore rolling the dice on six players this week including some very big priced selections;


BRIAN GAY – 125 -1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1stFINISHED 12th

First up is a former winner of this event and Texan native Brian Gay.

As I mentioned at the start of the preview Texans have a great history in this event and Gay is one of the four to hail from the Lone Star State to have won here in the past 10 yrs.

Ever since Gay secured his time return to the tour with back to back top 6 finishes in April 2017 when he was playing on a major medical extension he has been consistently popping up with some decent results.

The good thing about Brian is that he is a fairly easy golfer as a rule to predict from a course suitability point of view. Basically forget him on any course where distance is a big advantage and accuracy is not important and look for him on courses that reward good driving and a good short game.

This is clear to see from his record at places like Sea Island, Pebble Beach, Hilton Head etc over the years.

One other venue Brian has a solid record at over the years is of course TPC Southwind.

Not only did he lift the trophy here in 2009 but he has finished 4th here before and was 6th here a couple of years ago so it is clear that this tough par 70 test suits his eye.

On the face of it Gay’s recent form is nothing spectacular but again it comes back to course suitability. He finished a creditable 44th at the weekend at Memorial, a tournament he basically hasn’t played in the past decade and prior to that he finished 12th at the wide open links course debuted at the Byron Nelson.

Noticeably at Memorial the important components of Brian’s game appeared to be in good order as he finished the week 12th in DA and 16th in SGP.

Brian is battling in US Open qualifying as I write and is in with a decent shout of making it however either way I am more than happy to have on side a player who’s game is in solid order and clearly loves the course at a juicy three figure price. [Update note 5th June - Gay Qualified for US Open]


STEPHAN JAEGER – 300-1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1stFINISHED MC

Now for a more left field selection but a player I can’t possibly leave out in the form of Stephan Jaeger.

At first glance you could be forgiven for a bit of head scratching at why Stephan has made our team this week, however those of you who read my ‘six to follow’ blog I put out at the beginning of the year will know that I have basically had Stephan down for this event since the start of the season.

The logic for the selection stems initially purely from the fact that a trip to Memphis is basically a home state game for Jaeger.

This is because although he of course initially hails from Germany he attended college a few hours up the road at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and still resides there.

In effect therefore whilst a lot of focus this week will understandably be on upcoming events at Shinnecock Hills I’m sure this will not be the case for Stephan who I’m guessing will be seeing this event as his own ‘fifth major’.

These past four results though don’t quite tell the full story of the German’s recent form as whilst the eyes of the PGA Tour were on Sawgrass a few weeks back Stephan decided to tee it up at the Knoxville Open on the tour in his beloved Tennessee and duly walked away with the trophy.

In completing this victory Stephan shot back to back 64s at the weekend. Clearly therefore there is not too much wrong with his game at the moment.

It is also worth remembering that as I again pointed out in my ‘six to follow’ blog, Jaeger appears to be one of those players who can suddenly find his game completely out of nowhere. This is born out not only by the recent win but by his other wins over the past couple of years on the tour.

This was most noticeably in evidence when in 2016 having not finished higher than 11th all season he pitched up at the Ellie Mae Classic, opened up with a 58 and won with a total of -30!

Finally I am going to wrap up my case for Jaeger with a wild bit of speculation in that I am hoping he will take a bit of inspiration from a pretty decent past week for German Golf.

My reference point here isn’t so much a return to form for Martin Kaymer who finished in 8th place in Italy over the weekend but in fact Marcel Schneider’s wire to wire win in the Swiss Challenge on the Challenge Tour.

Of course as I say this is purely speculation as I have no idea how well Stephan and Marcel are acquainted however as they are of a pretty similar age I am sure they must have come up through junior ranks in Germany together and will know each other reasonably well.

From a US Open qualifying point of view Stephan is currently giving it a go in the Georgia event. {I assume he chose this venue as he played in the event in neighbouring North Carolina over the weekend.]

With only three spots up for grabs it is looking like he may come up short however for the reasons note above and in a week that has thrown up plenty of big priced shocks over the years I am happy to take my chances on this hugely talented player at 300-1. [Update note 5th June Jaeger missed out on US Open qualification]


SHAWN STEFANI – 125-1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8   FINISHED MC

It’s hard to believe that it’s five years since Shawn Stefani broke a few golf punters hearts, [mine included] when he shot 76 in the final round of this event to fall from leading after 54 holes to finishing outside of the places when he had gone off at a huge three figure price.

Roll the clock on five years and Shawn is still a PGA Tour maiden with a couple of 2nd place finishes still being the best he has to show for his efforts.

The last couple of seasons have been poor from Shawn and he really hasn’t threatened to break his duck however just in the last few weeks there have been signs of encouragement.

First there was a sold 42nd place finish at Wells Fargo and since then he has added two further cuts made at the AT & T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational.

Stefani is a Texas man through and through and as I mentioned earlier Texans have a great record in this event.

It is therefore not surprising that in addition to his near miss here in 2013 Shawn finished here in 2016. Clearly therefore this is course he feels comfortable on.

As I write Stefani is currently making a decent fist of attempting to qualify for the US Open.

Whilst it would be nice if he managed to do this to give him that further bit of a confidence going in to the week, I am not hugely concerned about this, as ultimately he is again showing enough to prove his game is coming around and allowing for this he should be relishing a return to what must be one of his favourite tracks on tour.

[Update 5th June Stefani missed out on US Open qualification]


CT PAN –  125-1 - 1pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8  FINISHED 18th

I have been focusing my attention this week on players who hail from or are based in the southern states of the US, as, as pointed out earlier they tend to dominate this event.

The one exception to the team this week on that front though is CT Pan.

Coming back to my ‘six to follow for 2018’ blog CT was another player who featured in this alongside Jaeger.

As things stand bar a couple of top 20s earlier season CT hasn’t really done much this year to live up to the billing I gave him, however a bit like Stefani there have been signs of an upturn in form of late.

Fans of progressive form figures like me may well also have noticed this as CT’s last four finishes on tour read 76 46 32 20.

It’s also worth noting that he closed out his last start with a round of 65 at Colonial.

We have no past course evidence to go on here with Pan this week as he is making his debut in the event however I cannot help but think TPC Southwind will be right up his alley.

Basically, when ‘on’ he is a really solid neat and tidy ‘no frills’ player who does nothing exceptionally but everything well. In other words the sort player who thrives at this venue.

Again like Stefani CT is currently involved in US Open qualifying and is playing reasonably.

Again I am not too concerned if he makes it as his game is obviously trending in the right direction and I see further progression coming this week.

[Update 5th June CT Pan missed out on US Open qualifcation]



SCOTT STALLINGS –  200-1 – ½ pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8  FINISHED 30th

My final two selections this week are split between another couple of players with local connections.

Firstly Scott Stallings who went to college and lives in Tennessee.

I shall make the case for Scott brief. Basically he is streak player. When he gets hot he stays hot.

We saw this earlier this season when he had back to back top 10s at Pebble Beach and Riviera.

We also saw this back in 2013 when he had three consecutive top 5 finishes culminating in a 2nd place at the Fedex St Jude. That year, 2013, was also the last time Scott qualified for the US Open.

Obviously Scott has completely gone of the boil again of late however as I type he is sat in 2nd place on -8 with a three shot buffer on the qualifying places for the US Open and this to be honest is [along with of course the past course form and local connection] the sole reason for backing him.

Basically if he finishes well today and gets the job done I can see him definitely carrying this momentum on to TPC Southwind.

I am off course taking a gamble here in order to get the 200-1 as if he does qualify I don’t think this will last but hey, that’s basically what we’re doing every week!

I am though restricting the stake to ½ point e/w in case by the time you read this he has blown up on the last 8 holes!

[Update 5th June Stallings qualified for US Open]


PETER MALNATI –  300-1 – ½ pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 7  FINISHED 30th

And finally we go to a very speculative roll of the dice on Peter Malnati at 300-1.

Again Malnati is a Tennessee based player who has shown a glimmer of form of late starting both of his last two events with good rounds in the 60s before fading over the weekend.

Peter has missed the cut on his last two visits to TPC Southwind however he did show back in 2014 that he could handle the track when finishing 19th.

Malnati’s strength is undoubtedly his short game and as noted already this is key around this venue.

Again Malnati is currently involved in Sectional qualifying for the US Open and as I write it looks like he will come up a bit short, however he is having a reasonably solid day.

On this basis whilst I am sure not qualifying [if this does transpire to be the case] will be a disappointment to him however Malnati is known as one of the most positive players on tour and I am sure he will be 100% focused in his home state event come Thursday.

Again this is off course a speculative case hence we are going with him at ½ point e/w.

[Update 5th June Malnati missed out on US Open qualification]



Pretty straightforward this. I took a punt on Stallings for this last night for all the reasons I noted above, however as he had not yet secured his berth in the US Open I played it cautiously by just going with 1/2 point e/w.

Scott did then complete the task in hand of making it to Shinnecock Hills and judging by his twitter feed this morning he is buzzing as a result of this and can't wait to tee it up in Memphis this week.

The move to back Scott in the outrights last night proved the right one as the firms who were offering 200-1 for 8 places have now cut him, however as we only got 1/2 point on at this price I am keen to top that up a bit by making him this weeks trader pick as well.