The Fed Ex St Jude Classic preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
Any event that precedes a major is to my mind something of a distraction. We have the US Open pre qualifiers this week and then there are those who will want to hone their games ahead of Shinnecock. Then there is Daniel Berger going for a three timer. The field is headed by Dustbin who if nothing else will like the Bermuda greens with five wins on the surface. Koepka, Mickleson and Stenson make up the top four ranked players in the field all with perhaps less designs on winning as opposed to solid preparation for next week.
TPC Southwind, in Memphis, is a rather staid 7,240-yard par 70 natural parkland style layout that favours solid tee to green play and a great short game. Smallish greens place an emphasis on solid tee to green and around the green play.
Our shortlist included Aphibarnrat, Berger, Uhlien and Schwartzel.
Billy Horschel 1pt win @ $29 with Bet365
Luke List 1pt win @ $38 on Betfair
Billy Horschel tees it up this week with some decent form under his belt. Horschel’s been in the doldrums relatively speaking since his spectacular 2014 Fed Ex run but with his recent win he now boasts five PGA Tour wins. His missed cuts at The Masters and the Memorial (some sort of anti Jack thing?) bookend a 5th at the Heritage, T11th at the Valero and win number five at the Zurich in what was, yes, a team event. A post win 37th at The Players was then followed by a decent four rounds in the 60’s, T21, at the Byron Nelson. These four tournaments saw Horschel shoot 37 under…or an adjusted scoring average against a regulation 72 of 69.68. Any player who averages less than 70 over a sustained period will do well. As with any other player we can forgive him a singular lacklustre performance at The Memorial. Even his staggering Fed Ex playoffs run in 2014 began with a missed cut followed by what looked like a choke second. What I like about Horschel is his current form undoubtedly, but also his putting, which is getting back to where it has and can be. Pre The Masters, with the odd exception aside, he’d been putting poorly. Since then he’s posted some really nice positive strokes gained putting stats – five in a row. Mix in some great runs around here – four top tens in his last four visits averaging 68.31 – and the package looks primed to deliver.
Luke List is tour maiden but he gets his chance this week. Ranked third in strokes gained tee to green this fits nicely with the demands of TPC Southwind. Add in his T15 for strokes gained around the green and the case becomes stronger. List flatters to deceive no doubt but he was just a shot off the lead heading into Sunday last year coming off a string of missed cuts unlike this event which he heads to with some rock solid form including three top tens in his last eight starts. List has roared up the world rankings with his class play over the last year and it looks only a matter of time before he converts a 2nd, a 3rd and five top tens from 20 starts this season. In 113 tour starts he has 10 top 10’s. In 20 tour starts this season he has posted five of those. His game stats are awesome and were this a strokes gained overall competition he’d ranked 4th in this field only behind Dustbin, Milky and Stenson.