Out of the Rough: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship
We had some minor success at the Wyndham Championship but nothing to really to hang our hats on. Sungjae Im finished his third round on Sunday morning with a three stroke on the field before Kim Joo-hyung came out in the afternoon and shot -8 through the first nine holes to propel himself towards a victory. Besides Im’s second place finish, our favorite on the week, Russell Henley went T5th. We made our money back on DFS so I guess that’s a small scale victory. Aynhow, we head into the FedEx Cup Playoffs where we will see the best field we’ve seen all season long.
Wyndham Championship Results
Sungjae Im (-15) - T2nd
Russell Henley (-13) - T5th
Aaron Wise (-10) - T13th
Mark Hubbard (-4) - T61st
Hayden Buckley (WD)
Shane Lowry (+4) - T83rd
Corey Conners (-9) - T21st
Davis Riley (-10) - T13th
Tyler Duncan (E) - MC
Vaughn Taylor (-7) - T36th
The top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup Standings will take to TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship in the first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
After a grueling season on tour, we’re approaching the end with the biggest monetary prizes on the line, and for that, we’ll see the most talent filled field we’ve seen all year.
This re-branded event from The Northern Trust will reduce the field from 125 golfers to 70 and ties to move onto next week’s BMW Championship.
Although overall season points are still important, doing well at both the St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship can be the difference maker as points are quadrupled in the FedEx Cup standings.
When it’s all said and done in a few short weeks, the winner of the playoff will be rewarded $18 million.
As for this week, TPC Southwind has been the host of this event, although rebranded, since 1989.
It’s one of the most daunting and grueling tracks on tour. It plays as a par 70 at 7,200-plus yards and was designed by Ron Prichard.
TPC Southwind features narrow and contoured fairways that do not play in favor for distance off the tee.
It also has smaller-than-average greens that are hard to hit, reducing the greens-in-regulation percentage to one of the lowest on tour. The greens also feature smaller target areas and tricky pin locations.
Water is also in play on ten holes this week.
The course features 12 par fours, seven of which play between 450-500 yards. Managing these holes will obviously be the difference this week. The golfers who can tread water the best on these holes and maximize their chances will see their names at the top of the leaderboard.
Scrambling and bogey avoidance will be keys this week as it will take a calm and patient golfer to take on each of the challenges TPC Southwind presents to come out victorious
With so many challenges and the way this course lines up opening up the FedEx Cup Playoffs with such a monetary prize on the line, expect high scores across all score cards. The winner will likely land in the low-to-middle teens under par.
As for weather this week, there is a chance for rain in the early afternoon on Thursday but the rest of the weekend looks clear. Temperatures will be in the high eighties to low nineties. Wind peaks at 10 miles-per-hour so that will not be a factor as well.
Important statistics to consider this week include Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG,) Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP,) Approach Shots Proximity from 150-175 yards, Birdie or Better Percentage, Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG,) Scrambling, Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT,) Par Four Efficiency 450-500 Yards and Bogey Avoidance.
With arguably the best field we’ve seen all season we will be giving three suggestions per price range. Leading off this top tier price range is my favorite to win it all this week in Justin Thomas ($10,200.) At the bottom of the price range you’re getting arguably the best statistical golfer on tour. Thomas is second on tour in birdie or better percentage, third in SG: TTG and par four efficiency 450-500 yards, fifth in SG: APP and approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards, tenth in bogey avoidance, 14th in scrambling, 29th in SG: ATG and 56th in SG: PUTT. You won’t find a more rounded golfer on tour than Thomas. He’s elite in the majority of the statistical categories we’re taking into consideration this week and well above average in those that he isn’t elite. He’s missed the cut just twice all season and has 11 top 25’s, nine top tens, six top fives and a win at the PGA Championship. In a tournament and on a course that will test all aspects of a golfer’s game, there’s no one better to do that than Thomas. Also consider current World #1 Scottie Scheffler ($10,800.) Scheffler is third on tour in birdie or better percentage, sixth in SG: APP, eighth in SG: TTG, 16th in bogey avoidance, 24th in SG: ATG, 25th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 33rd in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards and 36th in SG: PUTT. His score this week is brought down due to his 112th finish in scrambling. Scheffler has 16 top 25s, nine top tens and an impressive four victories on the season. He did miss the cut at the Genesis Scottish Open but in the four events before and one after he has two second place finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge and U.S. Open, a T13th at the Travelers Championship and two top 21s. Also consider Rory McIlroy ($11,000.) McIlroy is currently fourth on tour in SG: TTG, fifth in birdie or better percentage, seventh in SG: PUTT, 13th in bogey avoidance, 15th in SG: APP, 25th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 26th in scrambling and 49th in SG: ATG. He is sunk this week due to his 158th placement in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards. However, he is the betting favorite for a reason. McIlroy has made eight straight cuts including a victory at the RBC Canadian Open in early June. He also has five top fives and his worst finish over that stretch was T19th at the Travelers Championship. He’s also the highest priced golfer on DraftKings.
Leading off this price range is one of the hottest golfers in the world in Tony Finau ($9,700.) Finau is coming off back-to-back victories at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic. Even prior to that he has just one missed cut in his last 12 tournaments. Including the two victories he placed second at the RBC Canadian Open and Mexico Open at Vidanta. There simply is no one hotter on tour than Finau. He’s also third on tour in bogey avoidance, fifth in SG: TTG, ninth in SG: APP, 15th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 18th in birdie or better percentage, 19th in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards, 28th in scrambling and 39th in SG: ATG. He’s simply elite in nearly every category outside of his slightly below average finish in SG: PUTT. I don’t think there’s much determent however as he’s been putting lights out over the last few weeks. At +2200 to win as well and priced at $9,700, he’s an ideal play in my opinion. He’s second in our module to just Thomas this week. Also consider Matt Fitzpatrick ($9,800.) The U.S. Open champion hasn't been seen as much since his major victory as he went T6th at the Genesis Scottish Open at T21st at The Open. He still has three top fives, five top tens and six top 25s in his last seven tournaments. Fitzpatrick is tops on tour in SG: TTG, the most important statistic in my opinion this week. He’s also second in both SG: STG and scrambling, 12th in bogey avoidance, 19th in SG: APP and 33rd in SG: PUTT. He leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to par four efficiency 450-500 yards where he’s slightly below average and approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards but the rest of his game is elite and will help carry him this week. Also consider Jordan Spieth ($9,100.) At the bottom of this price range, Spieth will offer some great lineup flexibility. We haven’t seen a lot of Spieth over the last month or so but in his last two tournaments he went T10th and T8th at the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open respectively. Spieth is currently 18th on tour in SG: TTG, 25th in both birdie or better percentage and SG: ATG, 30th in scrambling, 34th in SG: APP, 40th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 54th in bogey avoidance and 56th in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards. If he can catch a hot putter with a combination of that Spieth magic we’ve all come to love, he can be competing for a victory on Sunday.
My third favorite this week according to my module can be found in this price range in Sungjae Im ($8,500.) Im had a three stroke lead after Sunday morning’s finish of the third round last week at the Wyndham Championship before Kim Joo-hyung’s improbable run. His second place finish however helped catapult him into the top ten of the FedEx Cup Standings however and he’ll be playing this week to stay there. Im is now fresh off back-to-back second place finishes at the 3M Open and Wyndham Championship. He has made the cut in eight of his last ten tournaments as well with top ten finishes at The Masters and the Memorial Tournament. Im is tops on tour in bogey avoidance. He’s also fourth in scrambling, seventh in SG: ATG and tenth in SG: TTG. He comes in at 13th in SG: PUTT, 34th in birdie or better percentage, 43rd in SG: PUTT and 52nd in SG: APP. His score is brought down slightly due to his slightly below average ranking in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards but I wouldn’t sweat that too much. Coming in at a cool +2900 to win, he’ll get a few dollars on my behalf. Also consider Hideki Matsuyama ($8,400.) He’s currently seventh on tour in SG: APP, ninth in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards, 14th in birdie or better percentage, 16th in SG: TTG, 17th in bogey avoidance, 33rd in scrambling and 47th in SG: ATG. It’s been an odd run as of late for Matsuyama with two withdrawals and a DQ within his last nine tournaments. In that same time period however he has a T14th at The Masters, T3rd at the AT&T Byron Nelson and fourth at the U.S. Open. He’ll need to catch a hot putter to make some noise this week but as a former Masters’ winner, he has what it takes. Also consider Sam Burns ($8,600.) Burns is actually one of three golfers in the tournament that are above average in each of the statistical categories we’ve highlighted. The other being Thomas and a name we’ll highlight further down. He’s ninth in birdie or better percentage, 10th in SG: PUTT, 13th in SG: APP, 24th in both SG: TTG and par four efficiency 450-500 yards. He’s also 32nd in bogey avoidance, 52nd in SG: ATG, 83rd in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards and 94th in scrambling. You’re getting all of that in this $8,000 price range and he’s currently at +3100 to win. Burns has three victories on the season as well, placing him third in the FedEx Cup Standings. A strong finish this week will set him up nicely for the remainder of the playoffs as well.
I’m all in on Aaron Wise ($7,700) once again. He continues to line up statistically week-in-and-week-out. Wise has missed just two cuts in his last 12 tournaments. Most recently he went T13th at the Wyndham Championship a week ago. In that same time span he has a second at the Memorial Tournament and T6th at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. He’s currently 16th on tour in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 26th in SG: TTG, 27th in all of SG: APP, birdie or better percentage and bogey avoidance. He’s also 37th in scrambling, 53rd in SG: ATG and 72nd in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards. His worst finish in any statistical category is 104th in SG: PUTT which is just around the tour average. Also consider Seamus Power ($7,600.) Power has missed two cuts in his last six tournaments but his worst finish when he did make the cut was T25th at the Travelers Championship. He also went T17th at the AT&T Byron Nelson, T9th at the PGA Championship and T12th at the U.S. Open. Power is actually tops on tour when it comes to par four efficiency 450-500 yards. He’s sixth in bogey avoidance, 21st in scrambling, 22nd in birdie or better percentage, 28th in SG: PUTT, 52nd in SG: TTG, 78th in SG: APP, 87th in SG: ATG and 116th in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards. He’s also at +8000 to win and I’ll take those odds. Also consider Harold Varner III ($7,400.) Varner may have missed the cut last week at the Wyndham Championship but had made the cut in ten of his last 12 tournaments. He had a run earlier this year where he went T23rd at The Masters, T3rd at the RBC Heritage and T4th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Varner III is currently 16th on tour in SG: ATG, 21st in birdie or better percentage, 26th in SG: APP, 35th in SG: TTG, 46th in scrambling, 49th in bogey avoidance, 55th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards and 89th in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards. In the bottom half of this price range he’ll be a good piece for lineup flexibility.
The three names I have in this price range actually score rather high in our module - all within the top 26. That’s pretty good for this price range and those looking for longshots to fill out their lineups or looking for those with high odds to cash out on. First off we have Matt Kuchar ($6,900.) Kuchar is actually the only golfer to rank first in two different statistical categories this week. He’s first on tour in both SG: ATG and scrambling; both of which are crucial this week at TPC Southwind. He’s also fourth in bogey avoidance, 15th in SG: PUTT, 40th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 50th in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards, 72nd in SG: TTG and 86th in birdie or better percentage. His lowest ranking is 116th in SG: APP. Prior to last week’s missed cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Kuchar made eight straight cuts. In April he had a stretch of tournaments where he went T16th at the Valspar Championship, T2nd at the Valero Texas Open and T3rd at the RBC Heritage. At +21000 he’ll receive a few dollars on my behalf. Also consider Mark Hubbard ($6,900.) Hubbard has missed just two cuts over his last 12 tournaments. Starting in early July Hubbard went T13th at the John Deere Classic, third at the Barbasol Championship and fourth at the Barracuda Championship. Hubbard is currently second on tour in bogey avoidance, eighth in scrambling, 25th in SG: APP, 31st in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards, 47th in SG: PUTT, 57th in SG: TTG, 64th in birdie or better percentage, 80th in par four efficiency 450-500 yards and 92nd in SG: ATG. In other words, he’s just the third golfer this week who is above average in each of the statistical categories we’ve highlighted. You’re getting a very well rounded golfer in the cheapest price range. Also consider Tom Hoge ($6,800.) Hoge is the cheapest of all of our suggestions this week. He’s a winner on tour this season with a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Hoge recently had a very rough stretch where he missed six consecutive cuts but the last time we saw him, two weeks back at the 3M Open, he went T4th. Hoge is an elite ball striker as he’s 11th on tour in SG: APP. He’s also 20th in scrambling, 29th in SG: TTG, 47th in both birdie or better percentage and par four efficiency 450-500 yards, 49th in bogey avoidance, 63rd in approach shots proximity from 150-175 yards and 94th in SG: ATG.
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, Lenny will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week Lenny went with Chesson Hadley, a Raleigh, North Carolina native. He went -11, good enough for T8th. That is one of the better showings from the SG: PTC this season.
This week he is going with Chad Ramey. Ramey is from Fulton, Mississippi which is just under two hours away from TPC Southwind. He played his college golf at Mississippi State University which is just under three hours away.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
The Zurich Classic - Jay and Billy Haas (E) - T59th
The Mexico Open - Carlos Ortiz (-5) - T51st
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Harry Higgs (-4) - MC
The PGA Championship - Talor Gooch (+1) - T20th
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Tom Hoge (+4) - MC
The Memorial Tournament - Mackenzie Hughes (+2) - T37th
The RBC Canadian Open - Adam Svensson (-6) - T21st
The US Open - Fran Quinn (+13) - MC
The Travelers Championship - Keegan Bradley (-9) - T19th
The John Deere Classic - Doug Ghim (+1) - MC
The Genesis Scottish Open - Robert MacIntyre (+5) - MC
The Open - Tyrell Hatton (-11) - T11th
The 3M Open - Mardy Fish (+13) - MC
Rocket Mortgage Championship - Ryan Brehm (-7) - T57th
The Wyndham Championship - Chesson Hadley (-11) - T8th
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
We’ve topped the $10,000,00 mark in one and done with Russell Henley’s T5th last week at the Wyndham Championship. This week I’ll go with the World #1 in Scottie Scheffler as I’ve already used my favorite in Justin Thomas this season.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)
The Zurich Classic - Marc Lesihman ($24,111.50)
The Mexico Open - Gary Woodland ($60,955)
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Sam Burns ($0)
The PGA Championship - Justin Thomas ($2,700,000)
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Mito Pereira ($246,540)
The Memorial Tournament - Xander Schauffele ($142,800)
The RBC Canadian Open - Corey Conners ($315,375)
The US Open - Matt Fitzpatrick ($3,150,000)
Travelers Championship - Joaquin Niemann ($0)
The John Deere Classic - Nate Lashley ($0)
The Genesis Scottish Open - Justin Thomas ($0)
The Open - Rory McIlroy ($933,000)
The 3M Open - Sungjae Im ($667,500)
Rocket Mortgage Championship - Patrick Cantlay ($635,600)
The Wyndham Championship - Russell Henley ($270,100)