FedEx St. Judes Classic Predictions to Win
Date: June 11-14, 2015
Course: TPC Southwind Memphis, TN
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Golf handicapper, Predictem.com
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With just one week remaining before the U.S. Open, there is rightfully a lot of attention paid to who is and isnt going to be in the field at Chambers Bay. Sectional qualifiers are complete and nearly the entire field is set for the years second Major Championship. If you are a little less geeky about golf, you probably dont care much about that but there is one more regular Tour stop you might want to check out before we head to Washington as the PGA visits Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Judes Classic. A stop in Memphis has long been part of the yearly PGA schedule with TPC Southwind serving as host for nearly three decades now. Ben Crane delivered a stellar ballstriking performance on the way to winning last year and defends his title against a field that is motivated to play well leading up to the U.S. Open. Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson highlight the names in attendance and while this field isnt the strongest on Tour, the competition has a reputation for being tight and entertaining right down the wire.
TPC Southwind doesnt appear to be the most difficult of courses at first glance but this 7,244 yard, par-70 layout is routinely in the top-10 when it comes to overall difficulty and a very solid and complete game is required to succeed here. There is plenty of sand and water woven into the winding layout and the par-3s make for some interesting challenges. Southwind has a near replica to the famed 17that Sawgrass to give players fits and the 14th, a 239-yard, par-3, is one of the more difficult short holes anywhere. Southwind is one of those courses that doesnt project in favor of one style or another. Short and accurate players like Justin Leonard have won here but bombers like Dustin Johnson have also won so this is a wide open field and there are many in contention.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think are the best bets to win. We make some picks to win the event and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any online sportsbook. Here are our picks to win the 2015 FedEx St. Judes Classic.
Ryan Palmer (14 to 1 odds to win)
Palmer is in a very wide group of players that could win at nearly any time but it just doesnt seem to happen. He nearly won the Waste Management event earlier in the spring but settled for a T2 and most recently was T10 at the Byron Nelson. Palmer has had some chances here too, with T3 and 4th place runs in 2012 and 2013. He is a good fit for this course as he has the length to tackle the par-5s and hits enough greens to earn a top-20 birdie average. His scoring has peaked to 5thentering the week and is among the strongest overall talents in this field. Palmer is 8thin total putting and 35thin ballstriking so there are few weaknesses, if any, and not having to challenge the likes of McIlroy and Spieth gives his chances a bit of a boost.
Brooks Koepka (25 to 1)
Koepka outlasted the field in Phoenix for his first PGA win earlier this year and has risen all the way to 23rdin the world ranks. He has only missed one cut so far this season and ran well here last year (T19) considering it was his first St. Judes appearance. Koepka is 10thin driving distance and hits a lot of greens as a result. He adds a top-25 putter to the mix and enters the week 21stin birdie average and 12thin scoring. His scrambling stat is weak but that isnt all that uncommon for younger players and he makes up for it nearly everywhere else and ranks 7thin the all-around. If he stays out of trouble and uses his length judiciously, he can make the most of the few gimme scoring chances while earning a few extra by attacking the course.
Jerry Kelly (50 to 1)
Kelly is getting pretty long in the tooth to be considered a week-to-week contender but he has been playing well of late with five straight made cuts and all of those have produced T30 or better finishes with three top-20s. He has made the weekend in each of his last four St. Judes trips and his control-first method has been proven successful here before. Kelly is 15thin fairways hit, 2ndin scrambling and turns in the 14thbest scoring average. He is putting as well as possibly ever has on Tour with top-16 marks in total putting and one-putt percentage. The margin of error is slim for his less-than-powerful style but he should be able to make the most of his rounds while others are giving strokes back to the more difficult spots on the course.
Cameron Tringale (66 to 1)
It has been a fight at times for Cam during his pro career with a lot highs and lows coming in rapid succession. He has five missed cuts already in 2015 which isnt great but he also has a runner-up finish from New Orleans to prove he can contend out here. Tringale has a T8 at Southwind from 2011 to suggest he can make a run this week and has missed the cut here just once in four starts. Cam is a shorter player but will routinely be in the fairways and he should be able to set himself up for scoring opportunities while navigating the trouble spots. I like that this weeks field a bit weaker than most and that gives guys like this that little extra opportunity to break through.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check out 5Dimes Sportsbook for a large selection of single round matches and prop bets. Their prices are the lowest and the web and they pay fast too!
Webb Simpson v. Harris English (pick to win: Simpson)
The books usually find a way to put together a match where the players are nearly identical on the stat sheet and this is one of them. Long story short, there is nothing tee-to-green that separates these two in a meaningful way so lets look at what they do on the greens. English comes in at 26thin strokes gained-putting and Simpson is 170thso you are probably asking yourself why I am picking Webb, right? I am picking Simpson because he nets the same scoring marks as English which points to Webb being the more efficient and better putter overall instead of the one that is better in pure average. Bottom line, Simpson hits a few more greens over the course of the week and has a few more two-putt pars and his average goes up as a result. That boring style of play will pay off this week and that is why Simpson is the pick in this match.
Nick Watney v. Charl Schwartzel (pick to win: Watney)
I will have to admit that I am not a big fan of either of these players this week as they both are scuffling and both could easily miss the cut if they dont have a turn-around performance. That said, Watney is the better player in this match as he hits more greens that Schwartzel and owns advantages in birdies and scoring as well. Neither is a putting machine so they tend to struggle in the same capacities, effectively making this a weakness-on-weakness match. Golf betting is weird sometimes and I think a made cut by Watney has more than a coinflips chance to pay as Schwartzel has not shown the kind of form that would suggest he is going to have a great week at Southwind.
Good luck and good golf!