PGA Tour Picks: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Odds and Expert Predictions
Not surprising that an Irishman won the British Open on Sunday at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland - just surprising which one it was (yes, I know Ireland and Northern Ireland are technically different countries but same island). Rory McIlroy was the favorite playing not far from his hometown but he clearly was nervous or something on the first tee Thursday as he put up a quadruple bogey on the way to a shocking first-round 79. He rallied for a 65 on Friday but still missed the cut.
Looked as if that would take a lot of the fans' excitement away on the course, but that wasn't the case because Irishman Shane Lowry won the Claret Jug for his first major championship title. The weather was pretty nice until the final round, in which the field struggled as a whole. Lowry shot a 1-over 72 to finish at 15 under and win the 148th Open Championship by six over Tommy Fleetwood. It was just the second time the tournament had been held outside of England or Scotland and first since Royal Portrush also hosted 68 years ago. Lowry essentially won the tournament on Saturday with a 63 before the weather came in. Among the final 12 groups Sunday, no one finished only par and the best scores, from Tony Finau and Patrick Reed, were 71s.
Brooks Koepka continued his amazing play in majors by finishing T4 at 6 under. He joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth as the only golfers to finish in the top-five of all four majors in a given year. My pick to win was Aussie Adam Scott but he shot 78-73 to miss the cut. So did U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who didn't look physically right. It was the first time both Lefty and Tiger missed a cut in the same major. The British Open was the 83 rd they played together in.
Usually, the tournament right after the British Open has one of the worst fields of the year simply because of the travel involved and guys' body clocks needing to readjust. It used to be the Canadian Open in this spot but that was moved to June and the week before the U.S. Open. The event in that spot had been the St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, but now that has been upgraded to the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and moved to this spot. The WGC events are the best tournaments outside the majors where even the last-place finisher makes money (i.e. no cut with the limited field) and thus everyone who is everyone is playing other than Tiger. He's resting up until the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Woods used to dominate the tournament this is taking the place of, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Akron. That's no more. I'll was going to say that I didn't expect Lowry to play well here if you saw how emotional he was Sunday and that he was probably still pounding the Guinness. Well, Lowry did end up withdrawing.
TPC Southwind will play the same as it has in previous years, a par 70 at 7,425 yards. The first-ever 59 on the PGA Tour was shot by Al Geiberger in the second round of the 1977 St. Jude Classic but that was played at a different course. TPC Southwind, which has an island green on the par-3 11 th, has hosted this tournament since 1989.
Golf Odds: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Favorites
Dustin Johnson is the +900 favorite and the defending champion - well, technically I guess you could say Justin Thomas (+1600) is the defending champion because he won the WGC-Bridgestone and this is that now. But Johnson won the 2019 St. Jude Classic at 19 under by six shots and also won it in 2012. DJ was T51 last week. He has six all-time WGC wins, second to Tiger.
Koepka and McIlroy are each +1000. McIlroy still has to be ticked off at what happened to him so I'm not real high on him here. He last played Memphis in 2012. Koepka has been mortal in non-major tournaments for weeks. Patrick Cantlay is +2000, with Justin Rose, Fleetwood and Xander Schauffele each +2200.
Golf Odds: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Picks
For a Top 10, let's go Johnson (-155), Brandt Snedeker (+500) and Chez Reavie (+425). Snedeker co-owns the course record of 62 and was T6 last year, while Reavie has been Top 10 his past two trips to Memphis.
Head-to-head, go Cantlay (+110) over Koepka (-140), Johnson (-115) over McIlroy (-115), and Jason Day (-115) over Jordan Spieth (-115). Let's take a shot on Billy Horschel to win at a great price of +6600. He had four straight Top 10 finishes here end last year, but he was struggling then and is playing better in 2019 despite a missed cut at the British Open.
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