PGA Tour Picks: St. Jude Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
It was almost like no one wanted to win Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament on Sunday outside Columbus, Ohio.
Kyle Stanley birdied No. 14-17 on Sunday, but then his tee shot on No. 18 caromed off a tree and into deep rough. He made bogey to fall into a playoff with Bryson DeChambeau and Byeong Hun An - the first three-man playoff in tournament history. Stanley had another poor drive on the return to No. 18 in the playoff and was eliminated with a bogey. DeChambeau could have won in regulation but three-putted for bogey on the 18th at Muirfield Village, missing for the win from 8 feet. He missed the green from the fairway on the 18th on the first extra hole (hit just five total fairways on Sunday) and had to scramble for par to extend the playoff.
However, DeChambeau, 24, managed to beat An on the second extra hole by draining a 12-foot birdie putt for his second career PGA Tour win and a three-year exemption. His other win came in the 2017 John Deere Classic the week before the British Open (where he missed the cut). DeChambeau led the field in scrambling (17/21) at the Memorial and was ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting (+4.916).
Tiger Woods was in contention briefly on Sunday, but his putter betrayed him all weekend. He was second-to-last in the field in putting. Tiger finished in a tie for 23rd, his sixth Top-25 finish in nine starts. He says he feels quite good about his game heading into the U.S. Open. Patrick Cantlay led by two shots heading to his back nine Sunday but didn't make a birdie over his final 10 holes.
My winning pick was Aussie Marc Leishman, but he finished T62 after a final-round 76. Got Rory McIlroy (T8) for a Top 10 but missed on Matt Kuchar for one by a shot. One piece of bad news over the weekend was Bud Cauley getting into a serious car accident on Friday night after missing the cut. Cauley was scheduled to play Monday's U.S. Open qualifier in Memphis, but he has withdrawn and won't be seen for a while with broken ribs, a collapsed lung and fractured leg.
This week the PGA Tour heads to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and this is the last time it will be held the week before the U.S. Open. FedEx is one of the Tour's mega-sponsors and of course is the money behind the FedEx Cup playoffs. So basically, whatever FedEx wants it gets, and this tournament will move to late July-early August in 2019 and will be upgraded to a WGC event, called the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. It is taking the spot of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which had been held in Akron since 1999. FedEx first became the title sponsor in of the St. Jude Classic in 1986.
The PGA Tour has held an event in Memphis every year since 1958, first at Colonial Country Club until the event moved permanently to TPC Southwind in 1989. It will stay at Southwind. The first 59 in Tour history was at the 1977 Memphis Classic by Al Geiberger, although Jim Furyk has since bested that record by a shot. TPC Southwind is a par 70 measuring 7,244 yards and its course record is a 61 by a couple of guys.
Because it's the week before the most grueling major on the schedule, the U.S. Open, many big names are skipping (just four of the Top 20 are playing) and probably already at Shinnecock Hills practicing. Some guys, though, like Phil Mickelson, like playing the week before a major. This is also the last chance for a player to jump into the Top 60 in the world rankings and earn a U.S. Open spot if not already qualified. Adam Scott had been one big name just on the outside looking in at No. 64, but he decided to play in Monday sectional qualifying and earned his spot in the U.S. Open. Scott will be competing in his 68th consecutive major.
Golf Odds: St. Jude Classic Favorites
World No. 2 Dustin Johnson, the highest-ranked player in the field easily, is also the +700 favorite at Bovada . He won here in 2012, was 10th the following year and fifth in 2016. DJ didn't play the event in 2017. He comes off a T8 last week.
Brooks Koepka is +900 with Phil Mickelson at +1400 and Henrik Stenson at +1600. Lefty has done everything but win here with five straight Top-11 finishes in Memphis, including two seconds (2013 & '16). Koepka, the reigning U.S. Open champ, was second here in 2016 and third the year before but 37th in 2017. He was a runner-up in Fort Worth last time out. Stenson hasn't played here since a 13th in 2012.
Among a few guys at +2800 is two-time defending champion Daniel Berger. Only 27 times in Tour history has an event been won at least three times in a row -- it's never been done in Memphis. Steve Stricker was the last to do it at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.
Golf Odds: St. Jude Classic Picks
As of this writing, Bovada is only offering Top 5, Top 10 and first-round leader props. I never recommend betting Top 5 or leader. So, for a Top 10 I like Koepka (-120), Mickelson (+135) and Billy Horschel (+225). I don't like Berger (+185) as he's not playing great right now, although he wasn't entering last year's tournament either.
Horschel is the winning choice at +2800. He comes off a runner-up at Colonial, is rested after taking last week off and has been T10-T6-T8-T4 here in his past four visits with a scoring average of 68.31.
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