FedEx St. Jude Invitational Fantasy Golf Preview

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FedEx St Jude Invitational

Solid Week

We had an excellent week last week, with all three of our picks finishing inside the top 15 at the Olympics. Morikawa and McIlroy both narrowly missed out on medals as they lost in a playoff for bronze. Norway’s Viktor Hovland placed 14th to give us a very well-rounded week. The tournament was won by America’s Xander Schauffele, who piped Sabbatini to the gold medal.

This week we’re heading to TPC Southwind for the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Let’s try and build on our excellent display last week and get back in the win column. We will begin, as always, by taking a look at the history of the tournament as we start to build this week’s Beerlife profile.

The History

The PGA Tour returns to action with the 23rd edition of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational after a week in Japan for the dystopian-looking Olympics. While it claims to be the successor to the former WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the FedEx St. Jude Classic is the genuine heritage of the tournament, as it is held in the exact location, at the same site, with the same title sponsor and even color branding.

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the FedEx St Jude Classic are both parts of the event’s history. However, while the PGA Tour appears to be sticking with the Bridgestone event’s history, in actuality, the FedEx St Jude Classic has a lot more in common with it, including the title sponsor, charity, location, and golf course.

Because of its close ties to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, St. Jude has been part of the event title since 1985. Danny Thomas, the legendary entertainer who contributed his name to the event in 1969 in exchange for St. Jude’s being named the event’s official charity, is the guy to thank for that link. Years before, Thomas had founded the hospital. The Memphis Open, which began 11 years prior in 1958, has remained in Memphis throughout its history. A few local courses have served as host venues over the years, with the present course, TPC Southwind, holding the honors since 1989.

Billy Maxwell won the inaugural event by one stroke over Hall of Famer Cary Middlecoff. Three years later, Middlecoff would win his only Memphis championship. Tommy Bolt, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Gene Littler, Larry Mize, Curtis Strange, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, and Greg Norman are among the other famous winners. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas are among the former winners of the WGC-Bridgestone.

Let’s turn our attention to the form of the previous five winners, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.

Past Results

2020 Justin Thomas – 267 (-13) – Form 18/2/CUT/8
2019 Brooks Koepka – 264 (-16) – Form 4/65/57/2
2018 Justin Thomas – 265 (-15) – Form CUT/56/25/8
2017 Hideki Matsuyama – 264 (-16) – Form 14/2/45/22
2016 Dustin Johnson – 274 (-6) – Form 1/5/3/12

The Course

From 1989 to the present, TPC Southwind has hosted PGA TOUR tournaments. It has hosted events ranging from the Memphis Open to the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and it is currently hosting the FedEx St. Jude Invitational as part of the World Golf Championships. The 7,233-yard par 70 course features two par 5s, 12 par 4s, and four par 3s.

The par 5s Nos. 3 and 16 have traditionally been the course’s easiest holes. They’ve all played under par on average, with the easiest being the 16th hole, which has a 4.51 average. Players lose strokes to the field with anything par or worse on the 16th, which has a 47.8% birdie rate and a 2.8 percent eagle rate.

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Only three holes on the course have played under par, and the rest of the back nine have averaged over par. Despite the relatively tricky scoring percentages, both champions of this event have been in the mid-teens under par each year. Brooks Koepka defeated Webb Simpson by three strokes in 2019, shooting 16-under for the week. In 2020, Justin Thomas won by three strokes, but he was at 13-under par.

Winners ranged from 9 to 19 under par in the years leading up to the WGC version of this event, so the course appeared to play similarly to last year. The course's primary defenses are wind and water, as the rough isn't much of a factor.

TPC Southwind is usually the tour's leader in terms of water balls, with Nos. 12 and 18 accounting for most of the damage. To compete for the title, players must avoid the water holes on this course while simultaneously taking advantage of a few scoring holes in each round.

The weather forecast looks good all week, with some high temperatures, so we should see some low scoring.

The Field

When the 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational begins on Thursday at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., several of the PGA Tour's most outstanding players are expected to compete.

The 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational lineup will include 48 of the top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking, including defending champion Justin Thomas. In addition, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, and Dustin Johnson, among others, are among the candidates for the 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The most noteworthy golfer missing from the roster is No. 1 Jon Rahm, who had committed to the tournament but pulled out before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who is presently ranked 46th, is the only other golfer not in the top 50. The PGA Tour released the full 66-player lineup on Friday.

PGA winner Phil Mickelson, who tied for second last year at TPC Southwind, and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama are among the other notable golfers in the field. Bryson DeChambeau's addition is also important.

Key Stats

We run each player in the field through our Beerlife profile analysis to come up with our selections. This is what we are looking for this week:

Form Lines – The U.S. Open has given us a good indication of who the winner will be here as in the last five years, the winner of this tournament either won or came runner up at the major on three occasions.

U.S. Open 2021

  1. Jon Rahm
  2. Louis Oosthuizen
  3. Harris English
  4. Brooks Koepka
  5. Guido Migliozzi
  6. Collin Morikawa

Winning Mentality – The last four winners of this competition all had at least two wins to their names coming into this one.

Victory Leaders

  1. Stewart Cink
  2. Jason Kokrak
  3. Harris English
  4. Patrick Cantlay
  5. Bryson DeChambeau
  6. Collin Morikawa

A Strong Finish – Four of the last five winners have shot 66 or under on their final round, so it's clear a strong finish is required to see you over the line.

Final Round Scoring Average

  1. Terrell Hatton
  2. Brooks Koepka
  3. Hank Lebioda
  4. Patton Kizzire
  5. Anirban Lahiri

Clean Striking – The previous two winners have come top of the ball striking list, which combines the strokes gained off the tee and within approach play. Let’s look at both categories to give us a better indication.

Strokes Gained: Off The Tee

  1. Bryson DeChambeau
  2. Jon Rahm
  3. Sergio Garcia
  4. Jhonattan Vegas
  5. Bubba Watson

Strokes Gained: Approach The Green

  1. Collin Morikawa
  2. Paul Casey
  3. Russell Henley
  4. Keegan Bradley
  5. Justin Thomas

Bogey Avoidance – While there are some straightforward holes on this course, there are some difficult ones, so avoiding bogeys might be even more critical than making birdies this week.

Bogey Avoidance

  1. Webb Simpson
  2. Russell Henley
  3. Cameron Tringale
  4. Daniel Berger
  5. Charles Howell III

Draft Picks

After looking at the above data and running the field through our Beerlife profile builder, we have selected the following picks.

Must-Have Players – These players may cost a bit more but are sure to be worth it.

Collin Morikawa
Odds To Win +1400
Draft Kings $11,000
FanDuel $12,000
It’s hard for me to turn my back on a player in such great form and who has made me a lot of money this season. He pretty much has everything we are looking for this week, and his experience at the Olympics recently will only enhance his chances. Morikawa hasn't finished outside the top four in his previous four tournaments, which shows a level of consistency way beyond his years. He placed 20th around here last year, but what was even more encouraging was how he finished with a round of 66, which is precisely what we're looking for today.

Steady Eddies – These guys should give a good account of themselves but won’t break the bank to add them to your lineup.

Brooks Koepka
Odds To Win +1200
Draft Kings $10,600
FanDuel $12,200
It's also hard for me to put a player of Brooks Koepka's caliber in this section, but I have to as I feel Morikawa is way above everyone right now. Nevertheless, Brooks is a previous winner here, and he has finished many tournaments this season with a flourish. He has finished inside the top six in four of his last five contests. He had a rest last week, so he comes into this one much fresher than many others.
Bryson DeChambeau
Odds To Win +2500
Draft Kings $9,500
FanDuel $11,100
Although this course isn't particularly long, it does have some long par fours, and I believe playing these holes well could be the key to victory. He hasn't featured in the top ten since the Wells Fargo Championship, but he had a rest last week, which will have done him a world of good. He hasn't missed a cut in all five years that he has played this tournament, and he has generally saved his best golf for the final round. Therefore, if he can get off to a decent start, he should be up there come Sunday evening.

Long Shots – These guys will cost a lot less but still have a decent chance.

Harris English
Odds To Win +4500
Draft Kings $7,600
FanDuel $9,100
Harris English certainly offers the most value this week, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go all of the way. He is ranked tenth in the world at present and for excellent reason. He has been a birdie machine this season, and he could easily exploit some of the easier holes on this golf course. He has been known to make a long putt or two, which could tip things in his favor.

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