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Fantasy Insider: FedEx St. Jude Classic

By PGA Tour News
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Just because you're not going to read me suggesting that any golfer in the field of this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic and who sectional qualified for the U.S. Open this week isn't looking ahead to the major doesn't mean that I don't recognize the possibility. We're all human after all. But to guess who might not be entirely focused on the matter at hand would be irresponsible. So, if you're in doubt, simply swerve around those guys. As of Tuesday afternoon, 14 of the 53 qualifiers remained in the field of 156 at TPC Southwind. That includes Stewart Cink and Peter Uihlein, both of whom were featured in my Power Rankings before the results of the sectionals were known. (Steve Stricker was also in the Power Rankings, but he withdrew from the SJC after medaling in Memphis. For the other sectional qualifiers who also have withdrawn since the field was released, see Notable WDs below.) The other side of the coin is the momentum created as a result of successfully navigating the 36-hole wringer. Consider the merits of former St. Jude champ Harris English, for example. PGA TOUR rookies Ryan Brehm, Trey Mullinax, J.T. Poston and Xander Schauffele all have added a berth in the U.S. Open, something each certainly expected to achieve but would have understood if it had waited for another time due to the process. In other words, each should have a pep in his step even if exhausted. Then there's the heater on which non-member Garrett Osborn is riding. He open qualified for the St. Jude on Sunday, and then finished one back of Stricker in the Memphis sectional to secure his debut in a major. The Alabama native is 32 years of age and a veteran of 88 starts on the Web.com Tour, but that two-way sprint may have been the most fulfilling of his career given the doors it opened. Gamers should never invest with their heart, but those who do should give this guy a chip and a chair this week. PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO My roster for the FedEx St. Jude Classic (in alphabetical order): Russell Henley Brooks Koepka Phil Mickelson Francesco Molinari Kyle Stanley Peter Uihlein You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks. Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order): Scoring: Daniel Berger; Rickie Fowler; Russell Knox; Adam Scott; Camilo Villegas Driving: Daniel Berger; Rickie Fowler; Billy Horschel; Russell Knox; Adam Scott Approach: Chad Campbell; Roberto Castro; Stewart Cink; Bob Estes; Rickie Fowler; Brian Gay; David Hearn; Russell Knox Short: Daniel Berger; Rafa Cabrera Bello; Stewart Cink; Rickie Fowler; Brian Gay; Adam Scott Power Ranking Wild Card Kevin Chappell … It's fair to wonder how his breakthrough victory in San Antonio has affected his psyche. After going so long without winning, he's in 2.0 mode and hasn't made noise since. That's enough reason to approach cautiously, but that was always the case for the 30-year-old who has spiked infrequently throughout his career. His tee-to-green game suits TPC Southwind and it was on display in his only previous appearance in 2015. En route to a T22, he led the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee and ranked T6 in proximity and T9 in par-5 scoring. But he also co-led in conversion percentage inside 10 feet (missing only thrice in 67 chances), a distinct departure from his norm on any set of greens. Furthermore, without a field-low 64 in the second round, it may have been a forgettable week. He was beaten by 56 golfers in the first round and by 38 in each of the last two rounds. Put it all together and he remains best utilized in full-season formats. Draws Ryan Palmer … Reignited with the kind of form with which we're more familiar in April and has cooled since, but TPC Southwind has been a cornerstone on his schedule for years. This is his 10th appearance. He's cashed in each of the last five editions with top-five finishes sparking the trend. Russell Knox … Not unlike the vibe at the RBC Heritage where he placed T11, the cozy climes of the FedEx St. Jude Classic offer exactly what the Scot needs to snap out of his funk. He's going to be under-owned across the board, so give him a sturdy gaze. Finished T8 in his last appearance and ranks well in the angles that lead to success here. Currently 43rd in greens hit and T32 in par-5 scoring. That he's accurate off the tee (10th in fairways hit) solidifies this endorsement. Retief Goosen … It was only two-and-a-half months ago when the 48-year-old tied for second in Puerto Rico. He's since added a T14 (with fellow South African Tyrone Van Aswegen) in New Orleans, so there's enough positive reinforcement still visible in the rearview mirror. I'll stop short of assigning converging trends, however, even though Goosen is 6-for-8 at TPC Southwind with three top 15s since 2010, including a T12 last year. Instead, consider him a DFS flier. Camilo Villegas … It's not often that he lands here and he does so tentatively at that, anyway, but there's no denying or ignoring his impressive record at TPC Southwind. The 35-year-old hasn't missed an edition since his rookie season of 2006, and you can understand why. He's 10-for-11 with three top 10s and another four top 20s. That kind of experience and success would normally inflate his value in DFS, but you may not need to go too deep in this field to fill out a roster in that format. Yet, if you simply can't resist, he should create space for a little more strength at the top. David Hearn … Essentially if all you want is four rounds on the board. Think THE PLAYERS. Never the sexiest option, he's nonetheless one of the more consistent and reliable among the rank-and-filers. He's 6-for-7 at TPC Southwind with one top 40 (T18, 2013). Fades Daniel Summerhays … Never mind the closing 78 at Muirfield Village. That happens. But even if he won, TPC Southwind isn't the kind of joint that suits his profile. He missed the cut in his only prior trip (2011), but it's more relevant that he's a distant 190th on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation, 162nd in strokes gained: approach-the-green and 187th in proximity to the hole. Charl Schwartzel … Full-season gamers will happily accept the bonus start and whatever he yields, but this is just his second appearance (MC, 2010). What's more, like with Summerhays, the South African's skill set doesn't slide into place as well as others. Our confidence is often up there due to his cachet, so he presents a solid test of your conviction to abstain. William McGirt … Landed in this section in advance of his title defense at Muirfield Village. He finished T67. He closed with 83 but started the final round outside the top 25, anyway. Now poised for his sixth appearance at TPC Southwind where he owns a pedestrian record (2-for-5 with one top 30). Continue to wait him out and for a site where his horse-for-a-course value exists. Graeme McDowell … As much as his consistency this season is reason to sleep well if on board, he's failed to connect with TPC Southwind. In his last four rounds on the track, he's signed for a 76 and three 73s. Accuracy off the tee and putting are his strengths, but his frequency of hitting greens in regulation has been steadily declining despite his propensity to get to most weekends. At best, he's for the contrarian in you. Jim Furyk … For the same reason why it's never intentional to kick a guy while he's down (see Hunter Mahan), Furyk remains included in this preview because of his cachet and for the fact that he's not that far removed from terrific form post-wrist surgery in 2016. Alas, he arrived in Memphis having missed five consecutive cuts (since the Masters) and without a top-35 finish in stroke-play competition this year. Also hasn't seen TPC Southwind since his debut in 1994. Braden Thornberry … As we enter the summer, it's time to make notes on future talent. The 20-year-old will be a junior at the University of Mississippi in the fall and he's making his PGA TOUR debut this week, but you're likely already familiar with him as the NCAA individual champion at Rich Harvest Farms a week ago. He came from behind and won by four. Returning to Competition Seung-Yul Noh … Possesses a fantastic record at TPC Southwind with a T3 and two T7s in four starts, but he enters as a question mark after withdrawing after opening the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational with a 6-over 76. No explanation was released. The 26-year-old has been up and down three times this season. He's currently in a trough, so while course history buffs won't be dissuaded, consider other options who have been more reliable. Kevin Na … He didn't commit to the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but I still wanted to point out that he competed in last week's Kolon Korea Open and finished T13. It was his first action since withdrawing during the first round of THE PLAYERS due to illness. Notable WDs Keegan Bradley, Jason Kokrak; Jamie Lovemark, C.T. Pan, Steve Stricker … All sectional qualified for the U.S. Open. Padraig Harrington … Required six stitches for an injury to his elbow suffered when an amateur partner struck him at an outing. The three-time major champion chronicled the experience on Twitter, concluding the news by writing as only he can, "There's no truth in the rumour that it was the amateur's best strike of the day." Kelly Kraft … Failed to sectional qualify for the U.S. Open and has opted for at least a two-week break before getting back after it. Søren Kjeldsen … Finished T71 at the Memorial and ranks 127th in the FedExCup standings. Didn't qualify for the U.S. Open. Nicholas Thompson … Opting to play the Rust-Oleum Championship on the Web.com Tour. This will be the second time that he's exhausted a start on his Non-exempt Medical Extension on the PGA TOUR by playing the Web, but his plan is paying off. The 34-year-old is 23rd on the Web.com Tour money list. Power Rankings Recap – Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance Sleepers Recap – Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR June 6 … none June 7 … Keegan Bradley (31) June 8 … Steven Bowditch (34) June 9 … Billy Hurley III (35); S.J. Park (31) June 10 … none June 11 … Geoff Ogilvy (40) June 12 … none  


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