Last Updated: 2019-07-22
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is now the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. It has replaced the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and is now played in late July instead of June. The tournament is now after the majors and just before the FedEx Cup playoffs, so it has brought out the best field ever to TPC Southwind.
There are only three chances left to pick up playoff points, with this event, this week’s alternate event, The Barracuda Championship, and then the Wyndham Championship, a full-field event next week. Then it’s time for the playoffs and there are only three playoff events this year. The top 125 are in and there are major changes to the TOUR Championship, as a player’s position in the standings will dictate his starting score.
So, there are a lot of players here with a lot on the line and also a lot of tired players following multiple weeks overseas for the British Open and the preceding tune-up events.
We’ll be looking at the top value picks based on DraftKings salaries in this write-up. Keep an eye out for James Mazzola’s preview with outright picks and head-to-head matchups on Tuesday. Also, be sure to check out Brian Blessing’s picks in our YouTube video above.
Webb Simpson ($8,200) – This is an extremely top-heavy field. A lot of top players, specifically a lot of top European players, are sitting this one out. There aren’t a lot of consistent players in the back half of the field, and certainly not as many as you would expect for an Invitational event with extra FedEx Cup points and a bigger purse.
Webb Simpson is one of the better value picks at $8,200. He shook off a month’s worth of rest to go 68-71-71 at The Open Championship before struggling on Sunday with a final-round 74 as conditions deteriorated. Prior to that, Simpson was 16th at the US Open at Pebble Beach, second in the RBC Canadian Open, and 29th at the PGA Championship. He had three straight top-20 finishes, including a T-5th at the Masters, prior to that visit to Bethpage Black. He’s made 14 of 15 cuts and has the right type of well-rounded game for an event like this. He’s got 10 top-25 finishes this year and a top-25 finish at this price would be quite solid.
Chez Reavie ($7,900) – Chez Reavie finally broke through for a win a few events ago at the Travelers Championship. Since then, he’s shot 73-72 at Royal Portrush and 65-78 at Detroit Golf Club. Maybe the whirlwind of finishing first at the Travelers and third at the US Open was a bit too much for him. He also played a lot of events earlier in the season. The course setup should be a lot tougher this week with WGC-level pin placements and some other quirks, but he’s played very well at TPC Southwind in the past. Reavie tied for sixth at 7-under last year with five other players. Granted, that was 12 shots behind winner Dustin Johnson and six shot behind runner-up Andrew Putnam, but still. He was T-4 in 2017, just two shots off of Daniel Berger’s winning pace. He tied for 12th in 2015. As far as course form picks go, that sounds like a good set of results.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,400) – Brandt Snedeker got an early start on heading home after a very disappointing MC at The Open Championship at 2-over. He hasn’t played overly well of late, but he’s been very good on the putting surfaces and strong around the greens. On a par 70 track like TPC Southwind, hitting it close and knocking down those birdie and par putts is very important. Outside of DJ’s 19-under last season, the best winning score this decade was 13-under on three different occasions. That’s where runner-up Andrew Putnam was last year. So, this isn’t a course for throwing darts and birdie hunting. Par is a good score and Snedeker makes a lot of those with his putting prowess. He’s 26th in SG: Total and eighth in SG: Putting. He’s also just outside the top 30 in FedEx Cup points, so he’ll be looking to pad that number for some extra margin for error in the playoffs. Snedeker was also T-6th last year, due in large part to a 62 on Friday.
Eddie Pepperell ($7,200) – Eddie Pepperell comes back stateside after a tough and disappointing week at The Open Championship. He managed to make the cut, but shot a 150 over his last 36 holes to finish 71st. Prior to that, Pepperell had eight straight rounds in the 60s. Pepperell hits fairways and makes putts. As I’ve mentioned a few times already, this isn’t exactly a course where you’re going to see a 20-under. Par will be a good score and those that can make a few birdies here and there have a great chance at a top-15 finish. Pepperell should be back in rhythm with 12 rounds under his belt since a bad back knocked him out for about a month and a half. Last time we saw him in the US for a non-major, he was 16th at the RBC Heritage. He was also T-3rd in the PLAYERS back in March. As far as upside goes, his is pretty high at this price point.
Henrik Stenson ($9,100) – There aren’t a lot of great low-priced options with a field of only about 75 players for this one. So, we’ll look up the price list at Henrik Stenson. Stenson is simply in phenomenal form. As long as his back or wrist didn’t flare up to be the cause of Sunday’s 76 at Royal Portrush, I’m not worried. He’s got four straight top-20 finishes and three of those have been in the top-10. Stenson played bogey-free golf at Scottish Open, though he did have one double to go along with 19 birdies. Stenson is peppering fairways, as he ranks fifth in driving accuracy, and that’s a good start at TPC Southwind, a course that winds through swampland.
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