We’re just a week out from the second major of the year, and with double points on offer over the next three weeks, it’s a crucial period for Fantasy Golf managers. We’ve sifted through this week’s field at the St Jude Classic to find who should be on your transfer hit-list.
VENUE: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
DATE: June 5-8
COURSE STATS: Par 70, 7,239 yards
PURSE: $5,800,000 WINNER: $1,044,000
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Harris English (-12)
LAST YEAR: English staved off the challenge of Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings to claim his first PGA Tour victory. The 23-year-old birdied 16 and 17 to finish at 12-under and keep a charging Mickelson at bay while Stallings’ challenge stalled with a bogey on 18. The pair would finish two shots behind English, with Ryan Palmer a further shot back in fourth.
THE COURSE: The course at TPC Southwind is one of the toughest on Tour, making it an ideal lead-up tournament for the US Open. Its fairways are hard to find and greens perhaps even more so, providing players with plenty of chances to work on their scrambling ahead of the year’s second major. Big hitters have tended to fare well here on the 7,239 yard layout, while Greens in Regulation will as always prove a telling stat. Interestingly, in each of the past six editions, a player ranking inside the top-five for performance on the Par 3s has either won or finished runner-up.
Lee Westwood (13.0) – won on debut here in 2010, then tied for 11th in his only other appearance. ‘Westy’ may have trouble breaking through at the majors, but he always seems to play well around this period. He comes here in good form again this year, with top 10s in three of his last five starts, including T6 at The Players.
Robert Garrigus (9.5) – the long-bombing American has the length to overpower many courses on Tour. He almost proved that here in 2010, before a final-hole meltdown saw him blow a three-shot lead and slip into a three-way play-off, losing out to Westwood. He also owns a round of 65 (2012) here.
Paul Casey (9.0) – has enjoyed a resurgence this season after being plagued by injury. He was the clubhouse leader at the halfway mark at Memorial last week, and despite some weekend struggles, he battled on gallantly for a T13. He looks to have hit a real purple patch, registering four top-20s in his last five starts, and I can see no reason that won’t continue this week.
Ryan Palmer (8.0) – boasts five top 10s already this season and likes it here at Southwind, finishing T3 here in 2012 and fourth last year. The American comes here on the back of a T5 at Colonial last start, shooting in the 60s in all four rounds.
John Senden (7.5) – since winning in March, the Aussie has logged five top-30s, including a T8 at the Masters, a T11 at the Byron Nelson and a T5 at Colonial. Senden has two previous top-10s here at Southwind.
Kevin Stadler (7.0) – the ‘Baby Walrus’ seemed to lose his way after a brilliant T8 at the Masters, missing three of five cuts since. However a T28 last week at Memorial is a big positive. Stadler is a real GIR merchant, ranking 15th overall and 4th in the Ball Striking category this year. Interestingly, he leads the Tour in Par 3 Performance.