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PGA Golf DFS Advice

DFS Golf Picks For the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational August 05-08, 2021

Brooks Koepka
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Brooks Koepka watches his tee shot at the 2nd hole during the second round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA on February 19, 2021. The tournament was played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Once a PGA TOUR middleweight dating back to the 1950s, the FedEx St. Jude at TPC Southwind was elevated to WGC status in 2019. Technically, this was previously the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (2006-2018) and, before that, the WGC-NEC Invitational (1999-2005). But fantasy players deal in venues not title sponsors so the main thing to know is that there’s a huge bank of course form from past regular PGA TOUR action at Southwind. This is the third of the four World Golf Championship events of 2021 following Collin Morikawa’s win at the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida and Billy Horschel’s triumph in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas.

TPC Southwind

The course is a Ron Prichard design with a slightly unusual combination of grasses: Bermuda for the greens and rough; Zoysia on the tees and fairways. It measures 7,237 yards and has just two par 5s, hence a par of 70. There’s plenty of water in play (it features on 10 holes) while half the holes are doglegs. That means hitting it a mile off the tee isn’t imperative and, instead, emphasis is on finding lots of greens in regulation. Other key stats are Par 4 Scoring (makes sense given that there are 12 instead of the routine 10) and scrambling well when missing the dancefloor with approaches. 

Justin Thomas says of the course: “I find this place very similar to East Lake to where if you drive it well, if you hit the fairways, it’s not a very difficult golf course. You have a pretty good amount of short irons and some wedges to where you can control your distance into the greens.” 

Webb Simpson gave this review: “It’s just a great golf course. I don’t think any type of player has an advantage necessarily here. If you look at the winners here over the years, you’ve seen different length players win, long hitters, short hitters, because it’s just that type of golf course.” 

Weather

The weather at TPC Southwind is usually predictable and the expected sunshine is on show again with temperatures in the mid-90s. The wind could pick up a little to 10-12mph on the weekend while there’s around a 20-25 percent chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Past Champions at Southwind
Two elite Americans – Brooks Koepka (2019) and Justin Thomas (2020) – have triumphed since the St. Jude became a WGC event. They won with -16 and -13 respectively, both scoring three-shot victories. Dustin Johnson had cruised to a six-shot success in the final St. Jude Classic but prior to that the winning score was between -9 and -13 the previous nine years. In other words, DJ’s score was an outlier. This has always been a decent test 

Looking at TPC Southwind winners since 1999 and you’ll find just two non-Americans in the list – Lee Westwood in 2010 and Fabian Gomez (yes, really) in 2015. Gomez came home four clear of Greg Owen in one of those weeks when logic laughs at us.

Past course is a strong pointer, with DJ and Daniel Berger (back-to-back) both two-time champions. Koepka had previously finished runner-up at TPC Southwind before bagging the win in 2019.

Here’s are some entirely FREE suggestions for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)

A listB. Koepka $10,600
B listM. Fitzpatrick $8,800
B listW. Simpson $8,500
C listB. Horschel $7,100
C listC. Davis $6,900
AvoidH. Matsuyama $9,400
    


Brooks Koepka ($10,600) Koepka doesn’t overthink things and neither should we when pondering whether to get him on board. If he likes something (e.g. majors) it tends to show, and that’s the case here too. “I feel comfortable in this place. It’s so fun to me, because I feel like if you play well, you can really shoot 7, 8 under.” Those positive vibes have translated into a win (2019) and a second (2020) since this became a WGC while he also has a second and a third from the old St. Jude days. Current form of 6-5-4 so there’s that too. 

Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,800) Proof that this course can yield good scores and finishes to different types of players is provided by the short-hitting Fitzpatrick. He’s posted fourth and sixth in his only two visits, twice shooting 64 in round two. A runner-up at the Scottish Open two starts ago, the Brit was also T-10 at the Palmetto Championship the last time he played in a non-major on American soil.


Webb Simpson ($8,500) We’re leaning on course form this week so Simpson has to come into the crosshairs. The 2020 U.S. Open champ owns a third place from the regular St. Jude event in 2014 while in its WGC guise he was runner-up in 2019 (closing 64) and T-12 last year. Surprising dip earlier in the summer but showed signs of revival last time when T-19 at the Open Championship.  


Billy Horschel ($7,100) Already a WGC winner in 2021 after landing the Match Play in Texas and also T-2 in February’s WGC-Workday Championship in Florida. A little quiet of late but he did make the Open cut and, notably, has four top 10s at TPC Southwind, the latest two years ago. Added another top 25 in 2021 so this looks a great place for him to pop. 

Cameron Davis ($6,900) A departure from our course form plan of attack but the in-form Aussie could prove a shrewd investment at the price. Davis played some superb golf under pressure to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic and closed with 64 for T-28 at the 3M Open last time. It’s his first look at TPC Southwind but two previous visits to Tennessee at Korn Ferry level have yielded a win in the Nashville Golf Open and fourth in the Knoxville Open, both in 2018.


Hideki Matsuyama ($9,400) I want to oppose several of the 19 Olympians in this week’s field and Matsuyama looks the best choice. Not only is there the 14-hour time gap but the Japanese star must be carrying a huge weight of disappointment after just missing out on a medal at his home Games. That could translate to a subdued display here and course form of 20-43 suggests it’s not exactly his favorite track.

Here’s Another Alternate of Core Picks For the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

A listD. Johnson $10,200
B listD. Berger $9,200
B listA. Ancer $8,300
C listH. English $7,600
C listP. Mickelson $6,600
AvoidP. Reed $8,700

Dustin Johnson ($10,200) DJ’s form remains patchy as highlighted by a missed cut at the 3M Open. But that came after T-8 at Royal St George’s while he also cracked the top 20 in the U.S. Open so the big events are still getting his focus and attention. Then, of course, there’s his stellar course form: two wins, a fifth, a 10th, a 12th and two other top 25s in seven starts at TPC Southwind. The $10,200 looks a cheap price for a course horse who, let’s not forget, is still second in the world rankings. 

Daniel Berger ($9,200) I can’t leave Berger out here and like him much more than the majority of those in the A list category. Let’s start at the top and sensational course form of 2-MC-1-1. The case for inclusion could end right there but, slightly under the radar, Berger has shown his class by finishing T-7 (U.S. Open) and T-8 (Open) in the last two majors. No jet-lag from Japan as he wasn’t at the Olympics so what’s not to like?

Abraham Ancer ($8,300) The vast majority of those priced in the $8000s played in Japan last week so it’s hard to balance out a team without including an Olympian. For his consistency, the one I like is Ancer. The Mexican has T-15 (2020) and T-18 in two of his three Southwind starts and T-14 in Tokyo represented a sixth top 15 in his last nine events. T-5 for Par 4 Scoring adds another layer of appeal.


Harris English ($7,600) English is ranked the 14th-best golfer on the planet and he’s a former winner at TPC Southwind. That was back in 2013 but he added T-10 in 2017 and was T-8 after 54 holes in 2016. This is his first appearance here in the WGC era but he’ll arrive in superb shape after a third in the US Open and a win at the Travelers Championship on his latest two starts on home turf.

Phil Mickelson ($6,600) Even hardcore Lefty backers will be having doubts after his poor play since that fairytale PGA Championship win at Kiawah. But Mickelson is a specialist at TPC Southwind and keeps proving it: he was runner-up again last year. It’s a no-cut event so the pressure is off a little and this could be the week when he sprinkles a little more magic. 

Patrick Reed ($8,500) Captain America had to make a last-minute dash to Tokyo to join the U.S. Olympic team and settled for T-22 despite a strong final round. Now it’s a dash back home so he’d be forgiven for feeling somewhat out of whack. The other reason to oppose him is a course record of three missed cuts out of six and a modest T-47 last year.

Strategy

I’m going with a twin plan of attack this week. The overriding pull based on past editions is course form and that’s why Koepka and DJ are my respective A list picks. The other strategy is to oppose the Olympians. By chance, most of those returning from Tokyo don’t have strong course records anyway so there’s extra reason to give them a swerve.

Other Player Options For The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

•  Scottie Scheffler has been a stud in the big events this year. A trio of top 10s in the final three majors highlight his class, as does finishing T-5 and runner-up in the two WGCs of 2021. T-15 here (four rounds in the 60s) bodes well too.
•  Brian Harman is having a sneaky-strong season in the biggies: third at Sawgrass, T-5 at the WGC-Match Play and top 20 in the final two majors. He also has a sixth place on his penultimate start at Southwind. 

•   Ryan Palmer banked a couple of top fours here in 2012 and 2013 before posting T-15 last year, rounding off with a 64. Two starts ago he was T-4 at the Scottish Open.

COVID-19 and Injury Warning:

Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. A team with players that don’t even make the start gate will kill you. 

Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that. 

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