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World Golf Championship - FedEx St Jude Betting Preview

After a wild weekend at Royal Portrush, the PGA Tour returns stateside. Memphis, Tennessee will be the site of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. It’s the third WGC event of the year, following the Mexico Championship and Dell Technologies Match Play.

It will be a loaded field, with 46 of the top-50 players in the OWGR committed to compete. That includes No. 1 Brooks Koepka, last year’s St. Jude Classic winner Dustin Johnson, as well as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and the Open Championship winner Shane Lowry.

TPC Southwind will once again be the site of this tournament, so anyone who previously-participated in the St. Jude Classic will be familiar. It’s a 7,244-yard Par 70 in a gated community in southeast Memphis that winds through lakes, streams, and ponds. It had some renovations done 15 years ago, including the removal of trees and replacing of Bentgrass greens with Bermuda.

In terms of difficulty, TPC Southwind was ranked ninth out of 51 courses on the PGA Tour in 2011, thanks to 94 bunkers and ten water hazards. It’s also known for a pair of tough Par 3s. The first, on Hole 11, requires a short iron over water to land on a small island green, similar to the famous Hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass. After completing two more holes, you move to 14, which at 239 yards ranks as one of the toughest Par 3s on Tour.

Here are some of the players to watch this week in Memphis, along with their current odds.

Dustin Johnson +900

If there’s one person who loves TPC Southwind, it’s DJ. Johnson won last year’s event in Memphis with a score of -19, six strokes ahead of the runner-up Andrew Putnam, and also claimed victory in 2012. There shouldn’t be too much difference now that this is a WGC event except a stronger field, which shouldn’t be a problem considering Johnson has won several WGC tournaments including this year in Mexico.

Rory McIlroy +1000

There’s no way around it: Rory missing the cut at his native Royal Portrush was a major disappointment. But he recovered from a bad Thursday to shoot -6 on Friday. McIlroy’s still one of the best golfers in the world, and hopefully his Friday surge helped him brush off the bad play that sent him far down the leaderboard the day prior.

Justin Thomas +1800

With a lot of golfers forced to layup thanks to lengthy Par 4s or water hazards, approach will be critical. That should benefit Thomas, who ranks third on the Tour is SG: approach. The one area where he has struggled this season is putting. Fortunately, putting is the most variable stat, and a good weekend on the greens could be right around the corner for JT.

Hideki Matsuyama +2500

Matsuyama is coming off of a rare missed cut at the Open Championship, but I don’t expect it to stick with him for long. He is another player who is excellent at approach shots, especially those in the 150-175 yard range, where you’ll see a lot of balls hit from this week. Additionally, only McIlroy and Thomas have been better in SG: tee-to-green this year, so a bounce back effort is very likely.

Several factors are still unknown, including the latest weather forecast, but right now my pick to win is Justin Thomas. The first round at TPC Southwind begins Thursday morning. When you make your pick, whether it’s Thomas or someone else, use our favorite pay per head bookie site at www.A1pph.com

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