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Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today and edge out the competition.
WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational
After an incredible OPEN Championship in Northern Ireland, the top players in the world return to the United States for the final World Golf Championship of the season. This year presents a little bit of a change as this event which used to be the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC is now the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind. The name may sound familiar as TPC Southwind has hosted the FedEx St. Jude Classic since 1989 and the only real difference here is the invitational status as 64 players will be teeing it up this week.
This week's 64-player field includes eight of the Top 10(Tiger, Molinari missing) and 46 of the World's Top 50 players. Justin Thomas is the defending champion of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational but Dustin Johnson is the defending champion at TPC Southwind as he won the ST. Jude Classic a year ago with a winning score of -19 which was the lowest winning score here since 2003(David Toms @ -20). For the most part at TPC Southwind, we have seen winning scores in the -10 range as this course has ranked inside the Top 15 hardest courses on Tour over the last five years.
The Par 70 setup is just over 7,200 yards has some very tight driving holes that produce a low average of about 55% driving accuracy rate for the field. Hitting the fairway is not crucial, however, like some other venues we have seen as the rough is not nearly as penal(2.5" approximately) but those who hit more fairways will put themselves in a better position to hit the smaller than average greens and drain birdies. With shorter, more playable rough combine with a low average driving accuracy for the field, it also makes sense to look at Rough Proximity this week. The most important stat, at least in my model, will be Strokes Gained: Approach as it has proven to be where golfers can separate themselves from the pack.
Let's now take a look at the course information, previous winners of the St. Jude Classic and WGC events, then dig into the picks.
Par 70 - 7,244 yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Approach Shot Distribution
Previous Five Winners(St. Jude Classic)
- 2018 - Dustin Johnson(-19)
- 2017 - Daniel Berger(-10)
- 2016 - Daniel Berger(-13)
- 2015 - Fabian Gomez(-13)
- 2014 - Ben Crane(-10)
Previous Five Winners(WGC Events)
- 2019 WGC Mexico - Dustin Johson
- 2019 WGC HSBC Champions - Xander Schauffele
- 2018 - WGC Bridgestone Invitational - Justin Thomas
- 2018 WGC Mexico - Phil Mickelson
- 208 WGC HSBC Champions - Justin Rose
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Rough Proximity
- Par 4 Scoring(more cash model)
- Par 5 Scoring(more GPP model)
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Performance in No-Cut Events
When breaking down the top stats I use a combination of my own cheatsheet and the tools over at FantasyNational.com.
Top Tier Targets
World Golf Ranking (#2)
Vegas Odds (8/1)
While Koepka may be the King of Majors, DJ is the King of WGC's as he won the WGC Mexico earlier this year and is second to only Tiger Woods(18) in career wins with six. Johnson also happens to be the defending champion of the St. Jude Classic with a monstrous -19 winning score a year ago on one of the toughest tracks on Tour. This week I also broke down stats in no-cut events(see members-only sheet) and DJ also ranks 1st in SG: Total(3rd OTT, 5th APP, 20th ATG, 5th Putting) and has a Tour-best 8.3 average finish since the start of 2018. He has the distance to overpower this course as he did a year ago with the help if his Top 5 rough proximity ranking(in the field) and elite birdie making ability and will be my top play in all formats this week.
World Golf Ranking (#9)
Vegas Odds (18/1)
Thomas doesn't have any history here at TPC Southwind like DJ but he is right there when it comes to no-cut events and especially WGC performance. Since the start of last year, JT has two wins(WGC Bridgestone, CJ Cup), five Top 5's and seven Top 10's in no-cut events and has finished 9th, 1st, 2nd in his last three WGC's. After missed cuts in two of four events and no finish better than T20 in that time, JT bounced back at the OPEN with a T11. His biggest issue lately has been the putting(-.9 strokes per round last 24 rounds) so with his elite tee to green game(2nd on Tour in 2019) and an average putting week, he could easily be in contention come Sunday afternoon. In the lineups I am looking to go more balanced with lineup construction, I will be starting with JT as my core play.
Mid Tier Targets
World Golf Ranking (#32)
Vegas Odds (33/1)
Matsuyama is coming off his first missed cut of the season at the OPEN last week but I am not concerned and will be going back to the well this week. He struggled in the most recent WGC's(T30, T19, T39, T50) going back to the start of last year but in 2017 he won the HSBC Champions and Bridgestone Invitational so don't get scared away. He also sits 2nd in my custom model over at Fantasy National ranking 5th in SG: Approach, 1st in Par 5 Scoring, 1st in Opportunities gained, and first in Birdie or Better Gained over the last 24 rounds. At his price on both sites, I will have exposure to Hideki in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#43)
Vegas Odds (66/1)
I am going to reach into my course history bag here and roll with Billy Horschel in the mid-range this week. Despite a disappointing T51 here at TPC Southwind last year, Billy Ho posted Top 10 finishes in four straight trips to the St. Jude Classic before that and ranks seventh overall in this field in Strokes Gained: Total over the last 50 rounds at this course. He may lack overall upside with just two Top 10's this season while ranking 114th in SG: Off the Tee, 65th in SG: Approach, and 169th in Birdie or Better % but he is an excellent putter(33rd in SG: Putting) and also ranks 21st in this field in Bogey Avoidance. I am not expecting a Top 10 here this week although he has shown that upside in the past at this course but realistically a Top 25 would be enough to hit value and he has done that in four of his last five events.
World Golf Ranking (#31)
Vegas Odds (125/1)
I will be going full Keegan this week with his price well below his season average. The good news is that he hits in lots of areas this week starting with his elite ball striking(13th in this field) that is highlighted by a rank of 7th on the entire Tour when looking at Strokes Gained: Approach(14th in Proximity). He is also coming off a missed cut at the OPEN and has been up and down this summer but more good news as he has the 10t best average finish in no-cut events in this field while also ranking 18th in SG: Total in those events. For the price, it is hard to ignore Keegan in all formats.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for six years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.