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Monday, June 2, 2014

FedEx St. Jude Classic - Power Ranking

With U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying put to bed, it's time for all of our attention to turn towards Memphis, Tennessee for the FedEx St. Jude Classic for this week's Power Ranking.With plenty to cover, I'll refer you to yesterday's preview for additional information on TPC Southwind and the history of this tournament.

Here we go:

  1. Ryan Palmer - A T3 and a solo fourth in his last two trips to TPC Southwind converge with a T5 in his last PGA TOUR start. Ranks second on the PGA TOUR in par 4 scoring average, and given there are 12 of those in play this week that's important. 
  2. Dustin Johnson - Won here in his first trip back in 2012, then followed it up with a T10 last year. Current PGA TOUR trend is headed in the wrong direction, going T7 at the Byron Nelson, T14 at Colonial and T46 at Memorial the last three weeks. Ranks inside the top 20 in GIR from other than the fairway, Proximity and Par 4 scoring average. 
  3. Paul Casey - Boosted him to third in the 11th hour. He struggled after holding the 36-hole lead at Memorial, but bounced back to claim a U.S. Open spot in the Ohio Sectional with room to spare. With four top 20s in his last five starts, he's clearly back in the form that once had him an elite player. Worth mentioning, he's never played here before. 
  4. Lee Westwood - More of a nod to course history than anything (his stat sheet looks terrible compared to other key players), his only PGA TOUR win came here in 2010 and he tied for 11th in 2011. He's gone 7th-MC-T6 in his last three TOUR starts. Not a bad one-and-done play this week. 
  5. Matt Kuchar - A curious late add, it seems he is trying to build some momentum headed to the U.S. Open. His record at TPC Southwind since the switch to bermuda greens hasn't been particularly good. This spot on the rankings is a nod to his class and his strong finish at Memorial after nearly missing the cut. 
  6. David Toms - All-time leading money leader with two wins and two runners-up in this event, he's as thoroughbred in terms of course history. He also tied for fifth in his last start (Colonial) and qualified for the U.S. Open via the Memphis sectional. He's trending nicely into this event. He's second on TOUR in driving accuracy, 13th in par 4 scoring average and 16th in Proximity. 
  7. John Senden - He's played well above his career arc since his win in Tampa, finishing a trendy T26, T11 and T5 in his last three PGA TOUR starts. His record here includes two top 10s in nine starts to just two missed cuts. Shockingly, considering his career history, he's 14th in strokes gained-putting.
  8. Phil Mickelson - There's really nothing else that needs to be said here. He might win. He might flame out memorably. And he might do anything in between. The only prediction I'll offer is that his finish the week will be exactly the opposite of next week's U.S. Open. So, if he ties for 49th this week, buy some Phil stock for Pinehurst. If he wins, bail.
  9. Graeme McDowell - I fell in love with his relevant stats this week (5th SGP, 8th driving accuracy, 13th in Par 4 scoring average and 16th in Proximity), but must point out that his recent PGA TOUR form isn't anything special. Course history includes a T7 and a missed cut.
  10. Harris English - Won here in his first start last year, so expect some sort of a fade. Recent form hasn't been anything great. He's fifth in GIR from other than the fairway and ninth in par 4 scoring average.
  11. Webb Simpson - I don't have much to support this other than relying on his class. Several of his stat lines check out, but he's been nothing better than average lately and his course history is without a top 25 in three starts.
  12. Zach Johnson - After a bizarre 73rd at Colonial, he'll try and get back on the horse at TPC Southwind where he is 3/4 with two top 25s and a top 10. Ranks inside the top 30 in driving accuracy, SGP, Proximity and Par 4 scoring average.

Next 5 (Alphabetical):
  • Robert Garrigus - Quietly rounding into form and in possession of a P2 here in the past.
  • David Hearn - He's 4/4 here with a T18 in his last start. Certainly a candidate for a breakthrough win.
  • Charley Hoffman - Course history and current form are average, but he jumps off the page statistically.
  • Freddie Jacobson - Played well here early in his career, but has faded in his last few Memphis starts. Excellent statistical fit.
  • Kevin Na - Course history is terrible, but current form is a P2 last week.
Others worth a look include...
  • Victor Dubuisson - Playoff loser in last week's Nordea Masters
  • Thorbjorn Olesen - First timer in Memphis tied for eighth last week.
  • Robert Streb - 2nd in par 4 scoring and tied for 39th here last year.
  • Russell Knox - Finally cooling off, but first in Proximity is worthy of a peek. 
  • Justin Hicks - Tied for seventh here last year and stats explain why.
  • Charles Howell III - Has a T3 in this event and a T3 in his recent past this year.
  • Ben Martin - Horrible final round at Memorial, but otherwise playing really well lately.
  • Luke Guthrie - He's my "hunch" of the week.
  • Billy Horschel - Awoke with a T10 last week at Memorial.
  • Russell Henley - Tied for 27th here last year and does most of his damage on par-70 layouts.
  • Patrick Reed - First start back after the birth of his first child (daughter) and tied for fifth last year.
  • Brice Garnett - Playing well pre-cut of late, but struggling on weekends.
  • J.B. Holmes - Trying to get back on his feet and end the hangover from Wells Fargo win.
  • Rickie Fowler - Added this event for the first time. Terrible form since Masters.

We will return tomorrow to discuss the one-and-done.

Until then, best of luck to all!

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