GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational from Memphis.
WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational | 25th-28th July 2019 | Sky Sports
Fresh off the back of the final major of the year, we have another prestigious event in a WGC back across the pond in America. The St Jude Classic and the WGC have merged to become a ‘new’ event.
TPC Southwind the regular host of that tournament has been ever present since the very late eighties.
With it being a WGC, it’s a no cut event with a very small field hence the tighter margins offered by bookmakers in terms of odds. Pretty much most of the field come straight over from Royal Portrush barring a handful that didn’t qualify this year.
There’s not much to separate the top four in the betting with DJ, Brooks Koepka, Rory and Jon Rahm varying between 8/1 and 12/1. Justin Thomas is in the next rung of players and has been well tipped up so his price is gone, which is rather a shame as 18s was much more appealing than 14s.
- TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
- Par 70 – 7,244 yards.
- Narrowish fairways accompanied by fast and small Bermuda greens.
- Florida-like climate.
- Water comes into play on 10 holes.
- Quality ball-strikers with a sharp short game.
- SG: T2G season-long usually a good tell.
- Long and straight driving.
- Scoring on par-4s as it is a Par 70. (7 holes are 450-500 yards).
- Recent form, all the elite guys are here. I don’t think someone hugely out of form wins this.
- Course history, has some weight but not too much as debutants have a decent enough record.
- Correlated courses including El Camaleon (OHL Mayakoba), Wai’alae (Sony Open), Houston, Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo & USPGA17), PGA National (Honda), Copperhead (Valspar), TPC Boston (Dell Tech) and Sedgefield (Wyndham). Florida course may get a mention such as TPC Sawgrass (The Players).
Hideki Matsyuama (33/1 SkyBet)
It’s weird to think that Hideki Matsuyama hasn’t won since 2017 considering the pure talent he possesses. He’s won two WGCs, won the Waste Management twice and won the Memorial. All big tournaments.
There has always been a weight on him in regards to being an Asian star/Japan’s best so he’s always likely to be spoken about in majors and last week he missed the cut at Portrush. It was a tough week for most – Tiger, Rory and more all missed the cut. It’s nothing big.
By that I mean, it was a proper test and weather here and there impacted some of it. I won’t read too much into Deki’s MC. Before then, he was rounding into some great form – especially after injury. T7 at the 3M Open the week before, 6th at the Memorial, close to top-20s in both the US Open and USPGA. Last week’s MC was his first all year.
This course is an ideal fit for him. He’s 3rd on tour for SG:T2G, 2nd for Approach and in the top-20 for scrambling, bogey avoidance and total driving. He’s everything we’re after this week. He will be a contender at those odds.
Webb Simpson (35/1Betfair)
I absolutely love Webb Simpson this week. He has the form, game and history to suggest he could win this.
We’ll begin with his form – last week at Portrush he did well so the T30 is a little misleading it’s only because he faded as the week went on and if you look at Sunday’s scores to say everyone did that would be an understatement. Three starts ago he was runner-up at the Canadian which he duly followed up with a T16 at the US Open.
He’s the number one scrambler on Tour, 6th for bogey avoidance and is in the top-20 for SG:T2G and SG: Approach. In terms of where he has performed well, he ticks so many boxes. He’s won some huge events which are relevant here – 2011 Wyndham (Sedgefield), 2011 Dell Tech (TPC Boston) and the Players (TPC Sawgrass).
Lets not forget he’s a major winner too. He has also shown great form at the two best courses for comparison – El Camaleon (Mayakoba) and Wai’alae (Sony) as well as at Quail, PGA National and the Valspar he has many a top-10 at all of these courses. Everything aligns for Webb this week.
Gary Woodland (50/1 SkyBet)
Sticking with the correlated course form factor, I will ride with this year’s US Open champion Gary Woodland. He’s not getting too much steam after a couple of missed cuts since that win but with twins on the way, we might get some baby swag on our side too. He has popped at the Mayakoba, the Sony, PGA National, TPC Boston and Quail Hollow. He’s won the Valspar as well as a major.
The big-hitting American is 3rd on Tour for Total Driving, 5th for Par-4 birdies or better, 8th T2G and in the top-20 for Approach. Had he come here off the back of the win at Pebble then I expect he would be closer to those above if not shorter. He’s probably still adjusting to being a major champion with the attention that brings but he has the talent to succeed around here.
First Round Leader
A rare FRL tip this week but there’s something about Adam Long (150/1 SkyBet) I like this week – not enough to win but maybe he can start well/fast.
Firstly, he was a shock winner at the start of the year – winning the Desert Classic at mega odds but since then it’s a sea of missed cuts with the odd decent finish.
Long correlates well to a number of web.com tracks that link to former winners here. He has finished well at the Mexico Championship and the Ellie Mae. It’s mostly a stab in the dark but a little flutter at these odds isn’t going to harm anyone. Let’s hope he gets a nice early tee time.
WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational – Hideki Matsyuama (33/1 each-way SkyBet)
WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational – Webb SImpson (35/1 each-way Betfair)
WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational – Gary Woodland (50/1 each-way SkyBet)
WGC Fedex St Jude Invitational – Adam Long to be First Round Leader (150/1 each-way SkyBet)