Michael Thompson locked up 3M Open last weekend in Minneapolis after staving off a strong Sunday from Adam Long. In doing so, Thompson jumped a whopping 112 spots in the FedEx Standings, going from 151 to 39. While a fun tournament with loads of scoring, the field was missing most of the top names. Only one player from the top-30 actually made it past the cut and to the weekend.
Fast forward to this week, the field for the St. Jude Invitational is the complete opposite, with virtually the entire top 50 in the OWGR rankings in this week’s field. This event features a smaller field (78 golfers) and no cut, so we should see
The tournament will be played at TPC Southwind in Memphis: a long, narrow Par 70 filled with havoc. Southwind is famous for its propensity to splash, seeing the most water balls in of any PGA Tour course. Additionally, Driving Accuracy (54%) and Greens in Regulation (58%) are each nearly 10% lower at Southwind than the Tour average. All this means both power and accuracy will be key for any players who expect to contend.
Without further ado, here are the Fair Value ranks among the field and who could outperform their IPO:
Justin Thomas- Thomas is my favorite value play from the top of the board. Sure, he’s the second most expensive golfer at $10.63, but he is so skilled (1st in SG:TTG in 2020) and has been in good form (2nd at Workday Charity Open and T18 at Memorial) since missing the cut at the Travelers. Expect Thomas to be among the leaders in Memphis.
Rory McIlroy- Without a top-10 finish since the restart, it certainly has been a long time since McIlroy lived up to his consistently high price, but this may be the week he gets off the schneid. The Par 70 bodes well for McIlroy, as he leads the field in total SG on such courses over their last 70 rounds. Look for that big drive to carry him all weekend.
Xander Schauffele- A true dynamo when it comes to no-cut events, three of Schauffele’s four career victories have come in such tournaments! Schauffele also has the 7th best SG:OTT in 2020 and is looking to stay on track after consecutive top-15 finishes in Ohio, despite some dreadful one round performances.
The Middle Men
Viktor Hovland- My dude making his weekly appearance in this blog, Hovland WILL get over the hump sooner rather than later. I’ll attribute his disastrous weekend at Memorial to fatigue and give him the benefit of the doubt after a week off. He ranks first among the field in ball striking, approach, and opportunities gained since the restart. Ride Hovland this week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick- Fitzpatrick played his best golf since the restart at Memorial finishing in 3rd. Less strong that the other players mentioned off the tee, he still ranks first among the field in true SG at TPC Southwind, a testament to his all around game.
Daniel Berger- A two time winner of this event, albeit at a different venue, Berger should come in with plenty of confidence. Add in his run of form (top-10 finishes in five out of six events), and he represents a great value buy at $7.13
A Dark Horse
Scottie Scheffler- Ice cold since the restart, Scheffler finally strung a few decent rounds together at Memorial on his way to a top-25 finish. Although, over the past 36 rounds he is one of only four players in the field to be inside the top 30 in both driving distance and accuracy. That’s more than enough to justify his price at $4.82.