2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks, Predictions & Best Bets
Last week’s Wyndham Championship lived up to the hype — providing plenty of weekend drama with ten players bunched in contention for the final round after they finished the rain delayed third round early Sunday morning.
Sungjae Im was the live favorite heading into the afternoon round but the drama was short-lived. Joohyung “Tom” Kim shot an unbelievable eight-under 27 on the front nine on his way to steamrolling the field and running away with his first career victory at the ripe age of 20.
He became the second youngest player to win a PGA Tour event just behind Jordan Spieth who was 19 when he won the John Deere Classic in 2013.
Kim put on an absolute putting masterclass on Sunday — making 112 feet of putts on the front nine alone. He became the first player in history to start a tournament with a quadruple bogey to then go on to win.
It was an anticlimactic Sunday for those on these pages who had a Sunjae Im outright ticket in their pocket, but we got the consulation prize of cashing the best bet of the week with Sungjae Im finishing top 10 +200 along with Russell Henley top 10 and top 20 to secure our 15th profitable tournament of the season.
PGA Year-To-Date Record: +75.11 units, 27.05% ROI
This week’s track is at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
It is a par-70 that measures in at 7,244 yards.
It is a Ron Prichard design and similar to last week at Sedgefield Country Club, the fairways are narrow and there is a significant penalty for missing them as playing out of Bermuda rough is significantly more difficult than other grass types.
There are only two par 5’s so the long bombers won’t be at much of an advantage. Driving accuracy off the tee will be far more predictive of success than driving distance so good drives gained will be a primary key metric we are focussing on this week.
The winning score here is usually in the low-teen range. Abraham Ancer won last year with a score of 16-under, while Justin Thomas won in 2020 at 13-under and Brooks Koepka won in 2019 at 16-under as well.
It probably won’t be a complete birdie fest like the last three weeks, but the winner is definitely going to have to string together his fair share of birdies while mitigating any crooked numbers.
Statistics to Look At
Staying in the fairway, hitting greens in regulation and efficiently putting on the bermuda greens will be critical for amassing birdies this week so we are targeting strong ball-strikers who have elite approach play and the ability to get hot with the flatstick on the bermuda greens.
For those reasons, the key metrics that our model is using to compile our portfolio this week are: fairways gained, SG: Approach, SG: Proximity 150-175 yards, birdie or better percentage, bogey avoidance, SG: Par 4s, SG: putting bermuda greens and three putt avoidance.
2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Bets Outright Winner Picks, Odds
It’s no surprise to frequent readers of these pages that Justin Thomas would be one of our outrights for this week.
By our metrics, Justin Thomas is the best golfer on the planet and we are getting great value with him this week at +2000 odds after some recent struggles in his last three starts which included two middling finishes at the U.S. and British Opens and a missed cut at the Scottish Open.
He rates highly in the key metrics we are targeting this week — fifth in strokes gained approach, second in birdies or better gained, and fourth in par 4 scoring.
He also has great course history at TPC Southwind finishing T-26 last year, winning in 2020, and T-12 in 2019.
The only metric where he ranks outside of the top 25 is in good drives gained, but his elite iron play more than makes up for his shaky driver.
When he won here in 2020, he gained 7.7 strokes on approach as opposed to just 2.3 off the tee, so if he can replicate that he will have a great chance of getting his second win at this event.
Tony Finau’s back-to-back wins creates some recency bias that makes you forget that Xander Schaffuele also won back-to-back starts a short four weeks ago and is one of the hottest golfers on Tour right now.
He always rates highly in the model and deservingly so. His game has no flaws and he ranks in the top 10 in almost all of the key metrics for this week — eighth in strokes gained approach, 10th in greens in regulation, sixth in birdies or better gained, eighth in bogey avoidance, and seventh in par-4 scoring.
The X-Man has been a top 10 machine this season and we fully expect him to be right in the thick of it come Sunday contending for his third win in four events.
Will Zalatoris has been the most consistent name on these pages all season long, and I am getting tired of writing that he is the best player on Tour without a win to his name.
His first elusive career win is inevitably coming, and maybe firing his longtime caddy is just what the doctor ordered.
We played an outright on Willy Z last week but I did write that Zalatoris probably had a better chance to get his first victory this week at the St. Jude’s Championship — a tougher course against one of the best fields of the year — which is where he has always been at his best.
Zalatoris has three top-six finishes including two runner-ups at the Majors this season, so he has proven he can absolutely contend against the strongest of fields.
He is the best iron player in the field and the good news for him this week is that success putting isn’t a very predictive statistic for success at TPC Southwind.
We have been touting Zalatoris as a big game hunter who is at his best when the stakes are high against the strongest fields and the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs seems like the perfect place for him to finally get the monkey off his back and get his first career PGA Tour victory.
Sam Burns is getting totally disrespected in the betting market this week. He has three wins on Tour this season and has worse odds than zero-time winner Will Zalatoris and zero-time winner Cameron Young.
A large reason for his long odds this week is because he isn’t exactly coming in with great form. His last two starts were a 66th place finish at the Scottish Open and a T-43 at the British Open, but I don’t penalize him for those mediocre finishes considering his game isn’t suited for Links golf.
He has three wins this season on domestic courses and now that he is back on domestic soil, we look for him to be right back to the strong form he exhibited earlier in the season.
Burns is a great driver of the ball and a great iron player, ranking 13th in the field in both good drives gained and strokes gained approach.
Bermuda is his best putting surface earning him the moniker “Bermuda Burns” and he has great course history here having just lost in a playoff here last year.
Now that he is back on his preferred putting surface, we love for his chances to contend this weekend and inch closer in the FedEx rankings to get closer to his best buddy Scottie Scheffler.
Sungjae Im “let us down” last week on Sunday, but it’s not like he played badly. At all.
He finished as the runner-up for the second straight week and his overall recent form cannot be overlooked.
And it’s not like he was at fault for failing to win in either of the past two weeks either — in both events there was one golfer who went out on Sunday and had amazing rounds that would have been impossible to match.
Im’s iron’s have been dialed and his putter is back to its usual excellent form. Im has strong metrics again this week — top 10 in good drives gained and strokes gained approach and he leads in the fields in bogey avoidance.
Im has good course history at TPC Southwind finishing third last year and we fully expect another strong round out of Im that will once again have him in contention on Sunday afternoon.
Viktor Hovland comes in pretty under-the-radar after one of the most impressive tournaments of his career where he contended at The Open Championship, ultimately finishing in T-4.
Hovland is an elite ball-stiker and is one of the best in the field on the approach from 100-175 yards which is going to be the most predictive statistic for success this week.
Hovland said TPC Southwind is one of his favorite courses so as long as he can avoid his typical horrific around-the-green play and keep his irons as hot as they were at St. Andrews, he should be in contention again this week.