WGC St. Jude Invitational Preview And Betting Tips
Golf has been one of the most straightforward sports to get back underway since the Covid pandemic, with social distancing much easier to enforce amongst players than the more contact demanding sports, and we’ve had a few events in the lead up to the St. Jude in order to judge some sort of form. Eight time winner Tiger Woods is the only real name of note to be missing out here, though all of his victories came when this was the NEC/Bridgestone Invitational and he holds little to no pedigree on this course. With a strong field in Memphis, tipsters Form Labs guide you to where the value might lie with their betting preview and tips for the St. Jude Invitational.
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WGC St. Jude Invitational Favourites
Brooks Koepka is the defending champion, and loves the Southwind course having won by three shots in what is an extremely competitive course.
He was, however, in exceptional form at the time having just won the PGA Championship though his record on this course leaves him at an attractive price.
Since his debut here in 2014 in the St. Jude Classic, he’s had three top-three finishes from five events, as his natural fade off the tee serves him very well in approaches to the green.
Finding greens in regulation has been imperative here over the years, and Koepka has ranked in the top-10 for that in each of those top-three finishes, while he’s also ranked in the top-five for strokes gained (off the tee) in each of his last four events at Southwind.
He may not be in flying form, going MC-T62-MC from his three most recent tournaments, though at the most recent 3M Open, the missed cut was largely down to some slack putting from close range, which can easily happen on the odd occasion and is very uncharacteristic of the former World Number One, as the attention he’s paid to his long game was on show for all to see.
He’s no stranger to defending his crown, having successfully retained the PGA Championship and US Open, and at 28/1 looks a phenomenal price each-way.
Another hovering around a similar price is Daniel Berger. The 27-year-old American has had a phenomenal restart, winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in the first event back, before following that up at the Heritage with a third-place finish.
It seems the break did nothing to dent his momentum, as he achieved three consecutive top 10 finishes prior to the enforced layover.
This course may not be as long as it’s predecessor Firestone Country Club, though driving accuracy is extremely important, and Berger has ranked in the top-20 for accuracy in each of his last five made cuts.
The lack of a cut will benefit him here, while the most significant to be made in his favour is the fact that he's won the St. Jude Classic on this course twice in his three attempts.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more in form player than Berger at the moment, and his course compatibility leaves him as another extremely well priced player at 25/1.
Our final pick for the week goes to a third American, and considering the last winner from outside the US at Southwind in either the St. Jude Classic or Invitational was Hideki Matsuyama, coming almost exactly three years ago to the day, we’re inclined to stick to them.
Indeed, Collin Morikawa has continued his momentum from before the break having achieved a top-10 finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, following that up with a second place at the Charles Schwab finishing only behind Daniel Berger.
He also managed victory at the Workday Charity Open earlier this month and has a game extremely well suited to this course, even if this will be his first appearance here. The 23-year-old has ranked in the top-five in four of his last six events in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
What’s more, Morikawa ranks first on the PGA Tour this year for Strokes Gained: Greens in Regulation and in the top-10 on the WGC Tour for Driving Accuracy over the last 12 months, both of which are essential in what is a demanding course, leaving his price of 25/1 a good each-way shout.
Other Players To Keep An Eye Out For
Four players lead the betting and for good reason. World Number One Jon Rahm is coming off the back of an impressive victory at the Memorial Tournament and is looking in fine nick to follow that up with a strong performance this week.
He finished in tied seventh here last year on his course debut, and Southwinds fits his game to a T, so he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Justin Thomas is one of the most prolific players on tour at the moment, and on his day should win the majority of tournaments on US soil.
He’s made the top-10 in nine of his last 14 PGA/WGC outings dating back to August last year, including three of five since the restart and no doubt will be at the top end of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Rory McIlroy actually led on par fours at the Memorial last week, though his downfall came on the par fives as he finished a rather paltry T-32nd.
While that should be a minor detail and could easily be corrected, it’s been his issue since the restart as he’s failed to achieve a top-10 finish in his four such tournaments, so at the prices doesn’t look worth getting behind in this tournament, even if he’s never far away from a standout performance.
The final market leader is Bryson DeChambeau. The American has been working on his long game during lockdown, and it seems to have paid off as he managed a whopping 428 yard drive at the travellers back in June.
While that is an advantage over any player that steps onto the tee, Southwinds is one course where that advantage is somewhat nullified by the length of the course. His record of T45-MC-T48 on this course doesn’t exactly set the pulses racing, and while he’s in immaculate form, placing in the top eight in seven of his last eight outings, there are players at longer prices which certainly look more appealing.