Ranking the Top 12 in the Field at This Week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic

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The tournament taking place the week immediately preceding a Major Championship can many times fall through the cracks. Casual fans are looking ahead to who their favorites are at Shinnecock, and many are finishing up travel plans to actually attend the US Open. A good bulk of the game’s great players have already headed out East to begin prep for what many refer to as “the toughest test in golf.” With all this being said, there is still something worth monitoring down in Memphis, Tennessee this week. Names like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, and Phil Mickelson will all be teeing it up in hopes of sharpening their games ahead of the US Open. Not to mention, TPC Southwind is considered by many to be one of the most underrated golf courses that hosts a Tour Event. Long and short hitters can win here, good golf shots are rewarded, and trouble abounds. Let’s get into my top 12 contenders for this week.

  1. Dustin Johnson: Somehow flying under the radar but slowly coming back into elite form. Look for DJ to find a lot of fairways and greens this week as he looks to reach peak form for Shinnecock.
  2. Phil Mickelson: Nobody has scored better in Memphis the last five years than Lefty. The only thing he is lacking is a win here. I think this week could be the week he puts it all together and strolls into Shinnecock fresh off a victory.
  3. Brooks Koepka: Only thing that stopped him from winning at Colonial was a stellar performance from Justin Rose. Koepka appears to be fully healthy following the wrist injury that cost him the first third of his 2018 campaign. 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2015 at TPC Southwind.
  4. Henrik Stenson: As steady a ballstriker as there is in today’s game. Coming off a solid week at the Memorial and is in the top 5 in pretty much every driving accuracy statistic.
  5. Tony Finau: Will be making his debut at the FSJ Classic, but unfamiliarity hasn’t stopped him before. Continues to bomb his way around tracks and is a sneaky good putter.
  6. Steve Stricker: Age truly is just a number for Stricks. Fresh off of qualifying for the US Open, he will look to build off a 2nd place finish here in 2016 while balancing life on the PGA and Champions Tour.
  7. Peter Uihlein: Top fives in two of his last three starts and methodically moving his way up the world golf rankings. Just his second start at TPC Southwind, but can’t argue with his form.
  8. Kevin Chappell: A surprising insertion here, but I have a bit of a gut call on Chappy this week. His form has been very sporadic of late, but he has been grinding hard to get back on track. I think this is the week the results turn.
  9. Daniel Berger: Berger has the opportunity to pull off an extremely rare feat this week, winning the same tournament 3 years in a row. I don’t see it happening, and frankly, I would be less surprised if he missed the cut than if he pulled off the 3-Peat. Game has been too sloppy of late and remains a stay away until further notice.
  10. Shane Lowry: The fiery Irishman has been quiet of late, but was very impressive in Columbus to qualify for the US Open. Tough tests suit his game better and Southwind could be a good match.
  11. Billy Horschel: 10th, 6th, 8th, and 4th in his last four outings at FSJ. He must win the tournament to get into the US Open, so Horsch will have one thing on his mind. Avoiding the blow up holes is always the question with Billy.
  12. Charl Schwartzel: Always has been a streaky player and currently in very good form despite a missed cut at Jack’s Place. If the putter gets hot, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see the the veteran South African in the mix.

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