Pamela Maldonado gives her top picks for the FedEx St. Jude Championship from TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
PAM MALDONADO: The PGA is headed for the playoffs. I'm Pam Maldonado, and I'm giving you my favorite two-player picks for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Only the top 70 players will advance to next week's BMW Championship. But for this week, the guys will be playing at TPC Southwind in Memphis. It is a par 70, over 7,200 yards. The tour has actually been here every year since as long as I can remember. But this will actually be the first time that it will be hosting a playoff event.
You have Bermuda grass greens, undulated fairways, penal rough, and the course should be playing firm and fast because of a lack of rain. Looking at the top of the odds boards, Rory McIlroy sits at the top at 10-to-1 followed by a Scottie Scheffler, Cam Smith, who is now rumored to be headed to the LIV Tour, followed by Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas rounding out the top five.
Not in the top five-- Jon Rahm sitting at 22-to-1. The stats that I'll be utilizing for this tournament-- I'm looking at ball striking and putting a little bit more emphasis on strokes gained on approach, looking at how well players do on Bermuda putting and recent form. Now, when I say recent, I'm looking at the last 20 to 24 rounds, but I am also doing something a little different and looking at the year collectively, how players have been doing over the course of 2022.
There are two players that come to mind. And I'll be honest, I went back and forth. I have a little bit of a long list, so to narrow it down to just two was a little bit of a task. But I am sticking with Patrick Cantlay top 20 at minus 155, 14-to-1 for a win. Looking at how Cantlay does on Bermuda greens, he has four top-five finishes this year alone. And I know that he has a subpar course history his best was T-12 back in 2019.
But if you look at the last seven tournaments that Cantlay has played, he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, followed that up with six straight top-14 finishes, four of which were in the top 10, including a T-8 in the Open, which is a very strong field, similar to that of this week's tournament. And in all six, he had gained strokes in every category in [? Ford. ?] Cantlay is on a bit of a roll, and I'm hoping that rolls into this week.
The second player that I'm looking at is no other than Scottie Scheffler. Same price-- -155 for a top 20, 14-to-1 for a win. Scheffler has kind of cooled down a bit if we're being honest, but he is still the hottest player of the 2022 season. Scheffler is ranked third in strokes gained on approach, and if you look at his performances on Bermuda grass greens, he has three Tour wins this year, including back-to-back wins at the Phoenix Open and the Arnold Palmer back in March. Plus, he does have back-to-back top 20s here at this course.
Now, looking at the last 24 rounds for Scheffler, his putting is a little bit wonky, losing strokes putting in six of his last eight. However, the ball striking is there, where Scheffler is now also ranked third in strokes gained ball striking. Perhaps he can find some of that run good with that putter. If it gets hot, he's unstoppable.
So those are the two players that I'm backing to contend at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, looking to Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler. Bet $10 and win $200 in free bets by signing up at BetMGM.com/YahooVIP. New customers only, must be 21 or older, and terms do apply.