The Memorial Tournament provided us with some more Sunday suspense. Both Kuchar (T2) and McIlroy (5th) had it going in the final round but just could not catch Wisconsin born Steve Stricker. We did mange to go 3-1 in our head to head picks to improve our record to a terrific 50-30.
This week the Tour heads to Memphis Tennessee for the St. Jude Classic. Some players will be using this tournament as preparation for next weeks U.S. Open. I have been hard at work preparing myself for the US Open for over a month now, and will continue to do so right up to next week. Be sure to check back next week and join us for our in depth preview and picks of the US Open.
This week however we look to head into the 2nd major of the year on a hot streak. The players will be playing a beautiful course this week when they tee it up at TPC Southwind. The course will be playing as a Par 70 and at 7255yards in length. Look for players who are accurate and talented putters to be the cream of the crop this week.
TPC Southwind is a difficult track, and you can expect a winning score of around –11 this week. It utilizes well-placed hazards (10 water hazards), and bunkers that will catch the slightly errant shot (94 bunkers). The greens at TPC Southwind have plenty of breaks that only a player with previous course knowledge will be able to read. Look for experience to play a factor this week.
Two holes that may play a very large factor this week are the 17th and 18th. Both holes are Par 4’s and will challenge the players to close out their rounds properly. With both holes being extremely difficult they could very well decide the tournament on Sunday.
Last year Lee Westwood won in a 3-person playoff over Robert Garrigus and Robert Karlsson. Lee will look to utilize this week as a stepping-stone to the US Open next week. Still in search of his first major win, Westwood should be very focused this week.
Lee will not be the only player focused on taking the title this week, and should face some stiff competition from players who have played well previously in this event. Lets look at the players I have included in this weeks six-pack.
STEVES SIX PACK
David Toms 11/1 – Toms absolutely loves this event and course. He is coming off a win and a 2nd so we know he is in great form. I thought he would have been the favorite or at least tied with Lee Westwood, so we get terrific value at 11/1 with Toms (sounds weird to say).
Zach Johnson 15.5/1 – One of the best players from 150 yards and in, Zach should have no problem at TPC Southwind this week. Couple that with the fact he has finished in the Top 12 in his last two trips to Memphis, you have to like Zach’s chances. He has also been playing outstanding golf as of late (3 T12’s in his last 3 Tournaments).
Ryuji Imada 105/1 – Almost won two weeks ago at the Byron Nelson and a player playing brilliant golf. Ryuji has one of the best short games on tour and flights the ball properly. Look for him to play well once again on a Par 70 golf course (has made the cut 3/3 at TPC Southwind.)
Heath Slocum 105/1 – Slocum may fly under the radar this week but that is just fine by him. Heath is one of the best putters on Tour and has had great success on these greens. Look for Slocum to be the come Sunday and give us an opportunity for some excellent money.
Ben Crane 46/1 – Ben is another player who thrives when he is forced to utilize his short game. That is exactly what players will need at TPC Southwind and Ben has done it before. With T12 and T14 finishes in the last two years, Ben will look to build on his excellent play here.
Robert Allenby 50/1 – The Aussie is using the St Jude Classic as a tune up for next week at Congressional. He should enjoy an excellent tune up tournament this week though. Allenby has played tremendous golf over the years at TPC Southwind. In the 6 tournaments he has completed, he has 5 Top 20’s. Look for him to feed off this success and play very well this week.
Good luck to our six-pack and be sure to check back next Monday night for our United States Open picks and preview. Enjoy the golf everyone.