If you’re already looking forward toward to the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, think again.
There’s still a chance to win big playing fantasy golf this week during the FedEx St. Jude Classic. While many of the game’s best are taking the week off to prepare for Erin Hills, there are still several big names in the field at TPC Southwind, including Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson.
Of course, there are several sleeper candidates in this field, including Stewart Cink, Brian Gay, J.T. Poston and Peter Uihlein.
The biggest challenge TPC Southwind presents is its undulating greens. Look for guys who hit lots of greens, hit it close and can roll the rock. Also, par-4 scoring will be a key stat, too, since this course has just two par 5s.
Here are my top 20 fantasy-golf options for this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic:
(Remember: I’ll have my top 50 for the U.S. Open up this weekend, too!)
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1. Brooks Koepka: Has turned game around since Match Play and was T-31 at Memorial. His record at TPC Southwind is nice, too – T-19, T-3 and T-2.
2. Rickie Fowler: Really hitting the ball great from tee to green as he leads the Tour in strokes gained-tee to green. He’s also sixth in strokes gained-putting. T-2 at Memorial was a nice bounce-back from his T-60 at The Players, a finish that ended a run of six straight top 16s. Playing this event for the first time since his T-13 in 2014.
3. Phil Mickelson: Don’t let the fact that he’s not playing the U.S. Open cloud your judgment. Lefty was T-2 here last year and has another runner-up, a T-3 and T-11 since 2013 at TPC Southwind.
4. Francesco Molinari: Coming off a runner-up finish at the BMW PGA, which followed his T-6 at The Players. T-34 here last year.
5. Adam Scott: Hasn’t had his best stuff this year, but the results are still there – T-31, T-6, T-36, T-9 in his last four Tour starts. Playing this event for first time since his seventh-place finish in 2007, the same year he led by three after 54 holes.
6. Kevin Chappell: Has made his last six cuts on Tour, a streak that includes victory at the Valero Texas Open. T-22 last time out in Memphis, in 2015.
7. Russell Henley: Hasn’t played since his MC at the Byron Nelson. But he can putt with the best of them and was T-7 last year Memphis after previous finishes of MC, T-27 there.
8. Daniel Berger: Defending champion has five finishes of T-16 or better this season but hasn’t cracked top 25 in three starts since his solo fifth in Houston. T-25 on Tour in SGP.
9. Rafa Cabrera-Bello: Has missed four of last six cuts on Tour, though when he’s made the weekend recently he’s been good – T-4, T-24, T-17 and T-5 in last four tournaments where he’s made cut. With that being said, he’s seventh on Tour in SGP.
Billy Horschel (Getty Images)
10. Billy Horschel: Missed cut at Memorial probably kills some momentum, but he has cracked the top 10 in each of his last three trips to Memphis. 10th on Tour in GIR percentage.
11. Ryan Palmer: T-3 here in 2012 and fourth in 2013, and hasn’t missed a cut in Memphis since. Has played solid golf since T-11 at Harbour Town.
12. Stewart Cink: T-25 at Memorial was his ninth finish of T-28 or better in his last 12 Tour starts. Add that recent form to a record in Memphis where he’s missed just one cut in eight tries and Cink is a nice sleeper this week. Ranked 35th in SGP.
13. Brian Gay: Sneaky play this week but really shouldn’t be. Great putter was solo sixth here last year, his fourth top 10 at TPC Southwind, where he won in 2009. Playing well right now, too, making five of last six cuts with two top-6 finishes. T-34 last time out at Colonial. In SGP, he’s 13th on Tour.
14. Daniel Summerhays: Looks poised to build off T-10 at Memorial. Has made five of last six Tour cuts. MC in only trip here, in 2011, but he should do much better this time out.
15. Charl Schwartzel: Looked much better at Memorial, tying for 35th after going WD-MC in his last two Tour starts. Not a lot of experience here, though, as his last start in Memphis came in 2010 when he missed the cut. Putter has been good to him, though (24th on Tour in SGP).
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)
16. Ian Poulter: I’ll buy on Poulter, who is playing Memphis for the first time since T-6 in 2014. T-40, T-35 in two starts worldwide since T-2 at The Players.
17. J.T. Poston: Really think he’s due for a breakout. Was T-41 at Colonial, just the third time in his last nine Tour starts that he hasn’t cracked the top 30. Also medaled at the Columbus sectional on Monday.
18. Graeme McDowell: Finished in top 30 in five of last six Tour starts, and was T-24 here in 2014. Ranked eighth on Tour in SGP. However, he’s missed three of his last four cuts in Memphis.
19. Peter Uihlein: Nothing worse than T-33 in last eight starts worldwide. Former Oklahoma State standout and U.S. Amateur champion has been in Europe mostly since turning pro in 2011. Qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday.
20. Kyle Stanley: Worried about him this week as his putter hasn’t been good this season and his best finish at TPC Southwind is a T-49. But he sure is turning in the results, tying for sixth at Memorial, his third top-8 finish in his last five Tour starts. Second on Tour in GIR.