Zen on the Links: Enightened PGA Picks for the St. Jude Classic

What better warm up for the Open next week than the tourney dedicated to the Patron Saint of lost causes, but also the symbol of hope for the hospital that treats kids with cataclysmic illness at no charge? I ask this as the dad of a kid who suffered from birth anomalies for all 22 years of his life, so I appreciate said contributions.

I am still playing at FantasyDraft, a format I really like — they drop the low score from your seven-man roster ($100K cap) for the weekend. For this week, I am simply playing a $1 50/50, so sign up and see if you can beat me!

For the St. Jude Classic, the tour ventures to musical Memphis and TPC Southwind, which registers at 7,241 yards for the pros. Not daunting, in fact, with eight holes under 375 yards as par fours, Southwind looks like my kind of tactical challenge. So again that means the short game and putting take precedent over the distance hitters.

Master putter Daniel Berger took the St. Jude last year, and a week later Brooks Koepka nabbed the Open, so we obviously have to consider these guys when assembling our roster today.  And, I am of course looking at GIR from inside 100 yards.

The weather looks to be warm with some overcast skies to complete the weekend, so the final shot before the Open looks to be a fun.

Phil Mickelson ($16,600): OK, gotta love Phil, with 11 cuts made, and six top 10s this season. Add in that over the past five years Phil made the cut each time, with a pair of twos and a three, and with a FFPG average of 136.53, where else can you go?

Daniel Berger ($16,000): The defending champ actually owns a pair of victories at Southwind, has six top 10s and a win this year, and averages 102.6 points. Berger is 12 of 13 making the cut, with six top 10s, a win, and registers in at #50 overall, tee to green.

Luke List ($14,600): List is actually a pretty big hitter, but he similarly ranks #4 overall tee-to-green. He has missed the cut five of 19 times and does not have any wins this season, but does have six top 10s, and finished #18 at Southwind last year, but a poor final round dropped him in the standings accordingly.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($14,300): The young Thai import is six of seven playing the entire weekend and climbed 36 slots in tee-to-green to the #100 spot. He has made six of seven cuts this season with a pair of top 10s making him a great sleeper.

Chez Reavie ($14,000): Reavie holds steady at #39 tee-to-green and again has been a great play often this season. Reavie has made 14 of 17 cuts with a pair of top 10s. He’s coming off a #12 two years ago, managed a #4 finish last year, and is clearly zeroing in on the top spot.

Chad Campbell ($11,700): Another strong player at Southwind last year, Campbell dropped to a tie for 10th in the end but does have 10 straight Southwind appearances converted into solid finishes. He’s a bit erratic with 10 cuts over 19 tries made this season (two top 10s) but the budget constraints suggest some gambles, and Campbell is a solid low-end choice.

Tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Sunday, 2-4 PM ET/11 AM-1 PM PT, and you can follow me @lawrmichaels.

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