The St Jude Classic began life as the Memphis Open, way back in 1958.

For the last six years it's preceded the US Open, so we have a couple of factors to consider. How hard will the big-names be trying this week, given their minds will be firmly fixed on Merion. And how will those that played in Monday's US Open qualifiers fare?

Stats-wise, the three basics to concentrate on now appear to be Driving Distance, Scrambling and to a lesser extent, Par 3 Performance.

For years it was a simple case of concentrating on accurate patient and usually vastly experienced pros but the profile of the winners has changed considerably over the last few years with power off the tee being more and more important. Johnson's known for his power and 2011 winner, Harrison Frazar topped the driving distance stats when he won. As did Robert Garrigus in 2010, when he really should have won (threw away a three-shot lead on the final hole!).

Course experience appears unimportant, in fact, debutants have fared very well of late. Dustin Johnson won the event last year on his debut, Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson were both playing in the event for the first time when they made the playoff (won by Westwood) in 2010, and Trevor Immelman also made it through to extra holes in 2008 on his first visit to TPC Southwind. Add in Brian Davis' runner-up finish in 2007 as a first timer and it's quite clear that a previous visit is far from an essential prerequisite.

Although there appears to be a distinct leaning towards length off the tee, which should favour the young modern powerful players, I'd still just favour age over youth. When Dustin Johnson won here last year, he was just the third player in his 30's to do so since 1989 and the six winners before him were all fairly long in the tooth.

Harrison Frazar was aged 39 when he took the title two years ago and the five before him, Westwood, Brian Gay, Justin Leonard, Jeff Maggert and Woody Austin were aged 37, 37, 36, 42 and 43 respectfully when they took the title.

A fast start isn't essential at TPC Southwind – the last two winners were both five back at halfway. And 54 hole leaders could prove vulnerable – the last three round third leaders have all been beaten.

When betting in-running, consider the hole averages carefully. The 14th hole is tough but once you've got through there the next two holes offer very good birdie chances, particularly the par five 16th, before the tough last two holes…

With water all the way down the final fairway any nervy pulls can be cruelly punished, as we saw so patently two years ago when Garrigus threw the event away. Incredibly, three players traded at 1.01 that year so if your pick's in front leaving the 17th green, make sure you lay some back.

With just a missed cut in 2001 and a tied 59th in 2009 at TPC Southwind, Phil Mickelson's primary reason for his attendance is surely to warm up for Merion next week but he peaked a week early last year at the Shell Houston Open when he was only supposed to be preparing for Augusta and if his short game, and in particular his scrambling, is in good order, then he could be an interesting contender this week but he's short enough for my liking.

Of the fancied runners, Tennessee native, BrandtSnedeker, would be my idea of the likeliest winner but given he shot 80 at the Memorial Tournament only last Friday and that he's a regular here with uninspiring form figures that read 72-5-35-MC-29-15, I can happily overlook him too.

Third favourite and defending champ, Dustin Johnson, has had a disappointing season since winning the year's first event – the Tournament of Champions.

I really struggled to get excited by anyone, I thought D.A Points was fairly priced at 70.0 and after that, I've backed a number of huge outsiders.

Martin Flores ranked 6th for driving distance and 10th for scrambling when finishing tied 14th in the Crowne Plaza Invitational last time out and he finished tied 13th in this event twelve months ago, thanks to a great weekend when he shot 69-65. That's more than enough boxes ticked to warrant a small wager at 200.0.

Shawn Stefani come to my attention when I was looking for a big-hitting debutant.

With decent course form in the book, Stephen Ames andJeff Maggert are veterans that have both shown the merest of glimpses of form of late and Matt Bettencourtand Bobby Gates get in on account of their big hitting and in respect of Gates, his Par 3 Performance also.

Selections:

  • D.A Points @ 70.0
  • Martin Flores @ 200.0
  • Shawn Stefani @ 250.0 Fixed Odds
  • Jeff Maggert @ 290.0
  • Stephen Ames @ 350.0
  • Bobby Gates @ an average of 560.0
  • Matt Bettencourt @ an average of 620.0
8 Comments
  1. Guido 9 years ago

    Oooo…old Phil plus 1…no good/didna think he’d be up for it/didna back him at 12/1. went for Russell Henley (no relation to the Eagles fella Don??) and John Merrick (the Elephant Man?) :-)… a decent start with that 2.

  2. Milesey 9 years ago

    You seen Martin Flores @ 200.0

    1 shot off the lead on -3, could be doing some trading soon ;)

    Milesey

    • Milesey 9 years ago

      Shawn Stefani @ 250.0 Fixed odds

      2 shots off the lead on -2 ;)

      Milesey

  3. Guido 9 years ago

    What kinda price that pair in play now then Milesey?

  4. Milesey 9 years ago

    FLORES @ 32.0
    STEFANI @ 95.0

    I’ll see after the first round, but if either get share of the lead i’ll be putting my LAY in.

    Milesey

  5. Guido 9 years ago

    Say u put a tenner on each to win for a return of say 2K Flores now 32..what kinda stake (based on the original £10) would you have to put on to make a nice profit should u lay him now?

    • Milesey 9 years ago

      If i put in a lay now of around £60, i would guarantee myself a profit of around the £50 mark.

      Milesey

  6. Guido 9 years ago

    Flores joint leader now and hes had a double bogey n bogey today…

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