Who will land the first blow in Tennessee this week?
After another remarkable PGA Tour season, the roadshow heads to TPC Southwind in Tennessee, USA, this week for the FedEx St Jude Invitational, which marks the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Previously, it was just a run-of-a-mill tournament, but the FedEx St Jude Invitational — which will host a playoffs event for the first time — will make for compelling viewing, and the buzzword will be accuracy.
Usually, there is a predilection for the blaster hitters to opt for power, but precision will dictate things. TPC Southwind — which has been a regular venue on the PGA Tour since 1989 — has very tight greens with water coming into play on nine holes.
The likes of Tony Finau may have to make some adjustments, but the American is coming into the event riding the crest of a wave after claiming back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Nevertheless, with a glittering field, there will be some fascinating subplots. And to get you excited, we have highlighted three tips for you to gorge on before the first round.
Patrick Cantlay to break his duck
One of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour this term, it seems almost alarming that Patrick Cantlay is still searching for his first title of the season as his victory in the New Orleans Zurich Classic was a team event.
The American is the reigning FedEx Cup champion and while he seems to go under the radar at times, he will thrive at TPC Southwind. Cantlay ranks seventh for stroke gained (1.741) and he is fourth (4.61) for birdie average.
With 10 top-10 finishes under his belt, including a trio of runner-up spots, it seems only a matter of time before Cantlay breaks down the door. Currently, Cantlay is trading at 16/1 with Paddy Power to lift the FedEx St Jude Invitational.
Xander Schauffele to get into the groove
Schauffele could be forgiven if he’s a bit rusty having taken a few weeks off. The 28-year-old who will be making his first appearance on the PGA Tour since a T15 finish at The Open in St Andrews last month, Schauffele had been building up steam.
The American was in a rich vein of form leading up to The Open and he is a classy performer. He is ninth in the rankings for strokes gained tee to green (1.448), and he doesn’t need long to get into his stride.
While there are plenty of hazards at TPC Southwind, including the 18th, which is surrounded by water, Schauffele will get into the groove and make a strong start. If you are swayed by the Round 1 leader section, then you can get an intriguing price of 28/1 with Unibet for Schauffele to shoot low and seize the initiative.
Billy Horschel to pluck another top-10 finish
While he may be quiet and unassuming, Billy Horschel has this steely determination about him and arguably he merits more attention.
Horschel is a fine clutch putter judging by the fact that he’s eight in the table this term for strokes gained for putting (.589), and he will need to use his nous to get out of some potentially sticky situations.
The American continues to churn out top-10 finishes this season (five and counting) and he could claw another one this weekend. Currently, Unibet is offering a tasty price of 15/2 for Horschel to register a top-10 finish.