By Walker Polivka
The FedEx Cup Playoffs kick off this week as the PGA Tour visits TPC Southwind for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and player to fade predictions.
Player to Fade: Nick Watney- This season has been one to forget for Watney, as he has 1 top 10, 2 top 25’s, and just 10 made cuts in 29 starts. Watney finished T-2 early on in the season at the Sanderson Farms Championship and has been about as cold as can be of late, missing the cut in 13 of his last 14 starts. Watney has not fared much better at TPC Southwind either, with a best finish of T-53 in 2 prior tournament starts here. Watney’s season will come to an end this week with a missed cut.
Dark Horse: Chez Reavie- The oldest winner on the PGA Tour this season, Reavie has quietly put together a nice season, winning the Barracuda Championship, as well as earning 3 top 10’s and 5 top 25’s in 26 starts. TPC Southwind is a course where Reavie has played very well in the past, with 3 top 10’s and 6 top 30’s in 7 career starts. One of the better ball strikers on tour, Reavie is ranked 11th in Driving Accuracy Percentage and will put that skill to great use as he works his way around TPC Southwind. A win isn’t that far-fetched, but another top 30 is well within reach this week.
Top 10: Matt Fitzpatrick- The reigning U. S. Open champion, Fitzpatrick is having a career year, with 1 win, 9 top 10’s, and 12 top 25’s in 17 starts. Fitzpatrick is no stranger to success at TPC Southwind either, with 2 top 6 finishes in 3 previous starts here. There are very few weaknesses in Fitzpatrick’s game currently, as he is ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and ranked inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green, Total, and Off-The-Tee. Fitzpatrick will most certainly be in the mix to win on Sunday, but a top 10 finish is a lock at this point.
Winner: Sam Burns- Ranked 3rd in the FedEx Cup Standings entering the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Burns is having a spectacular season, with 3 wins, 8 top 10’s, and 11 top 25’s in 21 starts. Burns has had past success at TPC Southwind, finishing 2nd here last year after losing in a playoff to Abraham Ancer. TPC Southwind is known for its Bermuda Grass greens and Burns is a player ready to take advantage of them this week, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Burns has been a bit quiet the past few weeks, but we predict that he will change that in a big way by winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship.