PGA DFS Podcast - Rocket Mortgage Classic
Mike Alexander and Donald Remington preview this weeks PGA DFS slate for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
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Richy Werenski came from off the pace to card a 5-under-par 36-30=66 during round four of the Barracuda Championship, accumulating 13 points in the Modified Stableford scoring format to reach 39 points on the week, eclipse Troy Merritt by one point, and collect his first PGA TOUR title.
Werenski eased into his round with two birdies and two bogeys on his outward nine but the magic started flying on the final seven holes. The obvious highlight came at the par-4 16th when he drove it short of the green and then found himself with a tricky pitch shot that many struggled with today. Not Werenski, as he chipped in for eagle to bag five points and make up a lot of ground quickly. He added the final blow with a birdie at the par-4 18th. Gamers may have seen this coming as he had the lead or share of the lead after each of the first three rounds last week at the 3M Open. In fact, he's now been T21 or better after 12 of his last 16 rounds played. This win moves him from 72nd to 34th in the FedExCup race and punches his ticket into next week's PGA Championship.
Added Yesterday 8:19 pm (EST)
Tom Lewis matched the course record on Saturday at TPC Southwind but showed no signs of regression today as he picked off a 4-under-par 30-36=66 to continue his climb up the leaderboard to end the week on 10-under 270 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, good for a share of second place.
The Englishman was playing his fourth career stroke-play WGC event and his previous best was a T65 at the 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship. It looked like another disappointing week was in the works after opening with 73-70 but something clicked over the weekend. Lewis traded 16 birdies with three bogeys over his final 36 holes to make up 11.5 strokes over the field average. The irons were dialed in as he pelted 31-of-36 greens over the weekend. The World No. 67 has won twice on the Euro Tour and once on the Korn Ferry circuit but this is his first time posting a top 10 on the PGA TOUR. With this finish, he climbs from 191st to 112th in the FedEx Cup race with just two weeks remaining in the regular season. He will now turn his attention toward TPC Harding Park for the PGA Championship.
Added Yesterday 8:11 pm (EST)
Phil Mickelson played uncharacteristically steady golf on Sunday at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, styling a bogey-free, 3-under-par 34-33=67 to end on 10-under 270 for the week and share a piece of second place on the week-end leaderboard.
Playing alongside Justin Thomas (and his old caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay), Mickelson striped 9-of-14 fairways and landed 12 greens in regulation. He was inside of 20 feet for birdie on half of the holes but failed to give himself enough great looks. The putter was his biggest asset today (and for the week) as he gained 1.356 strokes putting today and 3.928 SGP for the week. The 50-year-old hasn't posted the most consistent results this season but he now has a pair of podium finishes on his resume to vault him up to 60th in the FedExCup race. He also went over to the Middle East in February and bagged a T3 finish at the Saudi International. Mickelson now has five top 10s at TPC Southwind, in just 9 starts at the Memphis layout. Four of those have gone for T3 or better. Gamers should continue to expect more boom-or-bust results on a week-to-week basis with Mickelson.
Added Yesterday 8:09 pm (EST)
Daniel Berger breezed through TPC Southwind with a 5-under-par 32-33=65 during final-round play of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, ending his week on 10-under 270 for a share of second place.
Berger saved his best for last this week after a slow start in Memphis. He struggled on day one but gained 1.466 or more strokes on approach in each of the final three rounds. By week's end he was ranked 6th in SG Approach (+5.059) and 8th tee-to-green in general. Berger did his best to play aggressive today and put the heat on the leaders but a closing bogey alleviated some of the pressure for the leaders. In the end, he'll collect a T2 paycheck which adds to a pair of wins at TPC Soutwind (in four starts). It's safe to say this course suits his game.
Added Yesterday 7:44 pm (EST)
Brooks Koepka rounded out his week in Memphis with a 1-under-par 33-36=69 to reach 10-under 270 at week's end at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, earning a share of second place on the final leaderboard.
The slumping alpha dog has been without a podium finish since this event 12 months ago. That includes recent form that read MC-T62-MC heading into the week. Koepka flipped the script and did it with elite iron play, gaining 8.436 strokes on approach (1st in the field). It's the second-best measured approach performance of his career. The previous best was a +9.5 SG Approach showing at last year's PGA Championship. Speaking of which, Koepka will now head to San Francisco with a lot of momentum as he looks for a threepeat at the PGA. This week's final score may show him three shots off the final score set by Justin Thomas but he was really right in the tournament until the end, swallowing a double bogey at the last to create more separation than actually existed.
Added Yesterday 7:33 pm (EST)
Justin Thomas came from off the pace on Sunday afternoon to smooth a 5-under-par 31-34=65, giving him a four-day total of 13-under 267 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational which was good for a three-shot victory when all was said and done. He is now back at World No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
JT is known for his elite closing ability when taking a lead into Sunday but today he started in solo 5th. That is now the lowest position through 54 holes of any of his PGA TOUR wins. He was well aware of that fact, "I haven't exactly played well coming from behind in the past and I feel like I learned a lot from that." Thomas got a few bounces to go his way with the most obvious coming at the par-4 15th when he missed it so far right that he hit a cart parth to avoid water, setting up a birdie instead of dropping a shot or two. This will go in the record books as his 13th career victory, and he's the third youngest to accomplish that behind only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. With the health of Jimmy Johnson still up in the air, gamers should expect to see Jim 'Bones' Mackay stay on the bag for Thomas until further notice. Thomas will now turn his attention toward TPC Harding Park for next week's PGA Championship.
Added Yesterday 7:24 pm (EST)
Added Yesterday 7:24 pm (EST)
Troy Merritt made a big move on Saturday at the Barracuda Championship, styling a 6-under-par 32-33=65 to add 14 points to his week-long Modified Stableford total which now sits at 33 points ahead of the finale, good for the 54-hole lead by four points.
The easiest way to make a move in this format is an eagle or two but Merritt took the traditional route with a steady stream of birdies. It was eight birdies by day's end to offset a pair of bogeys. He piped 10-of-14 fairways today to reach 30 fairways hit on the week and also peppered 15 greens in regulation (39 GIR for the week). He ranks top 25 in both categories after three days of play. Merritt is now in a familiar situation as he was the 54-hole leader last year at this event. A move to a new course hasn't impacted his ability to go low in Tahoe. He finished solo second last year but will hope to go one better tomorrow. Merritt is a two-time PGA TOUR winner (2015 Quicken Loans National and 2018 Barbasol Championship).
Added Aug 01 8:31 pm (EST)
Defending champion Brooks Koepka struggled out of the gate on Saturday at TPC Southwind but recovered to record a 2-under-par 37-31=68, giving him a 54-hole tally of 9-under 201 which puts him in solo fourth ahead of the final round.
Koepka tumbled early on with two missed birdie chances from inside 10 feet and a double bogey, all on his opening four holes. He dropped another shot at the 6th before turning it all around. Starting at the 9th, he rattled off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to get himself back inside the top 5 on the leaderboard. The Florida State product is T1 in total birdies this week (18) but he's also swallowed five bogeys and a pair of doubles. He also ranks 1st in the field in strokes gained approach (+7.339). Koepka will now go off in the penultimate pairing alongside Rickie Fowler, starting just three shots off the pace set by Brendon Todd.
Added Aug 01 7:33 pm (EST)