Bombs & Values WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

2021 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational Bombs & Values: The 3 Best Value Plays For Your DFS Lineups and Betting Cards

After a week off at the Olympics, we are once again back for another edition of Bombs & Values: WGC-FedEx St Jude edition. It’s always an interesting topic to think about long shot bombs in WGC events. They’re almost always won by the elite players in the field, but that hasn’t stopped surprise longshot players from making a run at the top. Last year it was Tom Lewis and Phil Mickelson who pushed for a T2 finish out of the value range of the board at this event. At the only other WGC stroke play event played this year, Billy Horschel snuck his way into a Runner Up finish as well, crawling his way up from the bomb range. So while the outright win equity may not necessarily be there for our favorite value sleepers in a field as loaded as this, identifying the best salary savers for your DFS lineups will go a long way in landing on the optimal lineup in this no cut event. I also have no self control, so even though I accept that a winner in the <45/1 range is all but imminent, it didn’t stop me from including all 3 below bomb plays on my outright card anyway. Let’s get into it!

DFS Values

Masters 2020: The hilarious reason Tyrrell Hatton had to buy a new set of  knives for his rental home in 2018 | This is the Loop | Golf Digest

Pricing from Draft Kings

Tyrrel Hatton ($7,400)

I wouldn’t have given a second thought to playing Tyrrel Hatton if he were priced appropriately around $8,000 amongst the likes of Cameron Smith, Corey Conners, Tommy Fleetwood, Will Zalatoris, Jason Kokrak, Sungjae Im, and Brian Harman. But instead, he’s priced cheaper than all of them, who combine for as many wins over the last two years as Hatton has himself: 4. So because of the misprice, I did in fact give Hatton a second thought, and as it turns out, I love what I see!

The last two winners of the WGC FedEx St Jude (Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka) came into the event showing form with a T5-or-or better finish within their last 4 prior starts. Hatton also checks this box with a T2 finish at the Palmetto Championship, where he played well enough to win if not for an uncharacteristically cold putter, losing 3.2 strokes on the greens.

Looking at the key stats coming in over the last 24 rounds, Hatton ranks 9th in this loaded field SG: T2G, 10th in Opportunities Gained, and inside the Top 20 in SG: APP and SG: OTT. The results don’t necessarily match the stats, which is mainly because Hatton has been snake bitten with one bad round seemingly every week to torpedo 3 otherwise strong showings. As we head into this no cut event with 4 guaranteed rounds, it’s worth the gamble that Hatton can piece together 4 solid days of the Ball Striking and Short Game he’s shown elite flashes in of late.

Kevin Na ($6,500)

It’s never a bad idea to consider Kevin Na as a flier, especially deep in the $6K range in an event he can’t get cut in, coming off of his second best showing of the year, a T2 finish at the John Deere Classic. Na is as volatile as they come, but as he showed us at the Sony Open to start this year where he picked up his 4th win in 4 years, he doesn’t really need to be trending in form to ignite and take down a tournament. Na even won the Shriners at TPC Summerlin despite losing strokes to the field T2G, proving his streaky putter is always liable to mask any inconsistencies in his Ball Striking.

Beyond the fact that he has “random win equity”, I’m really drawn to Na’s Proximity stats heading into this week. TPC Southwind does not yield many approaches under 125 yards or over 200, so it’s an important week to narrow in on players who rate out well with their mid-irons. Na ranks inside the Top 25 from 125-150, 150-175, and 175-200, which when weighted altogether, nets him out to 5th overall in this field from 125-200. He’s also started to become a more reliable fairway finder ranking 17th in Fairways Gained L24 rounds, which should set him up well for opportunities on a track like this that puts a premium on finding the short grass. It’s also a nice bonus that he ranks #1 SG: ARG L24, should the approaches get away from him.

At this price, you’re banking on Na to finish in the Top 30 or better and rack up a few birdie streaks with a hot putter along the way to help with DK Scoring. With finishes of T9, T35, and T11 in his last 3 WGC stroke play appearances, there’s plenty of room for upside to get behind Na at this price.

Ryan Palmer ($6,500)

There’s really no reason to ever get excited about playing Ryan Palmer, which always makes him an appealing DFS leverage play, and sitting here at $6,500 with 3 MCs over his last 4 starts, I think the ownership will continue to stay down. Lack of recent form is usually the #1 reason players drift to the $6K range, but in Palmer’s case there’s enough reason to look past that as a viable play at TPC Southwind. Those 3 MCs mentioned each came at Majors between Royal St. George’s, Torrey Pines, and Kiawah Island, which each presented significantly different tests and conditions to what we’ll see in Memphis this week. If you remove Palmer’s results in Majors for the 2021 season, his resume reads a perfect 14/14 made cuts and 6 T20s in that span.

In terms of Course History, Palmer ranks 11th SG:TOT at TPC Southwind, including a T3, T4, and a T15 in his latest appearance here in 2020. Palmer has never lost strokes OTT here in 8 career trips going back to 2012 and has gained 2+ strokes OTT here on 6/8 occasions. The Approach game has been steady here as well year over year, also gaining 2+ strokes 6/8 times. He runs hot and cold with the putter, but the ceiling is high, having gained 2+ strokes putting in 4 of his last 9 starts coming in. Assuming the Ball Striking continues to be consistent at TPC Southwind, Palmer backers will need only sweat for a field average showing around the greens to make another T20 push.

Betting Bombs

Andrew Landry uses clutch finish to capture The American Express

Billy Horschel (+8000)

Is Billy Horschel a WGC Specialist? In the first two WGC events this year, Horschel has finished T2 at the WGC-Workday at The Concession and then gone on to win the WGC Dell Match Play. Match Play is a completely different animal from the other WGC Stroke Play events, and it’s really not something I’m factoring in to my handicapping this week in terms of Event History, however he has proven he can win against the game’s best with $10.5M on the line, which is worth something at this price. All three WGC contests this year between The Concession, Austin CC, and now TPC Southwind do have one other thing in common beyond the purse, and that’s Bermuda greens. Horschel is an excellent Bermuda putter ranking 12th SG: P L24 and on Fast Bermuda greens like we can expect to see again this week, he jumps up to 9th in the field.

To be a WGC Specialist, you have to prove it over more than just one season, and Horschel has done just that. His last 6 finishes in WGC events between the WGC Dell, WGC-Workday, WGC FedEx St Jude, WGC Mexico, and WGC HSBC read: 1, T2, T25,T9, T24, T9. And beyond the WGC event history, Horschel also has a stellar resume at TPC Southwind with 5 T10 finishes over his last 7 appearances here between the WGC-FedEx St Jude and FedEx St Jude Classic.

Normally this combination of course history and event history for a WGC winner within the same season would come at a premium price. But given the loaded names at the top of this field, we can capitalize on an odds discount on Horschel who’s failed to finish inside the Top 40 in each of his last 4 appearances. I’m willing to overlook the lowly performances on recent non-Bermuda, Major Championship tracks that haven’t suited him well, in favor of the same Zoysia Fairway + Bermuda Green combination we watched him win the TOUR Championship on at East Lake in 2014.

Phil Mickelson (+10000)

If you read my Tournament Preview, you already know every reason why I love Phil this week. That hasn’t changed in the two days that have passed since. At the time, I wrote this Phil endorsement under the assumption we’d see him as a value around 70/1, and while several books are still posting him there, I’ve seen the king of bombs listed as high as 100/1 on BetMGM.

The course history is impeccable, he won a Major just 3 months ago, and he’s matured into a player who can sacrifice distance off the tee to find more fairways when needed, as will be required at TPC Southwind. Phil knows how to navigate this course, he’s dying to finally break through and win here, and has never lost strokes putting on these grounds throughout his many trips. I still love the upside of this play.

Andrew Landry (+20000, Barracuda)

Plot twist, I’m throwing some Barracuda action into the bombs section. To be honest, I think Billy and Phil are the only players that interest me to win this week in the 80/1+ range, and I would be lying if I endorsed a third bomb selection to win; it just isn’t likely to happen against this caliber of a field at a WGC. However if you move one tab over on your sportsbook of choice, there is another flyer you can take before tee off on Thursday: Andrew Landry.

The Barracuda field is weak and very beatable with no surefire locks at the top to worry about. The co-favorites are Mav McNealy and Branden Grace, and I nearly broke my thumb scrolling away from them to find some actual value lower down the board. With Andrew Landry, we’re getting a player who has won twice on Tour over the last 3 years at The AmEx and the Valero Texas Open against two far more formidable fields than what he’ll face at the Barracuda. Just like now, Landry entered each of those events in absolutely awful form and just managed to click everything into place for 4 days. At 200/1, we’re hoping a recent 2-time Tour winner can randomly find form once again.

Landry also happens to be a California killer with 3 of his 7 best career finishes coming in the state of California, and his best finish in 2021 (a T26 at The Genesis) coming here as well. I’ve done absolutely no research on the Barracuda, but as far as hunch 200/1 bets go, I believe this has some legs.