Sobel’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Final Round Matchup: Is the Smart Money on Koepka or McIlroy?


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy walks with Brooks Koepka during the second round at TPC Southwind.

  • Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are separated by just one stroke heading into the final round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
  • Jason Sobel details who to bet on Sunday at TPC Southwind

This year’s major championships are over, but there’s a major head-to-head battle at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational brewing for the final round.

Rory McIlroy leads Brooks Koepka by a single stroke entering the final round.

So .. what should we expect?

Let’s break down the numbers.

Starting with strokes gained off the tee, Rory owns a slight advantage at fourth in the field this week, while Koepka is fifth, just slightly behind.

There’s a big discrepancy, though, when it comes to strokes gained on approach shots, as McIlroy is -2.392 against the field, while Koepka is much better at +2.521, meaning the latter’s ball-striking is nearly five strokes better this week.

Where Rory picks up strokes is around the green, as he’s fifth in getting up and down, as opposed to Koepka, who ranks 50th.

The numbers are fairly even on putting, with McIlroy ranking second and Koepka third.

All of which gets to the final round: McIlroy is 6-5 to win the tourney, while Koepka at one stroke back remains the underdog at 9-4.

The smart money should be on Rory, for more than just the fact that he’s leading. In tourneys after his last four missed cuts, McIlroy owns two wins, which is a solid percentage.

Following last week’s MC at The Open, during which he posted a strong second round before failing to reach the weekend, Rory is the favorite for a good reason. Expect him to continue going low on Sunday — to the extent where 6-5 should be a nice number to bet him.

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