2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Final Round Buys & Fades: Ride Harris English to His Third Win of 2021
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Harris English.
The week (maybe year) of Harris English continued on Saturday at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude as he posted another 5-under round to maintain his two-shot advantage heading into Sunday at TPC Southwind. He is seeking to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the season and to capture his third win of 2021.
English has been simply unflappable through three rounds in Memphis, despite all of the trouble that lurks throughout the course. He has just three bogeys on the week and navigated moving day with a bogey-free round that will give him a two-shot edge over his Sunday playing partner, Bryson DeChambeau.
Bryson had the low round of the day on Saturday as he put together a 7-under 63 to be in position to contend for the win in the final round. He will go into the final round in a tie for second alongside Cameron Smith, who also found his irons in the third round on his way to a 65. They will be chased by Abraham Ancer, Ian Poulter and Scottie Scheffler who are the only other players within five shots of English’s lead.
It seems to be a race between these six players up top, unless someone puts together the low round of the week to try to steal the tournament on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the strokes gained data from the third round to find our winner of the final WGC of the season.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
The way that Harris English has played and the fact he has closed the door on two wins this season makes it difficult to fade him in the final round. He looks like a player that won’t beat himself, and for that reason I’ll grab the +130 available on him at BetMGM heading into Sunday.
He ranks third in the field in both tee to green and on approach this week, while leading everyone in strokes gained putting. All of that is a lethal combination which could result in his third win of the season and some serious consideration for Player of the Year on TOUR.
If I’m looking for a player to come from behind and put together a round to win, it’s with Abraham Ancer. He is four shots back to start the final round but won’t have any pressure or expectations on his shoulders on Sunday. He can be aggressive in seeking his first win on TOUR and try to put it all together to steal the win.
Ancer has been solid with his play all week, gaining more than 2.3 shots on the field tee to green per round. He put together a 67 on Saturday to stay within shouting distance of the lead, and while he will need to be close to perfect in the final round, he has the ability to put together a really low round.
The other player that is in that group within five shots is Scottie Scheffler. He’s in a similar position to Ancer in that he is seeking his first TOUR win and will likely benefit from being further back on Sunday.
Scheffler is one that is known to go low at times, and if it weren’t for a poor putter on Saturday, he may have done just that. He gained over three shots on the field in his third round as he was better than the field in each of those metrics, but he gave nearly a stroke-and-a-half back on the greens.
Scottie is in position to play with nothing to lose on Sunday and to be aggressive to try to put a round together to scare the leaders in the final round, which gives him value at +2200 on FanDuel.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
There isn’t a lot that sticks out for fades on Sunday, but it was Sam Burns who struggled the most at the top of the leaderboard. He simply couldn’t get his game going in the third round, losing strokes tee to green and with his putter on Saturday.
The LSU alum shot even par on a day when the field was 1.3 shots under par, causing him to drop outside of the top 10. The biggest concern for Burns is how his entire game fell apart on Saturday, not just one category. It’ll be tough for him to bounce back on Sunday as he seeks to find it again throughout the bag, which is a big reason for my final-round fade.
I’m going back to the well on a fade of one of my favorite players, Will Zalatoris. I wrote him up in this column after the opening round, and he burned me with a strong Friday, before reverting back to some of the same issues on Saturday.
Willy Z seems to be searching for his irons this week, which is rare as it is the strength of his game. He has actually been really good on the greens at TPC Southwind, and if he had his typical ball-striking, he could be in position to contend. Instead, he is still in a respectable tie for seventh heading to Sunday, but I just can’t trust that he will have enough to stay on the first page of the leaderboard.
The story for Ryan Palmer on Saturday was similar to that of Sam Burns, as he struggled to follow up his strong round from Friday. Palmer was able to still put together a 2-under round, but he needed a strong putter to make it happen.
The Texan lost strokes to the field with his ball-striking as his game off the tee really hindered his ability to put together a good round. He’s in solo 16th going into the final round but is likely to continue to drop with the issues he showed on Saturday. He makes for a good target in final round matchups.