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2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude’s Classic First-Round Leader Bets, Picks & Prediction: Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson Lead Charge

2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude’s Classic First-Round Leader Bets, Picks & Prediction: Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson Lead Charge article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Louis Oosthuizen.

  • Following a rare week off for the Olympics, the PGA TOUR is back stateside with the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
  • TPC Southwind plays hosts to the 66-players event featuring several Olympians and 24 of the top-25 players in the world.
  • Amanda Rose gives her six favorite first-round leader picks, below.

After hitting consecutive first-round leader bets in my last two articles, it only seemed fair to take last week off. Ironically enough, the PGA TOUR had the same idea.

The TOUR is back this week after a hiatus during the men’s individual Olympic golf competition. Xander Schauffele left Tokyo with the gold medal, while 11 others endured a playoff for the bronze.  Funny enough, Schauffele is the only Olympic medalist in the field for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude’s Classic.

Be careful when you are looking up stats. Remember, this became a WGC event and moved to this week on the calendar after the Bridgestone sponsorship and Firestone course called it quits. That said, make sure you aren’t looking at stats from Firestone when you look at past results.

Now that I’ve reminded you of something you probably already knew, here’s a look at my favorite First-Round Leader picks for this week’s tournament.

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Louis Oosthuizen  (+2200)

I love Louis, so much so that a 1970’s folk-rock song bearing his name has been stuck in my head since The Open Championship. He has been playing so well lately that it’s hard to imagine he isn’t going to keep hitting for me. Oosthuizen leads the field this week in SG: Short Game and SG: Putting, which are two important starts this week.

The South African took last week off and didn’t represent his homeland in the Olympics. I imagine he’s refreshed coming off T2-T3-2 finishes in his last three appearances. He’s gaining an average of more than 10 strokes per round in his last five events. Bottom line, the dude is balling out.

I wouldn’t suggest putting the house on Oosthuizen (since he’s a UPS guy), but I see no reason to not throw a few bucks on him across the board.

Dustin Johnson (+2200)

I don’t usually like the pick the favorites for a FRL bet, but you’re getting pretty decent value on DJ  this week. He opened at +1800 with Justin Thomas, which is also a good value for a guy who won this event in 2012 and 2018 before it was in the WGC rotation.

Despite coming off of an MC Hammer at the 3M, DJ finished T-8 at The Open and a handful of other good finishes following a missed cut at the PGA. Like Oosthuizen, he skipped the Olympics. Also like Oosthuizen, he’s a major champion who thrives in events against elite fields.

Harris English (+3000)

Another guy who has been incredible lately is English. The Georgia Bulldog won the Travelers Championship in June, which came a week after finishing T-3 at the US Open.

He’s gaining strokes on the field across the board, and seems to be happening in the middle of a career renaissance. He’s a better DFS value ($7,600) than he is in betting, but I love how he is playing right now. He’s another guy worth throwing some spare change on in different categories.

Brian Harman (+4000)

Of all the guys in the preview, Harman is the one I think will win next. He has been so consistent this season and continues to fly under the radar despite nine top-20 finishes since January.

There’s not much Harman does poorly in his game. His only flaw (if you can even call it that) is his distance. Obviously, that means he’s going to find fairways more often and that’s all he needs to do.

Ryan Palmer (+7500)

The Texan delighted us all with great play at Scottish Open last month. Palmer finished T-15 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude’s last year, his best finish at the course since he was T-3 and T-4 at the FedEx St. Jude’s Classic in 2012 and 2013.

Despite missing the cut in the last two majors, he has been good in these elite-field events. Look for him to get off to hot a start Thursday. I think he’s about to start playing some great golf.

Lucas Glover (+8000)

When Glover won this season, I genuinely couldn’t believe 2011 was 11 years ago, because I remember that win like it was yesterday. He’s having a nice season and, as mentioned, he won the John Deere.

He went on to miss the cut the following week at The Open, but after a two-week break, Glover should be ready to go.

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