2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Round 2 Odds and Picks: Patrick Cantlay Showing Form
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.
The first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship saw plenty of scoring available after overnight rains softened the course for the players on Thursday. The morning tee times took full advantage, playing the course nearly two full strokes under par, which turned out to be about a shot better than the afternoon wave.
Si Woo Kim and JJ Spaun were the two players who went off in the morning and piled up the birdies on the way to rounds of 8-under 62. Sahith Theegala tried to chase them down on Thursday afternoon, but fell one shot short. However, he will get the advantage of going right back out on Friday morning. The field bunches beyond Theegala as 17 players shot rounds of 65 or better, creating quite a group within just three shots of the lead with 54 holes to play.
As is usually the case on Thursday nights, we will look for some betting value down the board going into Round 2 as we dig into the strokes gained data from the opening round at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played 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, SG: Ball Striking and SG: 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 are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2
There are a few players who really stick out to me at first glance as we look to Round 2. The big thing is being able to look at the full body of work and not get too caught up in a bad swing or two, which can be really punished at TPC Southwind.
Patrick Cantlay was the player near the top of the leaderboard who embodies that thought for me. He was cruising along and playing great golf throughout his opening round before a poor drive off the 15th required him to lay up and it led to his first bogey of the day. It would get worse a few holes later as he dunked his drive on 18 into the water, which led to a double bogey. Those two swings cost Cantlay three shots in an otherwise great round where he gained 2.30 shots on approach and nearly that amount tee to green. He will head back out on Friday morning and I expect he will clean up those issues and be ready to go low. He’s five shots back of the leaders, but at +2200 on FanDuel he is someone I will be targeting going into Friday.
Taylor Pendrith is the guy who sticks out as the more traditional buy going into Round 2 as he gained more than four shots on the field tee to green, ranking second in the category during the day. He was really sharp in both of his ball striking metrics, including 2.75 strokes gained with his irons. The Canadian lost a stroke and a half to the field with his putter and I’ll look for some positive regression in that category Friday. He is someone who has shown that when he performs on the greens, he can put his name in the hunt to win and at +5000 he is worth a dabble for the tournament, but also a buy going into Round 2.
We have seen Collin Morikawa have peaks with his putter over the past two years and generally when he has it rolling on the greens, it leads to him contending for a win. The putter was what saved him on Thursday as he gained 2.31 shots on the field with the flatstick on his way to a 3-under round, despite losing shots to the field tee to green. He is one player I will give the benefit of the doubt and rather than fade him in this scenario like I would do with others, I will instead buy into his ability to turn around the ball striking on Friday. If he can find his form, specifically with his irons, he presents great value at +4000 on FanDuel as he seems to have the feel on the greens through the first round.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2
I am going to begrudgingly start my Round 2 fades with one of my favorite players, K.H. Lee. He charged out of the gates, as he tends to do on TPC courses, and fired a 6-under round on Thursday. My concern with Lee going into Round 2 is that he put that round together with a putter that gained 3.96 shots on the field and he lost .37 shots on approach. While the overall number isn’t big, he was just consistently bad with his irons on Thursday as he lost strokes to the field on more than half of his approach shots. That’s a big issue for me going into Friday as he’ll have to turn it around in a hurry to stay on the first page of the leaderboard.
JT Poston was a similar story to Lee and although we know he is a great putter, his field best 4.47 shots gained on the greens is a number that’s unsustainable throughout the week. He lost more than a shot to the field with his ball striking, dropping shots in both metrics. Poston has been riding a hot game tee to green since his win at the John Deere and he could very well find it again quickly on Friday, but the numbers that show him losing strokes on seven of his final eight approaches have me leaning the other direction.
The single shot swings can go both directions and Cameron Smith had a hole out that skewed the overall results of his opening round. He gained 1.86 shots with his eagle hole out on the par-4 13th, which makes up almost entirely the 1.89 shots he gained for the day as he lost strokes on half of his approach shots Thursday. The Australian has had flashes during this great season of his where he has struggled on approach and we’ve been able to see the dips coming from round to round. This appears to be another spot where I expect him to struggle as his irons just aren’t as sharp as the current numbers indicate.