2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship Final Round Picks: Tommy Fleetwood in Position to Win

2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship Final Round Picks: Tommy Fleetwood in Position to Win article feature image

Pictured: Tommy Fleetwood. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS — It might not be the most crowded leaderboard we’ve seen, but there are plenty of betting candidates capable of winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday.

Despite missing putts of seven and three feet on the 16th and 18th holes of the third round, Lucas Glover (+210) owns a one-stroke advantage and is in search of a second consecutive victory. Taylor Moore (+400) is his closest pursuer and there are a bevy of big names just behind them. Tommy Fleetwood (+400) trails by two, Max Homa (+850) and Jordan Spieth (+900) trail by three and a half-dozen players — Rory McIlroy (+1600), Viktor Hovland (+2500), Patrick Cantlay (+2500), Tom Kim(+4000), Sungjae Im (+4500) and Emiliano Grillo (+5500) — are trying to close on a five-shot deficit.

Let’s start with Glover, who didn’t mince words about his Saturday performance.

“It was scrappy,” he said. “Parts of it, you could remove the s.”

If that assessment doesn’t inspire optimism in his chances to go back-to-back, then this one certainly won’t, either.

“I'm in a good spot,” Glover continued. “Just iron a few things out and wake up tomorrow a little more confident than I am right now and see where we are.”

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If you’re looking to fade Glover — and at just longer than 2/1 odds, you better be more confident in him than he is, if you’re not — there are strong options in the outright markets.

Moore ranked sixth in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green in the third round and posted seven birdies during his 5-under 65.

That said, he hasn’t had many title contention opportunities lately and has posted just one top-10 finish in 11 starts since his Valspar Championship win five months ago.

Instead, Fleetwood is the 4/1 play that piques my interest. He's posted three rounds of 4-under 66 so far this week.

As I wrote in my pre-tournament preview, I love everything about Fleetwood here — except the relatively short number in relation to his win equity. His 25/1 price felt like a reach considering he’s never won on U.S. soil.

However, I’ll readily admit that we collectively put too much stock into such a statistic — or at least, I probably do. Fleetwood has won a half-dozen times on the DP World Tour, while becoming a Ryder Cup darling and challenging in multiple major championships. So, we shouldn’t be too dissuaded by the lack of wins on this side of the pond.

After his third round, I asked Fleetwood whether his strategy would change at all on Sunday, knowing he need to step on the gas pedal to beat his fellow contenders.

“At the moment, everything I'm doing is going really, really well,” he explained. “I'm having more good days than bad days, and it's just about going into tomorrow doing the same thing, more of the same, and focusing on having another good day and winning the day.”

In comparison with Glover’s self-assessment, that Fleetwood quote speaks volumes.

My best advice in these situations — when there’s a bunched leaderboard entering the final round — is to stick with the one who got you here. Unless you have massive equity in a specific player and want to hedge, there’s probably a reason why you liked him in the first place. Don't pivot from that opinion.

As far as the other contenders, they’ve all got a little something that just doesn’t feel quite right.

I think that Homa represents some nice value at more than 8/1. For a while, his win percentage was more than half of his top-10 percentage, though the latter number has caught up this season. Even so, when he contends, he often wins. Though a tremendous Saturday performance might be tough to replicate.

I’ve watched Spieth play a lot of golf over the past few days and he’s been missing fairways and getting himself into poor positions for his approach shots, or missing greens and having to rely on his short game. He could certainly put it all together Sunday, but it looks like he’s still battling to find each part of his game at the same time.

McIlroy can always go low, but the unfamiliarity of a new putter, which he had cut down during the tournament, could be a bit of a roadblock.

I’ve liked Cantlay throughout the week, but he’s gone long stretches without a birdie over the past two days.

Hovland was grinding more than any other player on the range entering the opening round and a 2-over 72 start had many suggesting he was far from playing his best golf. To his testament, he’s followed with rounds of 64 and 65, but I still feel like he’s trying to find something.

Kim has stalled out a bit. After posting seven birdies in the opening 18 holes, he's had just four during the ensuing 36, though against one bogey. That could earn him a win at the more difficult Olympia Fields next week, but he’ll need more red numbers here.

Im has a similar story. He hasn't been able to put everything together over the past couple of days, though he’s certainly starting to trend in a more favorable direction.

Grillo seems to be heading the other way, following a 65-67 start with a 69 on Saturday and losing more than a stroke-and-a-half to the field from tee-to-green.

All of which leaves my personal process of elimination focused on Fleetwood, who’s been pushing toward this first PGA Tour title throughout the summer. In fact, he fits a very similar profile to Will Zalatoris, who’d contended for majors, but earned his first victory here in Memphis a year ago. It would be an even bigger celebration for Fleetwood, who’s waited much longer for his moment in the sun on this side of the world.

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