2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship Round 2 Odds & Picks: Bets for Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Denny McCarthy
Pictured: Patrick Cantlay. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS — The opening round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship is in the books. Jordan Spieth cashed first-round leader tickets on the strength of a one-eagle, five-birdie, no-bogey, 7-under 63 performance.
This marks the 13th time in Spieth’s career that he’s owned or shared the 18-hole lead. The last time? Earlier this year at the Sony Open, when he started with a 64, then followed with a 75 and missed the cut.
There’s no danger of that happening again as there's no cut in this 70-man field, but it’s worth noting that Spieth has converted three of his previous 12 opening-round leads into victories, including two at major championships.
If you’re looking to play the percentages and bet that Spieth (currently +600) fails to convert this one, there are plenty of viable options right behind him, including Tom Kim (64), Collin Morikawa (65) and Emiliano Grillo (65).
There are 33 players within four strokes of the lead at TPC Southwind. That group includes Scottie Scheffler (+750) and Rory McIlroy (+900), the next two players behind Spieth on the odds board.
If we’re looking for value, let’s wander a little further down the board to find three potential adds. Let's also keep in mind that last year’s winner, Will Zalatoris, trailed by nine strokes after the first day.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500)
I liked Cantlay going into the week, but didn’t love the 16/1 outright number. This represents an opportunity to get a small bargain on an elite-level player who posted five birdies Thursday, but also had three messy bogeys.
His stats were solid off the tee, but he uncharacteristically lost ground to the field with his iron play, something he went to figure out afterward.
Immediately following the round, Cantlay and swing instructor Jamie Mulligan went to the practice range and there’s plenty of reason to believe he can start climbing this board over the next three days.
Tony Finau (+3500)
Like Cantlay, Finau posted an opening-round 68. Unlike Cantlay, Finau's iron play was on fire.
Finau ranked second in the field in SG: Approach on Thursday (behind only Lucas Glover), but lost nearly two-and-a-half strokes around and on the greens.
It’s been a strange year for Finau. After finishing 31st or better in his first 10 starts, he won the Mexico Open, then went into a bit of a tailspin and failed to post a top-20 in his next seven starts. However, we saw reason for optimism a few weeks ago, when he finished T-7 in defending his 3M Open title. That gives me reason to believe he can contend once again this week.
Denny McCarthy (+7500)
First, the bad news: One of the world’s best putters lost more than a half-stroke to the field with his flatstick in the opening round.
Now, the good news: He posted a 67 on the strength of iron play, which ranked eighth in the field.
You can probably guess where I’m going with this one: If he can keep up the ball-striking, while improving at the part of the game in which he usually excels, McCarthy could be a solid candidate to nab his first PGA Tour title this weekend.