St Jude Classic: Horschel can blow rivals away at TPC Southwind

Billy Horschel is Dave Tindall's bet from the favourites at the St Jude Classic
Will Billy have us jumping in delight?

Dave Tindall brings us his each-way tips for this week's St. Jude Classic in Memphis...


"Villegas' last five finishes in the St. Jude (reading back from 2014) are: 11-10-MC-3-8. Overall, he has six top 20s so it's definitely one of his favourite Tour stops."

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Favourites - best bet: Billy Horschel @ 17.016/1

Initially, I thought my selection from the front end of the market would be a toss-up between Billy Horschel and Ryan Palmer. Then I looked at the prices.

Next thought was that Dustin Johnson was a good favourite so let's keep it simple and back the big-hitting American, who won this event on his debut at TPC Southwind in 2012. However, DJ admits he's still hitting some loose shots and the 5/1 really is short.

So, it's back to Horschel even though the 16/1 is, how shall I put it, giving nothing away. A good start, though, and we'll be delighted to have taken 16s.

The deciding factor with Horschel is that he's a player to back when he's got up a good head of steam.

Memorial probably wasn't the best place to back him as he'd had a break since his T13 at The Players Championship but now that he's added to that with a T11 at Muirfield Village it does seem a good time to load the gun.

What makes me pull the trigger is his strong displays at TPC Southwind over the last two years. In 2013 he played an excellent final 54 holes to finish T10 while last year he was prominent from the off and posted T6.

His last seven rounds on the par 70 now read: 69-68-67-67-68-68-70.

Horschel's 6th spot here in 2014 came on the back of a T15 at Memorial and a T26 at Sawgrass so given how similar that is to this year, he looks primed to give us a big run for our money.


Mid-range - best bet: Will Wilcox @ 67.066/1

After the usual reading around, the stats I thought I'd use to help me shorten the longlist would be Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring Average (TPC Southwind is a Par 70 so Par 5 excellence is diminished), Scrambling (the greens are small so everyone will miss their share) and Bogey Avoidance.

The player who, surprisingly, excels in all four categories is Wilcox. He's 6th in Par 3s, 26th in Par 4s, 16th in Scrambling and 1st in Bogey Avoidance. Way to go, Will!

Theoretically, then, he's a good fit for the course but what does reality tell us? Well, reality is reading the script too as on his debut here last year, Wilcox shot 70-67-68-71 to finish T19.

To give it some extra context, it came between missed cuts either side, was his best result of the year since a T8 in January's Sony Open and, in a difficult campaign, his second highest finish of the season.

The upshot of 2014 is that he only has conditional status this year but he's making good use of his limited chances and last time out shot 68-67-67-67 to finish T22 at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Other good knocks include a sixth in Puerto Rico (after an opening 77!) and a T18 at Pebble Beach while he also has some handy recent Web.Com Tour form (16th BMW Charity Pro-Am and 12th Mexico Championship).

As a southern boy (he's from Alabama) he'll enjoy the hot and humid conditions and I also notice that Steve Rawlings has put him up so hopefully he'll do both columns a big favour this week.


Long-shot - best bet: Camilo Villegas @ 101.0100/1

Last year, Troy Merritt came through 36 holes of US Open qualifying on Monday and kept the momentum going at TPC Southwind, eventually finishing runner-up.

So, is there anyone out there capable of doing something similar? It's not an easy task to keep it going for 108 holes (36 in qualifying + 72 in the St Jude) and ideally you'd want a bit of a fitness freak who knows this week's course very well so won't need to do much in practice.

Step forward Camilo Villegas.

The Colombian gym-rat shot 64-72 in Ohio on Monday to grab one of the 15 spots available after a field of 120 had teed it up in the hope of making it to Chambers Bay.

He missed five cuts on the spin across April and May but made the weekend at Memorial and finished T40 so he looks to have found some form at the ideal time.

Now, the hope is that he can carry it over to TPC Southwind where he owns one of the best records in recent years.

Villegas' last five finishes in the St. Jude (reading back from 2014) are: 11-10-MC-3-8. Overall, he has six top 20s so it's definitely one of his favourite Tour stops.

"I always play good here," he said after a 64 last year which put him second at halfway so hopefully it's more of the same this week and he can push his way into that top five.

Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £570
Returned: £262.50
P/L: -£307.50

(Includes last week’s Memorial)

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