WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Each-Way Tips: Back Southwind specialist Berger

American Daniel Berger
Course horse Daniel Berger arrives in great form

It's the third WGC event of the season and Dave Tindall seeks more profits with three tips for the action at TPC Southwind in Tennessee...

"TPC Southwind was the scene of his first PGA Tour win in 2016 when he held off Koepka, Phil Mickeson and Steve Stricker while, unusually for a first-time defender, he got it done again 12 months later."

Back Daniel Berger E/W @ 23.022/1

Main Bet: Daniel Berger each-way @ 23.022/1

Some weeks it's probably best to not try to reinvent the wheel.

This looks to be one of them.

With the Olympics on our screens, let's start with nationality and note that American golfers have won 11 of the last 12 World Golf Championships.

The odd one out was the 2019 HSBC Champions won by Rory McIlroy which means since this event gained WGC status earlier that year it's had two USA winners.

The first was Brooks Koepka in 2019, the second Justin Thomas last year - two high-quality Americans.

Koepka must have a great chance again given his current form but, at twice the price, I'm going with ultimate course horse Daniel Berger.

TPC Southwind was the scene of his first PGA Tour win in 2016 when he held off Koepka, Phil Mickeson and Steve Stricker (three more Americans) while, unusually for a first-time defender, he got it done again 12 months later.

They were won with 13-under and 10-under respectively: scoring was tough so this wasn't just a case of Berger riding a hot putter.

After missing the cut in the first year of its WGC status, Berger returned to Southwind last year and finished runner-up, again firing 10-under.

That gives him course form since 2016 of 1-1-MC-2. Suddenly that 22/1 starts to look a little more appealing.

The course is a par 70 with Bermuda greens and it was when taking the same examination paper that Berger first rose to prominence: a play-off loss to Padraig Harrington in the 2015 Honda Classic.

He was World No.170 at the time but he lines up this week ranked 18th.

A tied seventh at the Sony Open (another Bermuda par 70) was part of an excellent opening quartet of West Coast tournaments which peaked with victory at Pebble Beach.

He's barely put a foot wrong since and showed how much his all-round game has advanced by posting tied seventh (US Open) and tied eighth (Open Championship) in the final two majors of the season.

They rank as his second and third best finishes in the majors.

The Par 4 count rises to 12 from 10 on a Par 70 and Berger slots in at 12th on the Par 4 Performance charts this season.

In addition, he's 14th for Approach, 27th in Putting and 10th in Scoring Average so all the numbers point to Berger having another big week.

I'll also take it as a positive that he's not coming back from the Olympics and having to deal with a 14-hour time difference.

That's something four of those above him the betting - 12/1 Collin Morikawa, 14/1 Xander Schauffele, 16/1 Justin Thomas and 18/1 Rory McIlroy - have to deal with.

Next Best: Scottie Scheffler each-way @ 31.030/1

The lack of a win yet on the PGA Tour means Scottie Scheffler remains a rung or so below the top players in the betting.

That's fair enough and some may believe he needs to win something smaller before landing a big event like this.

However, this is an each-way preview and those who have been backing Scheffler in the top events this year have been racking up the profits.

In the majors - with 10 payout places on offer don't forget - you would have made money on Scheffler via his T8 at the US PGA, T7 at the US Open and T8 in the Open.

In the WGCs, the each-way profits have continued thanks to his solo fifth in the Workday Championship and second place in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Two of those four strokeplay events mentioned were on par 70s so he doesn't need four par 5s on which to take advantage of his length.

That's explained by him ranking 1st in the Par 4 Birdie or Better standings.

Scheffler has had three previous looks at TPC Southwind and improved his finish each time. He missed the cut as a teenage amateur in 2014, shot middle rounds of 68-68 when T43 in 2018 and fired four rounds in the 60s to take T15 last year.

Tough scoring should also suit him given that he achieved that trio of top 10s in the last three majors with scores of 1-under (US PGA), 1-under (US Open) and 7-under (Open Championship).

Speaking at Torrey Pines, he said: "I kind of enjoy the grind. I think it eliminates a lot of guys, and I really enjoy it.

"It's just one of those deals, I think if I was playing great on a birdie fest I would feel good there, too, but I really do enjoy the grind of a US Open mentally and physically, just going out there and trying to beat up on the golf course."

Playing in hot conditions (it'll be in the high 90s) on Bermuda grass in the south will make the Texan feel at home and there's an extra little boost provided by a second place finish in the Nashville Open two years ago.

Like this week, that event took place in Tennessee.

The industry-best 30/1 with seven payout places in a field of just 66 looks good to me.

Final Bet: Matthew Wolff each-way @ 101.0100/1

After two fairly obvious picks, I'll end by rolling the dice with a 100/1 shot.

It's the price that gets my attention as Matthew Wolff has already shown he can flourish in elite fields.

The 22-year-old only started playing in majors last year but already he has a tied fourth in the US PGA and a second and a tied 15th in the US Open.

He's also a PGA Tour winner already having shot 21-under to capture last July's 3M Open.

That's the easy part of the sell; now we need to work out why he's 100/1.

The obvious explanation is that he's lost his way a little in 2021, even taking a break after the US Masters where he was disqualified.

But the recent signs are much more promising.

A top 15 in the US Open at Torrey Pines is the obvious one but making his last two cuts will have added a further bed of confidence.

Finishes of tied 58th in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and tied 39th in defence of the 3M Open hardly look much. But he was tied 14th at halfway in the former and tied 22nd after 54 holes in the latter thanks to three rounds in the 60s.

To most, he also won't score many points for course form after finishes of tied 24th on debut in 2019 and tied 49th last year.

But drill down to individual round scores and he shot a third-round 65 in in both years.

Speaking a few months ago, Wolff opened up about the mental health issues which forced him to sit it out for a while.

He explained: "We play a lot of golf and any professional athlete has to deal with a lot more stress and pressure than most people and it's, it just kind of got to me. But I've been working on it, I've been learning and I think that's all I can do.

"I just talked to the people that were close with me. I didn't block anyone out, I wasn't like, oh, I need to close my circle, but I reached out to the people that I've always reached out to. And my agency, the people that work there, they have been unbelievably supportive, and not only that, but my family and my girlfriend Kim."

His experience is something we can understand more following the recent stories of high-profile athletes such as American gymnast Simone Biles and cricketer Ben Stokes so I'll enjoy cheering Wolff on this week regardless of the bet.

Staked: £1230.00
Returned: £2598.87
P/L: +£1368.87

2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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