WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational First Round Leader: Get with English trio

English golfer Matt Wallace
England's Matt Wallace can start fast

We have WGC action in Memphis this week and Dave Tindall has three selections to make a fast start at TPC Southwind...

"He's been a first-round leader three times in his last 49 worldwide starts (including Wentworth) so knows a thing or two about getting out of the blocks fast."

Back Matt Wallace each-way @ 66/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for TPC Southwind: Temperatures rise to the early 90s in mid-to-late afternoon while winds blow at a steady 15mph for most of the playing day. Rain and thunderstorms are also in the equation.

First-round leader history at TPC Southwind:

2019 - 62 Jon Rahm
2018 - 65 Seamus Power
2017 - 64 Matt Every, Scott Brown, Sebastian Munoz
2016 - 65 Seung-yul Noh, Shawn Stefani, Tom Hoge
2015 - 64 Greg Owen, Brooks Koepka, Ryan Palmer

Strategy: Rahm shot a stunning 62 last year but I'm not sure how useful the rest of the info is as those other R1 leads were in full fields when it wasn't a WGC event. Last year, Rahm's opener gave him a three-shot advantage over Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Shugo Imahira and Hideki Matsuyama. With a small field of 78 and two-tee start, everyone hits their first shot in a narrow slot (11am-1pm) so no advantage there.

Wallace ready to start fast

Matt Wallace made his TPC Southwind debut last year and fired a third-round 65 on the way to T27.

He was in the top 15 after 54 holes but faded on Sunday, perhaps tiring due to the event coming the week after the Open Championship where he spent plenty of mental energy.

But that 5-under Saturday shows he can score here and Wallace returns to the Memphis track in fine form.

In three July starts, he's posted T12 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, T39 at the Workday Charity Open and T4 last time at the Memorial.

In the first of those, a 66 on day one put him in the top four after 18 holes.

The Englishman signed off his first week at Muirfield Village with a 67 and then ranked 15th SG: Off The tee, 10th Tee To Green, 2nd Around The Green and 8th Putting at Memorial seven days later.

He's been a first-round leader three times in his last 49 worldwide starts (including Wentworth) so knows a thing or two about getting out of the blocks fast.

Take Wallace, who tees off at 12:10pm from the 10th, at 66/1.

Pick Poulter to purr early

Ian Poulter seems to fit the bill nicely this week.

He's emerged from golf's suspension in decent nick by making four of five cuts and that includes T14 at The Heritage and T5 at the Workday Charity Open.

Hi opening rounds at those tournaments read 66-64-67-68-76 and the 64 helped him enjoy a piece of the first-round lead at Hilton Head.

Poulter has had in nose in front early at big American events before and in 2018 he topped the R1 standings at both the US Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Last year in this tournament he started out with a 66 to sit tied seventh before going on to finish T8 while two visits earlier Poulter closed with a 64 to land in the top six.

In other words, this is a course with some good memories.

Poulter opens his bid at 12:50pm from No.10 and hopefully can give us plenty to cheer at 60/1.

Look to Lewis

Tom Lewis first made his name as a first-round leader when sharing top spot after day one of the 2011 Open Championship as an amateur.

Now the owner of a PGA Tour card after winning the Korn Ferry Tour Championship by five shots, the Englishman has played some good golf since the restart with T12 at the Rocket Mortgage and T32 at the 3M Open.

In both events he opened with a 68.

Earlier this season, he reminded us of his ability to start fast when taking the first-round lead at the Honda Classic with a 66.

Just seven starts earlier, he'd also been the R1 pacesetter in the European Tour's Turkish Airlines Open.

Lewis has some good numbers behind him when looking through the stats and can certainly handle himself in windy conditions which adds another edge.

English players peppered the leaderboard at this course last year (five finished in the top 12) and Lewis has the class to make a big impression at juicy FRL odds of 100/1.

He starts his week in the first group out from No.1 at 11:00am.

Staked: £480
Returned: £345.91
P/L: -£134.09

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles