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St Jude Classic

Betting tips: Who to back at the St Jude Classic

NCG's betting expert has four to follow as the PGA Tour makes its final stop before the US Open...
 

The one to be on: Brooks Koepka

Koepka has looked close to getting that second PGA Tour win at various times this season, and probably should win more than he does.

But with many of the tour’s finest skipping this stop at the St Jude Classic to prepare for the US Open next week, maybe this will be his week.

After strong performances in the Texas Open and Zurich Classic, Koepka has had a quiet couple of weeks since the Players.

In three appearances here, though, he’s finished 19th, third and second.

The each-way backs: Kevin Tway and Ian Poulter

St Jude Classic

Phil Mickelson’s record here in the last five years, without winning, is tremendous and he is skipping Erin Hills. But 28/1 for a player who hasn’t won in four years – and now feels very inconsistent – is too short for me.

I concede he’ll have his each way fans, but I prefer to look at two players coming in at 45/1 and 66/1 respectively.

Apart from a missed cut at Memorial, Tway’s been in eye-catching form so, in this field, I’m strongly interested in his price.

Top 20 finishes in his previous five tournaments, including tied third at the Texas Open and third at the Zurich Classic, have pushed him into the world’s top 200.

With the stress of trying to earn his PGA Tour card consigned to history, Poulter responded with an impressive runners-up display at the Players.

He’s in decent touch and the 66/1 definitely appeals. The only concern is the amount of golf he’s played in recent weeks.

It was enough of a worry for the Ryder Cup hero to pass on US Open qualification and he’ll need to win if he is to play next week.

That he didn’t seem too bothered about lining up may be indicative of possible burnout but I’ll take a chance at the price.

The dark horse: Steve Stricker

St Jude Classic

N0. 1 on the PGA Tour in driving accurary. First in putting from five and six feet. He’s made seven of eight cuts and has four top 25 finishes. Yet Stricker is 66/1. I think that’s too big a price.

For a man who’s flitting between the PGA and Champions Tour, and plays a limited schedule at best, you have to say he’s in fine fettle.

A closing 78 at the Memorial butchered what could otherwise have been a nice week but four of his last eight rounds have been in the 60s and he finished the previous week at the Dean and Deluca with a fabulous 63.

He turned up at the St Jude Classic last year for the first time in a while and finished second and there’s definitely life in the old dog yet.

Having come through qualifying for the US Open, he’ll be on a high and will be keen to go to Erin Hills, in his home state, in good touch.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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