The FedEx Cup Playoffs have arrived with the top 70 players heading to TPC Southwind this week for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. This event is critical in the shuffle for next year as the top 50 will advance to next week’s BMW Championship and that will play a role in whether players are exempt into the top signature events in 2024. So what does it take to succeed at TPC Southwind? The biggest predictor of success at this event is solid mid-iron approach play. In a typical PGA Tour event, 37.8 percent of shots come from 150 to 200 yards. This week, we have one of the highest rates on Tour at 47.9 percent. So basically, half of the approach shots on this course will be five to nine irons with perhaps fewer of the constant wedges. Let’s take a look at a few players who are flying under the radar this week:
Hideki Matsuyama $8,400
Matsuyama was second here in 2021. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as he leads the field in approach from 150 to 200 yards. This is a great buy-low spot as he missed the cut last week and burned a lot of people who backed him at Sedgefield. Sitting 57th in the standings, he needs a good finish to move onto the BMW Championship.
Sepp Straka $7,700
Straka still is going under the radar as many people just don’t think he is as good as he actually has shown this year. If you just look at his performances and metrics, then you would expect his price to be $1,000 more this week. He finished second last year in his only appearance at this event. He comes into it off a win at the John Deere and a runner-up at The Open. He ranks 12th in the field in approach from 150 to 200 yards. So how is the world’s 24th ranked player only $7,700?
J.T. Poston $7,300
Poston is another player who is going under the radar. He has quietly finished 7th or better in four of his last five events (lone blemish being The Open). Historically, Poston is an average ballstriker but an elite putter. Over the last few months, his ballstriking has been improving. In his last two events, he has gained 4.9 and 5.4 strokes on approach. That is the first time in his career that he has gained at least 4.9 strokes on approach in consecutive events. So we have a guy who is arguably hitting his irons the best he ever has heading to a course that should suit his game well. The $7,300 price seems way too cheap for a player with this resume.