Welp….that was a tough one to swallow….
I incorrectly claimed that the clamor surrounding Daniel Berger last week would be enough to keep him out of “serious contention,” but a pair of weekend 66’s made me look like a total moron. For those of you who followed me over the ledge and watched as the defending champion successfully defended his crown, I’m sorry. I owe you a beer. Or something.
That being said, it was week that played similarly to what I predicted with some guys taking advantage of the fact that most of the Tour’s top stars were in cruise control and already planning and preparing for the U.S. Open. Names like Chez Reavie, Steve Wheatcroft, Wee Kim, David Hearn and more of the ilk popped up on the first and second pages of the leader board for the first time in a long time.
While most woke up this Monday looking for a mulligan, there were some great performances, too. Here’s a look at the did’s and did-not’s from the FedEx St. Jude Classic:
Daniel Berger — Despite getting no love from this so-called expert, Daniel Berger did what he does at TPC Southwind and went low when it mattered, carding back-t0-back 66’s to win the FedEx St. Jude classic for the second straight year. It was his second career win on Tour, as well. The young stud should probably be held out of consideration for the win this week in Wisconsin (no player has ever won the U.S. Open the week after a win) but he could ride the momentum into Erin Hills and turn a lot of heads. For the first time in his career, he know what it’s like to play the week after a win.
Billy Horschel — Another name I completely whiffed on was Billy Horschel. Now, we all know Billy Ho is the streakiest of streaky players and thus, can’t be trusted to be a weekly horse. I lost money on him the week after his win at the AT&T Byron Nelson and figured, well — there goes that theory! But Horschel has actually played OK in the weeks since. Nothing great, nothing terrible. It’s the closest to a fantasy stalwart he’s ever been.
Braden Thornberry — How about the week the amateur Braden Thornberry had at TPC Southwind, huh? After beginning the week steadily with rounds of 71-69, Thornberry got hot when it mattered and shot up the leader board on the weekend with rounds of 67 and 65. For anyone lucky enough to snag him late in their DFS or on a whim, he provided huge bang for your buck — just don’t expect it to continue.
Cameron Tringale — A popular long shot last week was Cameron Tringale. And it wasn’t for no reason, either. Tringale has made all but one cut at TPC Southwind but has never cracked the top-30 in doing so. That trend continued last week, as he rolled in a somewhat disappointing T-37th. Three consecutive rounds of 69 to begin the week were followed by a +2 round of 72 on Sunday. A fourth consecutive 69 would’ve meant his first T-25 or better finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Matt Every — It seems like the only time Matt Every’s name shows up on a leader board it’s at Bay Hill — but on Thursday, the 420-friendly pro found himself atop the pylon after a magnificent 64. The next three rounds, however, were less than stellar and Every finished in a tie for 27th at 3-under for the week. Still, it was a solid performance by a fan favorite and hopefully a sign of better things to come. I, for one, would love to see a return to form and a return to the winner’s circle sooner rather than later for Every.
Brooks Kopeka — Another player with a disappointing week was Brooks Kopeka. Now, that’s not to say that I was disappointed as I foresaw a number of great players having bad weeks with the U.S. Open so closely on the horizon, but Koepka was still a very popular choice on all DFS and weekly formats. It’s was with good reason — Koepka is one of the games brightest young stars — and if you want to take him again at Erin Hills I won’t try and talk you out of it.
Rickie Fowler — It’s been a popular refrain, I know — but another big star who was perhaps looking ahead to this week instead was Rickie Fowler. The orange one stumbled to a Thursday 74 and an even-par 70 on Friday to miss the weekend at TPC Southwind. That all said, no one should be hitting the panic button on young Mr. Fowler. Despite missing his last two cuts in the U.S. Open, he does have a T-2 and T-10 showing in our nations tournament. He can still certainly get it done and, the FedEx St. Jude Classic notwithstanding, he comes into Erin Hills with some momentum and the small “best yet to” chip on his shoulder.
Matt Castonguay — Yeah, I know I didn’t play in the tournament, but damnit, that was a tough week for old No. 1. Missing that big on Berger and Horschel especially is embarrassing. The FedEx St. Jude Classic continued a sour patch for me that, hopefully, will come to an end this week at Erin Hills. God knows, I could use it.