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First Look: FedEx St. Jude Championship

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The FedExCup playoffs begin this week with the FedEx St. Jude Championship outside of Memphis, a city that has hosted a PGA TOUR event every year since 1958.

Tony Finau is looking to defend his title at last season’s FedExCup opener after recently winning back-to-back TOUR titles.

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FIELD NOTES: The FedExCup Top 125 are ready to play TPC Southwind and get back to TOUR action… Count Cameron Smith as one of those playing for the first time since winning the Open in St. Andrews. The winner of Claret Jug lost in the playoffs to Finau a year ago at the event played at Liberty National Golf Club, and was also T5 last year in the World Championship of Golf at TPC Southwind… Scottie Scheffler , thanks to his four wins earlier in the year, heads into the FedExCup Playoffs first on the FedExCup points list and as a Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 winner… FedExCup Champion of last season, Patrick Cantlay went to Memphis fifth in the standings thanks to a TOUR top 10 and a win with Xander Schauffele in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Cantlay is looking to become the first consecutive FedExCup champion… TOUR rookie Cameron Young sits ninth in the FedExCup standings after an incredibly impressive first TOUR campaign that includes seven top-3 finishes, including a runner-up at The Open and T3 at the PGA Championship… Hideki Matsuyama and Sam Burns, who lost in the playoffs at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational played at TPC Southwind last year, are back looking for a little more magic at Memphis. Burns and Matsuyama are No. 3 and 10 respectively in the FedExCup standings. Burns has three wins this season while Matsuyama has two… Keep an eye out for Daniel Berger this week. Berger, who is projected 79th in the FedExCup standings, loves TPC Southwind. He won there in 2016 and 2017 and finished T2 in 2019 and T5 last season when the event was elevated to World Golf Championship status… Justin Thomas, who is eighth in the FedExCup standings after winning his second PGA Championship, is another recent TPC. The winner of Southwind (2020) who is set to make a comeback… The 125 golfers eligible for the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs will be determined after the final round of the Wyndham Championship on Sunday… Rory McIlroy, who is looking to become the first three-time champion of the FedExCup, plays for the first time since a heartbreaking Open final. He ranks sixth in the FedExCup.

FEDEXCUP: The winner receives 2,000 FedExCup points.

CLASSES: TPC Southwind, par 70, 7,243 yards. The Ron Prichard design was established in 1988, with Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller as player consultants. This is TPC Southwind’s first time hosting a FedExCup Playoffs event. The course features Bermuda greens, numerous streams, ponds and lakes, and rolling zoysia fairways. In last season’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the course played with an average score of nearly 1 under, at 69.05.

STORY LINES: The FedEx St. Jude Championship is the first of three FedExCup playoff events…Only the top 70 in the FedExCup standings after the FedEx St. Jude Championship will continue to the BMW Championship…No golfer has ever won the FedExCup consecutively. years back. Last season’s winner Patrick Cantlay is in a strong position ahead of Memphis at No. 5. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are the only two FedExCup winners… The FedExCup winner will earn $18 million… How about you of the summer sizzle of Tony Finau? Finau, who is looking to become the first person to successfully defend his title in the FedExCup Qualifiers opener, enters the FedExCup Qualifiers after winning the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in consecutive weeks. He was the first TOUR golfer to win two weeks in a row since Brendon Todd in 2019.

RECORD 72 HOLES: 254, Dustin Johnson (2020 – TPC Boston)

RECORD TPC WIND SOUTH: 264, Brooks Koepka (2019), Abraham Ancer (2021), Hideki Matsuyama (2021), Sam Burns (2021).

RECORD 18 HOLES: 60, Dustin Johnson (Second round, 2020 – TPC Boston)

RECORD TPC WIND SOUTH: 61, Tom Lewis (third round, 2020), Bob Estes (first round, 2001), Jay Delsing (fourth round, 1993).

LAST TIME: Tony Finau came out of a five-year winless drought to win Game 1 of the FedExCup Playoffs last season in extra holes against Cameron Smith. Finau rode a 5-under number 12-16 run in the back nine on Sunday to move up the leaderboard. He nailed a 6-foot tester for par on the 72nd hole to bring it down to 20 under for the week. Smith birdied back-to-back on 12 and 13 and again on 16 and 17 but couldn’t convert a 20-footer to birdie on the par-4 18. Smith and Finau only played one extra hole, as Smith’s drive was so wild it went through the retaining wall that separates Liberty National from the Hudson River. Finau had an easy game, and the trophy was his. Jon Rahm, the 54-hole point guard, finished third at 18 under. He was firmly in the mix late on Sunday but bogeyed numbers 15 and 18 to fall out of the race. Alex Noren, Tom Hoge and Justin Thomas complete the top five.

Keith Mitchell had a clutch finish as he looked to earn his place in the second elimination round. Ranked 101st in the FedExCup standings, he birdied his last three holes in the final round to tie for eighth and moved up to 63rd.


HOW TO FOLLOW (Every hour ET)

Television: Thursday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 12 p.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)

Radio: Thursday to Friday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)

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