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FedEx St. Jude Classic

Tournament Preview

It's the calm before the storm starting Thursday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, as some of the PGA's top players hope to fine tune their games with the US Open looming just a week away.

Last year's champion Dustin Johnson leads a field in hot pursuit of the $5.7 million purse on the par 70, 7,239-yard TPC Southwind course.

Among those teeing off early Thursday morning are Phil Mickelson, hoping to refind his stroke after taking the last month off following is grisly performance at the PLAYERS Championship at Sawgrass that saw him miss the cut on the heels of a tie for 54th at the Masters in mid-April.

Johnson fired a 9-under 271 in 2012 to take the victory. The tournament record belongs to American John Cook, who was 26-under in 1996.

Two-time winner David Toms (2005, 2008) is in the field along with Johnson, and Brandt Snedeker, who has shimmied up to No. 3 on the money list with six top 10 finishes in 11 events so far this season.

06/06/13, Thursday

American Davis Love III will be 50 in less than a year's time, but he looked like a young pup at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday, firing a4-under 66 to sit atop the leaderboard with five other players.

Love counteracted three bogeys with seven birdies, including two on the final three holes to tie for the lead. For one day at least, the 49-year-old turned back the clock in a year where he has otherwise struggled, finishing in the money just twice out of six events and currently 217th on the PGA Tour money list.

Love shares the lead with fellow Americans Glen Day, Harris English and Martin Flores, and Australia's Nathan Green and Stuart Appleby. Green was the most consistent of the bunch on Thursday, going the entire round without a bogey.

Defending St. Jude champion Dustin Johnson was one of 11 players a shot off the lead at 3-under. The 28-year-old native of South Carolina got off to a dazzling start, sitting 5-under through seven holes, thanks in large part to an eagle on No. 3, but then hit three bogeys in a five-hole span to come back down to earth.

Phil Mickelson, the biggest name in the field, shot a 1-over 71 and is tied for 78th, five strokes off the lead. Mickelson birdied the first three holes in succession and was still 3-under through 10 before melting down at the end of his round with a sequence of bogey, double bogey, bogey on holes 15-17.

Since debuting his new bag of clubs at the Masters in mid-April, Mickelson has been wildly inconsistent, finishing 54th at Augusta, third at Wells Fargo then missing the cut at the Players Championship.

06/07/13, Friday

Harris English got off to one of the hottest starts of his career and it carried him to a 2-stroke lead at the second round of the St. Jude Classic on Friday.

English birdied the first three holes and added an eagle on No. 5 that found the cup from 181 yards away.

He went on to birdie 15 and 16 before a bogey on No. 18 ruined an otherwise flawless 6-under 64 that gave him a 2-stroke lead over fellow American Shawn Stefani.

English started the day in a six-way tie for first at 4-under, but quickly made tracks to take command of the lead, the first time he has been the sole leader on the PGA tour in his short career.

The 23-year-old graduated of the University of Georgia is two strokes ahead of Shawn Stefani, who hit five birdies on the day.

That pair has a bit of space on the next group, Paul Haley II and Scott Stallings tied for third at 5-under after each co-leader from Thursday hit a 2-under 68 on Friday.

Stallings had a roller-coaster round, starting with three birdies, then hitting a double bogey on No. 11, then having a stretch from 13-17 of birdie, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey.

Forty-nine-year old Davis Love III, one of six co-leaders on Thursday, hit a par 70 on Friday to stay at 4-under, one of five players tied for fifth.

Phil Mickelson improved on his 1-over 71 from Thursday with a 3-under 67 to tie for 22nd place at 2-under. Mickelon hit three birdies on the back nine.

06/08/13, Saturday

With one of the most bizarre rounds you'll ever see, PGA rookie Shawn Stefani took a 1-stroke lead into the final day of the St. Jude Classic on Saturday.

Stefani fired eight birdies and a quadruple bogey 7 on No. 11 to wind up 4-under for the day, allowing him to slip past Day 2 leader Harris English to sit atop the board at 12-under.

After the disaster on No. 11, Stefani birdied 14, 16, 17 and 18 to fight his way back in front.

English was hampered by a pair of birdies on the front nine but still shot 1-under for the day to finish three days at 11-under. Five other players are within five strokes of the lead, including a resurgent Phil Mickelson.

Paterick Reed started the day in 22nd place, but ended it tied with Nicholas Thompson and Scott Stallings for third after firing a 6-under 64, the best round of the day.

Reed was 4-under through eight, then struggled with a pair of back-to-back bogeys before closing his round with two birdies and an eagle in the last four holes.

After being 1-over on the first day, Mickelson had a wild front nine, with two bogeys, three birdies and an eagle to hit the turn 3-under. He added three more birdies on the back nine to reach 7-under for the tournament.
 
06/09/13, Sunday


Youth came before experience on Sunday afternoon at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, as 23-year-old Harris English won his first PGA Tour event by two strokes over Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings.

In a round where he had five bogeys nearly offset his six birdies, English was clutch down the stretch with four birdies on the back nine, including a 17-footer on No. 17 that, combined with Stallings bogey on No. 18, sealed the victory and delivered the University of Georgia graduated a winning check worth $1.026 million.

The 28-year-old Stallings, who has notched three top 5 finishes in a row, seemed in control on Sunday when he took a three-stroke lead to the turn after English bogeyed both No. 8 and 9.

But his closing charge was more of an all-out retreat. After five straight pars, he double bogeyed No. 15, got a stroke back with a birdie on 16, but then bogeyed 18 to fall off the pace.

English finished the weekend with a 66-64-69-69 - 268. He started the day one stroke behind leader Shawn Stefani, whose game left him completely Sunday as he struggled to a 6-over 76. It was pretty much over for Stefani by the turn after he bogeyed 1, 8 and 9, but he made sure of that fact by opening the back nine with bogeys on 10 and 12 and a double on 14.

Mickelson, 1-over after Thursday, fired a 3-under 67 on Sunday with three birdies in the final five holes to make things interesting late.

Day One co-leader Davis Love III, 49, shot a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 4-under, tied for 18th. Love was done in by a pair of double bogeys on Sunday or he might have made a late push as well.

Tournament Recap

Youth came before experience on Sunday afternoon at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, as 23-year-old Harris English won his first PGA Tour event by two strokes over Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings.

In a round where he had five bogeys nearly offset his six birdies, English was clutch down the stretch with four birdies on the back nine, including a 17-footer on No. 17 that, combined with Stallings bogey on No. 18, sealed the victory and delivered the University of Georgia graduated a winning check worth $1.026 million.

The 28-year-old Stallings, who has notched three top 5 finishes in a row, seemed in control on Sunday when he took a three-stroke lead to the turn after English bogeyed both No. 8 and 9.

But his closing charge was more of an all-out retreat. After five straight pars, he double bogeyed No. 15, got a stroke back with a birdie on 16, but then bogeyed 18 to fall off the pace.

English finished the weekend with a 66-64-69-69 - 268. He started the day one stroke behind leader Shawn Stefani, whose game left him completely Sunday as he struggled to a 6-over 76. It was pretty much over for Stefani by the turn after he bogeyed 1, 8 and 9, but he made sure of that fact by opening the back nine with bogeys on 10 and 12 and a double on 14.

Mickelson, 1-over after Thursday, fired a 3-under 67 on Sunday with three birdies in the final five holes to make things interesting late.

Day One co-leader Davis Love III, 49, shot a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 4-under, tied for 18th. Love was done in by a pair of double bogeys on Sunday or he might have made a late push as well.

 

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