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The final leaderboard for the 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee is in. 23-year-old Daniel Berger cruised to a three stroke victory over runners-up Brooks Koepka, Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson for his first PGA Tour title. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Daniel Berger (-13)
(T2) Brooks Koepka (-10)
(T2) Steve Stricker (-10)
(T2) Phil Mickelson (-10)
(5) Dustin Johnson (-9)
(6) Brian Gay (-8)
(T7) Russell Henley (-7)
(T7) Seung-Yul Noh (-7)
(T9) Shawn Stefani (-6)
(T9) Ken Duke (-6)
(T9) Brett Stegmaier (-6)
Here are my thoughts on the champion and some notables near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Daniel Berger (-13) – This is Berger’s first win on the PGA Tour; he has had several close calls before, namely at the 2015 Honda Classic (lost in a playoff) and the 2015 BMW Championship (solo second). This 2015-2016 season he has finished inside the top 10 at the Players, Shell Houston Open and Franklin Templeton Shootout. He has only missed three cuts this season which is pretty impressive for a Tour rookie. Here are his previous five finishes: 67 (Memorial), T9 (PLAYERS), T17 (Wells Fargo), T20 (Zurich Classic), T10 (Masters). This was his first start at the St. Jude Classic — I think it speaks a lot to his talent and potential that he’s so young and was able to pull it off with no previous course experience. I can definitely see this guy winning again this year; it will be interesting to see how he performs next week at the U.S. Open and beyond.
Final round: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 3-under 67. Scores in regulation: 67, 64, 69, 67 (267).
Steve Stricker (-10) – This would have been Stricker’s 13th Tour win and first since the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. It’s quite remarkable how he continues to do so well in tournaments given his age (he turns 50 next February) and limited playing schedule. He has one other top-10 this season: a T7 at the Valspar in March. Stricker has not played the St. Jude Classic since 2006, when he finished T28 (and T44 in 2005). Two weeks ago Stricker finished T47 at the DEAN & DELUCA. He may not play the U.S. Open next week due to it being him and his wife Nicki’s anniversary.
Final round: 4 birdies and 1 bogey for a 3-under 67. Scores in regulation: 66, 71, 66, 67 (270).
Phil Mickelson (-10) – Phil the thrill appears to have rounded into form for next week’s U.S. Open. This is Mickelson’s fifth top-5 finish of the 2015-2016 season. His previous three Tour starts prior to this week saw finishes of T20 (Memorial), MC (Players) and T4 (Wells Fargo). He has missed four cuts this season including at the Masters. He has very good history at TPC Southwind with finishes of T3 in 2015, T11 in 2014 and T2 in 2013. Can Mickelson secure the Grand Slam for himself next week? It would be quite the story, and it does look like he’s in the form to do it.
Final round: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 3-under 67. Take away the bogeys on 2 and 9, add in the 9-footer for birdie on 17 and he would have made a playoff! Scores in regulation: 70, 65, 68, 67 (270).