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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
St. Jude Classic experts' picks


Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: St. Jude Classic, in Memphis.


Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Jeff Maggert. He has played in this event 14 times, winning in 2006. He had a great week at the Players Championship (second) followed by a missed cut at the Byron Nelson. At 49 years old, he needed a couple of weeks off to recover, but expect a refreshed and rejuvenated Maggert to have a very nice week.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Dustin Johnson. On a tough TPC Southwind course in 2012, Johnson made it look easy with rounds of 70-68-67-66 for a 9-under total. In 2012, Southwind was the most difficult non-major par-70 course on the PGA Tour. With his length, Johnson can tame the 7,239-yard Ron Prichard-designed course.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Boo Weekley. He took last week off after registering the third victory of his PGA Tour career, where he surpassed third-round leader Matt Kuchar to claim the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The win helped get Weekley into next week's U.S. Open.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Russell Henley. If there is one rookie I'd expect to play well at this course, this would be the guy. He ranks eighth on tour in strokes gained putting, and he got his second sixth-place finish of the year last week to go along with his win at Sony.

Evans: Scott Stallings. The Knoxville, Tenn., native has had two consecutive top-five finishes on tour. Last week, on his way to a tie for fourth at the Memorial, he had five straight birdies on his front nine.

Harig: Dustin Johnson. He's only played TPC Southwind during the 2012 tournament, but he looked pretty good in doing so, winning the tournament. Johnson, however, has struggled with injuries of late, failing to finish an event since the Masters.


Super Sleeper

Collins: Robert Allenby. I know we haven't heard from him in a while, but he has three top-10s and a tie for 13th the past four times he's played this event (not counting a withdraw in 2010). With only two made cuts in 15 events on tour this year, he's a Super Duper Sleeper.

Evans: Casey Wittenberg. The 28-year-old former U.S. Amateur runner-up has missed his past three cuts since he tied for eighth at the Players, but as a Memphis native he knows TPC Southwind better than most of the players in the field.

Harig: Robert Karlsson. The Swede has found some form again after issues last summer with driver yips. He has lost twice in the playoffs at this tournament and on Monday advanced through sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open.


Winner

Collins: John Rollins. Of the 11 cuts he's made this year, Rollins has finished outside the top 25 just twice. He's coming off a fourth-place finish at Colonial, his first top-10 of 2013, and this course has a similar feel and there will be similar weather conditions. Career win No. 4 comes this week.

Evans: Phil Mickelson. Lefty loves to play the week before a major, and Memphis gives him a good chance to sharpen his game heading into Merion. He's coming off a missed cut in the Players, and it's been more than two months since he broke 70 on the weekend. So he's aiming to put four good rounds together.

Harig: Josh Teater. He's been on leaderboards a good bit lately and has managed to survive 36-hole qualifiers for the Open Championship (medalist) and the U.S Open (tied for second) along the way. If he's not exhausted at this point, Teater is in good form with his first major championship coming up next week.