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On the course: Justin Thomas takes it

By , Daily Memphian Updated: August 26, 2020 10:04 AM CT | Published: July 30, 2020 1:28 PM CT

One day after setting the course record, England’s Tom Lewis stayed red hot on the front nine Sunday at TPC Southwind, and Jon Rahm shot his best round of the tournament.


August 02, 2020

Justin Thomas moves into the lead halfway through Sunday’s final

4:13 PM CT, August 2

With nine holes left to play at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Justin Thomas has moved into the lead.

The 27-year-old native of Louisville made the turn at 4-under 31 to move to 12-under for the tournament. He leads 54-hole leader Brendon Todd and defending champion Brooks Koepka by a stroke.

Thomas is the current leader in the FedEx Cup Standings and currently stands third in the world rankings behind Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy. The 2018 winner in Memphis has come from behind in four of his 12 career Tour victories, with the biggest being a four-stroke deficit he overcame to win the CIMB in Malaysia in 2016.

He entered Sunday’s play four strokes behind Todd. 

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England’s Lewis making a charge

3:32 PM CT, August 2

One day after setting the course record, England’s Tom Lewis stayed red hot on the front nine Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 at TPC Southwind.

Lewis entered Saturday’s play at 3-over for the tournament but proceeded to tie the course record with a 61 that moved him to 6-under. He shares the record with Jay Delsing and Bob Estes.

On Sunday, the 29-year-old then birdied five holes on the front nine Sunday to make the turn at 5-under for the day and 11-under for the tournament. He trailed 54-hole leader Brendon Todd by a stroke.

Lewis, who is 67th in the world rankings, has never won on the PGA Tour since turning professional in 2011. He earned his Tour card for the 2019-20 season after winning the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in September. 

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Jon Rahm closes on a strong note

3:16 PM CT, August 2

It wasn’t the week Jon Rahm wanted. But at least it had a positive ending.

Rahm, who was playing his after reaching No. 1 in the world rankings, shot his best round of the tournament Sunday, Aug. 2 at TPC Southwind. After entering play at 5-over, he carded a 66 to finish the tournament at 1-over.

The 25-year-old Spaniard, who is the fifth-youngest player in history to reach the top spot, bogeyed No. 2 and No. 5, but offset those with birdies on three, four, nine, 12, 15 and 16. The one on 12 came courtesy of a nifty 26-foot putt.

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Saturday by-the-numbers at TPC Southwind

2:11 PM CT, August 2

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Saturday’s third round of play at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.

1: There was only one bogey-free round on Saturday as Canada’s Corey Conners finished with a 66. For the week, there have been seven bogey-free rounds, all by different players.

4.397: Stroke average for the par-4 No. 17, the toughest hole of the third round.

4.397: Also the stroke average for the par-5 No. 16, the easiest hole of the third round.

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August 01, 2020

Mickelson makes a move

3:06 PM CT, August 1

The oldest player in the field made a move up the leaderboard Saturday afternoon at TPC-Southwind.

Phil Mickelson carded a 32 on the front nine and followed up with two birdies in his first five holes on the back to move to 7-under for the tournament, five shots behind leader Rickie Fowler.

Lefty bogeyed No. 2 but easily offset that with birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 8 and 9. He bogeyed No. 10 but birdied on 12 and 14. For the day, he birdied three of the four par-3s.

At age 50 and in the twilight of a remarkable career, Mickelson is without question one of the finest golfers ever to touch a club. His 44 career victories rank ninth all-time in PGA history, and his five majors include three Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), one PGA (2005) and one Open Championship (2013). He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Joel Dahmen making a Saturday push

1:55 PM CT, August 1

Joel Dahmen made a surge early Saturday at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, possibly putting himself in contention for his first career victory on the PGA Tour.

The 31-year-old from Washington State carded a blistering 31 on the front nine, which ended with birdies on the final three holes. He added two birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to move to 6-under for the day and 7-under for the tournament.

After one season at the University of Washington, Dahmen went pro in 2010 and scuffled around on the Canadian Tour without much success for the first three years. However, he won twice in 2014 to capture the Order of Merit and gain his Web.com Tour card for the 2015 season.

Dahmen’s personal story is an inspiring one that may resonate with the patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In his junior year of high school, his mother died from pancreatic cancer. Shortly thereafter, his brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Dahmen himself was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011.

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By the numbers: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

12:51 PM CT, August 1

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Friday’s second-round action from TPC-Southwind.

1: Number of bogeys made by Chez Reavie, Xander Schauffele and Brendon Todd through 36 holes, tied for the lowest among all competitors. 

4.282: Stroke average for the par-4 No. 5, Friday’s toughest hole.

4.654: Stroke average for the par-5 No. 16, Friday’s easiest hole.

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July 31, 2020

Saturday’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational tee times

3:42 PM CT, July 31

Here are the tee times for Saturday’s third round of play at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.

First tee

10 a.m.: Cameron Champ; Mackenzie Hughes; Nick Taylor

10:10 a.m.: Max Homa; Danny Willett; Hideki Matsuyama

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Good day for Byeong-Hun An

12:22 PM CT, July 31

Friday was a good day for Byeong-Hun An.

The 28-year-old put himself in the mix for his first PGA Tour victory by shooting 5-under 65 to improve to 7-under for the tournament. He birdied four holes on the back nine to finish with a 31, more than offsetting a bogey on No. 1.

An, a 28-year-old from Seoul, South Korea, played at UC-Berkeley and turned professional in 2011. He won on the European Tour, the Challenge Tour and the Korean Tour, and has been involved in two playoffs on the PGA Tour, losing to Brian Stuard at the Zurich Classic in 2016 and to Bryson DeChambeau at the Memorial in 2018.

An comes from an athletic family but not a golfing one. Both of his parents medaled in table tennis at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

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Brendon Todd charges into lead at TPC Southwind

11:11 AM CT, July 31

Brendon Todd has charged into the lead during the second round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC-Southwind.

After opening with a 6-under 64 on Thursday, Todd moved to 10-under through 14 holes on Friday. He had a two-stroke cushion over first-round leader Brooks Koepka, who was even through 11 holes on Friday after opening with an 8-under 62.

A 35-year-old Pittsburgh native, Todd played collegiately at Georgia and has three career victories on the PGA Tour. Two of those came within a span of three weeks in November 2019, when he captured the Bermuda Championship and the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Cancun, Mexico.

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Rahm’s got work to do

10:01 AM CT, July 31

Spaniard Jon Rahm made his debut as the No. 1 player in the world Thursday at TPC-Southwind and, admittedly, it wasn’t a great performance.

The 25-year-old finished at even-par 70 and is eight strokes back of leader Brooks Koepka heading into the second round. “I certainly didn’t play like No. 1 in the world,” he said.

Rahm can perhaps take heart in the fact that playing your first tournament as the top-ranked player hasn’t always gone smoothly for others, either. In fact, of the past 22 to do so, only five have managed to win: Ian Woosnam (1991 Masters); David Duval (1999 BellSouth Classic); Vijay Singh (2004 RBC Canadian Open); Adam Scott (2014 Charles Schwab Challenge) and Dustin Johnson (2017 WGC-Mexico Championship).

And Rahm can buck himself up with this: He’s the fifth-youngest in history to reach No. 1. The only golfers younger were Tiger Woods (1997); Jordan Spieth (2015); Rory McIlroy (2012) and Justin Thomas (2018). 

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DeChambeau, the gift that keeps giving

9:58 AM CT, July 31

Whether you like Bryson DeChambeau or not — and there are plenty in both camps — it’s hard to deny the 26-year-old Californian isn't entertaining.

During Thursday’s first round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, he went viral after a lengthy discussion with an official about whether he could take a drop without penalty because fire ants were near his ball.

Later in the day, Twitter offered up some quotes from an article in GQ magazine that addressed the golfer’s newfound bulk. Since September 2019, DeChambeau has put on 40 pounds, which has helped him get longer off the tee. The interview, however, points to another reason for the interest in fitness and nutrition.

“I mean, my goal is to live to be 130 or 140,” he said. “I really think it’s possible now with today’s technology. I think somebody’s going to do it in the next 30 or 40 years.”

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WGC-FedEx by the numbers

10:05 AM CT, July 31

Here are some facts and figures from the early going at TPC-Southwind.

1: Xander Schauffele recorded the only bogey-free round on Thursday, finishing at 2-under 68.

3: The number of leaders or co-leaders who have gone on to win on the PGA Tour this season. The most recent was Collin Morikawa at the Workday Charity Open earlier this month.

4: Four Canadian golfers are playing in Memphis this week, the most of any WGC event. Those players probably wishing the weather was more like what they’re used to back home are Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes and Nick Taylor.

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July 30, 2020

DeChambeau has ants in the pants

5:12 PM CT, July 30

Depending on how you view him, Bryson DeChambeau provided a moment of high, or low, comedy during Thursday’s opening round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.

Playing on hole No. 7 after starting his day on the back nine, DeChambeau hit his ball on to a tree root and spent considerable time trying to convince a marshal to allow him a penalty-free drop.

The reason? DeChambeau said ants were too close to the ball.

After a lengthy discussion, his request was denied, and he went on to double-bogey the par-4 hole. He ended the day at 3-under 67.

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Three tied at 5-under at TPC Southwind

3:19 PM CT, July 30

Three golfers are at 5-under as first-round play continues Thursday at TPC-Southwind.

Korea’s Sung Kang, Bryson DeChambeau and Brendon Todd all shared the lead at that number.

Kang, 33, has won once on the PGA Tour, shooting a sizzling 23-under 261 at last year’s AT&T Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas. Todd won twice in a span of three weeks in November 2019, taking the Bermuda Championship and the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Cancun, Mexico.

Those three were ahead of a group at 4-under: defending tournament champ Brooks Koepka, Chez Reavie and Rickie Fowler. 

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Reavie sizzles on the front nine

2:26 PM CT, July 30

Chez Reavie turned in a superb front nine Thursday, shooting 4-under 31 to take a share of the lead with defending champ Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

The 38-year-old Kansan birdied the third, fifth, sixth and ninth holes to claim his place atop the leaderboard with Koepka, who opened his round with four straight birdies, and DeChambeau, who was 4-under through eight.

Reavie has two career PGA victories, at the RBC Canadian Open in 2008 and at the Travelers Championship last year.

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Fowler, South Korea’s An off to strong starts at TPC Southwind

1:27 PM CT, July 30

Fan favorite Rickie Fowler and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An got off to a strong start early in Thursday’s opening round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

On a cooler-than-normal afternoon, Fowler and An jumped to early leads at 3-under. Fowler’s total was through six holes; An’s was through three.

The duo was ahead of several players at 2-under, including Fowler’s playing partner, Bryson DeChambeau; Phil Mickelson; Chez Reavie; and Australia’s Marc Leishman, who finished tied for third at Memphis in 2019.

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Patients’ artwork on display this week

2:11 PM CT, July 30

Due to restrictions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, patients from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital won’t be in attendance as normal at this week’s tournament. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be well-represented.

Several patients have contributed artwork that will be featured on players’ gear throughout the tournament. The art is focused on inspirational themes such as Hope, Believe and Life.

FootJoy-sponsored players Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson, Cameron Smith and Justin Thomas will wear designs created by individual patients Ally, Caleb, Dakota and Nate, respectively, on their spikes.

Shoes featuring a collection of all of the designs will be worn by Ian Poulter, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Max Homa, Billy Horschel and others.

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Calkins: The best seat in the house

4:00 AM CT, July 30

When the pandemic hit, when everyone was told to stay inside, Rick Gardner took out his hammer and electric saw and got to work.

“He was in the garage for hours and hours,” said Alexandra Gardner, Rick’s wife.


Contrast in fortunes as Koepka, Simpson ready for WGC-St. Jude


The hours and hours turned into days and days.

“I don’t want to think about how long I was in there,” said Rick, who happens to be an architect.

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Topics

PGA TOUR World Golf Championship FedEx St. Jude TPC Southwind golf

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