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2022 St. Jude Championship leaderboard: J.J. Spaun maintains one-stroke lead heading into weekend action

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TPC Southwind is slowly drying out as fierce thunderstorms blew through the Memphis area on Tuesday. While players were able to take advantage of the soft conditions in the first round, Friday was a different story as the typically firm and fast conditions of the course began to bite back.

While the playing conditions may have changed, the man who was up to the task remained the same. Overnight leader J.J. Spaun will sleep on the lead once again, as the Texas Open winner will head into the weekend at 11 under and a one-stroke lead over Sepp Straka and Troy Merritt. Spaun backed up his scorching round of 8-under 62 to kick off the St. Jude Championship with a 3-under 67 Friday afternoon to maintain his edge over the field.

Straka was the man to climb the leaderboard in the morning hours of the second round, as he followed up an opening 6-under 64 with a second-round 66. A winner at the Honda Classic earlier this season, the former Georgia Bulldog has since struggled to find such quality and arrived in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, having missed the cut in his last six tournaments.

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Behind the three men in double-digits under par are some of the hottest players in the world. Tony Finau sits at 8 under and looks to become the first man since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win in three straight starts. Also sitting at 8 under is the Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith, who will look to avenge his 72nd-hole disappointment at TPC Southwind from a year ago.

The leader

1. J.J. Spaun (-11)

Some may believe the true lead of this tournament resides with those at 8 under, but Spaun should have some staying power on this leaderboard. Collecting his first career victory at TPC San Antonio in the spring, the Los Angeles native displayed serious resolve down the stretch and throughout his tenure on the PGA Tour.

He has gotten around TPC Southwind in a relatively stress-free fashion up to this point as well. Carding 13 birdies against just two bogeys, he has been able to limit the damage and understands when missing a fairway that par is a good score. Sitting fifth in strokes gained tee to green and fourth in strokes gained putting, it is no wonder he finds himself at the top of the leaderboard and in contention for his second trophy of the season.

Other contenders

T2. Sepp Straka, Troy Merritt (-10)

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4. Denny McCarthy (-9)

T5. Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Cameron Smith, Ryan Palmer (-8)

Technically, Finau is the defending champion, as he broke a five-year hiatus from the winner’s circle with a victory at The Northern Trust, but let’s change gears. Another player to have made headlines recently is Smith, who is rumored — to put it lightly — to be heading to the LIV Golf Series following the completion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The Australian has been terrific in 2022 as he dueled Jon Rahm at the Tournament of Champions, grabbed the largest purse of the season at the Players Championship and captured the Claret Jug at St. Andrews. Smith will enter the weekend as the betting favorite as he catapulted himself to the first page of the leaderboard courtesy of an eagle on the par-5 16th. Having already collected just shy of $10 million in the regular season, he has now positioned himself to potentially triple that total with a strong postseason run. 

Scheffler, McIlroy lowlight those sent packing early

Beginning the week with more than a 1,000-point edge in the FedEx Cup, Scottie Scheffler is in danger of relinquishing the top spot in the standings. In possession of the lead for more than 20 weeks, the world No. 1 may see a different number next to his name at the BMW Championship after missing the cut at TPC Southwind.

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Last season saw Collin Morikawa enter the postseason as the top man, only for him to fall to 28th by the time the Tour Championship culminated. At the very worst, Scheffler will only drop to No. 2, and he may avoid such movement as his misstep was not the only one.

Fresh off a two-week break from golf, Rory McIlroy showed considerable rust around TPC Southwind. Signing for rounds of 70-69, the man who entered the week sixth in the FedEx Cup standings ultimately missed the cut by a single stroke and will have his work cut out for him next week if he is to enter the Tour Championship within reach of the leader.

The good news for McIlroy is world No. 1 and FedEx Cup regular-season leader Scheffler is not in a position to extend his lead. With potentially a new man atop the standings, the world No. 3 can take solace in his history at East Lake, where he has raised the FedEx Cup twice before.

In total, six players inside the top 20 of the FedEx Cup standings will not be around for the weekend, as Hideki Matsuyama (No. 11), Jordan Spieth (No. 15), Tom Hoge (No. 17) and Billy Horschel (No. 18) will head to Wilmington earlier than expected.

Biggest FedEx Cup movers from Friday

Lucas Glover

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121

60

Yes

Ryan Palmer

110

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57

Yes

Troy Merritt

64

17

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Yes

Tyler Duncan

118

75

No

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Sepp Straka

35

10

Yes

James Hahn

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108

83

No

Adam Scott

77

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53

Yes

Brian Harman

55

32

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Yes

J.J. Spaun

25

2

Yes

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Lee Hodges

99

77

No

2022 St. Jude Championship updated odds and picks

  • Cameron Smith: 23/4
  • Tony Finau: 13/2
  • J.J. Spaun: 17/2
  • Troy Merritt: 10-1
  • Denny McCarthy: 14-1
  • Justin Thomas: 14-1
  • Matt Fitzpatrick: 14-1
  • Sepp Straka: 16-1
  • Will Zalatoris: 18-1
  • Sam Burns: 20-1
  • Brian Harman: 20-1

With 26 players within five strokes of the lead, this remains anyone’s ballgame with 36 holes to be played. We saw last year with Bryson DeChambeau and Harris English that TPC Southwind can be a difficult golf course to close on, as the water hazards tend to get ever so slightly bigger when the pressure is on. Factor in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and this should be ramped up a touch. Because of this, it may be prudent to search among those names at 5 under — or maybe even 4 under. 

Jon Rahm is the obvious name, as he is one of those at 4 under and listed at 40-1. Ranking seventh in strokes gained tee to green, the Spaniard has been unable to get things rolling on the greens and has a trio of three putts to his name already. The putter has been an issue all season, but it could be worth an investment. If not Rahm, Rickie Fowler is still a name which is still intriguing at 300-1. He is a long shot for a reason, but his off-the-tee numbers have been incredible and his approach statistics are negatively skewed by two iron shots that found the water on Friday. Everything else looks good in his game, and he has shown a liking for TPC Southwind in the past.

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3 NFL Teams Who Got Much Needed Wins In Week 4

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(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

 

Things are already tight in the NFL with week four coming to a close.

With the wild week nearly behind us, there’s been some shake-ups with teams in the NFL.

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Some used the week to climb in the standings, while others maintained their leads.

As week four comes to a close on Monday night, which three teams got much needed wins during this past week?

 

3. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals opened the week dangerously close to becoming 1-3.

However, the team was lucky to escape their Thursday night game with a victory against the Miami Dolphins.

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They did everything right, as their defense came away with two critical interceptions.

Vonn Bell‘s second interception ended the Dolphins’ drive to go ahead late in the fourth quarter.

But that wasn’t the only thing the Bengals got right on Thursday night.

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Their offensive line did a great job of protecting quarterback Joe Burrow.

As they only allowed one sack of Burrow, it helped keep the game close and their QB upright.

The win, which puts them at 2-2, puts them in a three-way tie in the AFC North.

After a poor start, the win gives them hope to contend in the AFC North with the Ravens and Browns.

 

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2. Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings came into their London game against the New Orleans Saints needing a win.

While they were 2-1, winning against the Saints gives them the top spot in the NFC North.

Their dramatic win over the Saints now puts them at 3-1, as they lead the NFC North via a tiebreaker with the Green Bay Packers.

During the game, the Vikings got everything they needed from their new top receiver, Justin Jefferson.

The young star finished with ten receptions for 147 yards while getting a rushing TD on a three yard run.

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That touchdown run gave the Vikings the lead and helped them win that game.

Now the Vikings head home to face the Chicago Bears for week five of the season.

 

1. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills came into the 2022 season with all the hype behind them.

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They were the favorites to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC.

However, they almost left Baltimore with a 2-2 record, something the Super Bowl favorites didn’t need.

While the Bills secondary is dealing with injuries, they still picked off Lamar Jackson twice in the second half.

One of those interceptions gave the Bills the win, as they prevented Jackson from scoring in the red zone.

Their goal line stand with under five minutes in the fourth quarter made an enormous difference.

Had they allowed the Ravens to score, they might have lost the game.

However, the win puts them tied with the Miami Dolphins.

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While the Dolphins own the tiebreaker, the Dolphins losing Tua Tagovailoa to a head injury gives the Bills a chance to get back on top of the AFC East.

With the Bills at 3-1, they can continue to appear as Super Bowl contenders.

But if they would have lost, people might have thought the Bills were simply pretenders.

The post 3 NFL Teams Who Got Much Needed Wins In Week 4 appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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James Wiseman Gave Warriors A Preview Of How He Can Help Them

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(Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)

 

On Friday, the NBA’s first preseason game of the new season took place between the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards in Tokyo.

The game itself was rather ugly, as one may expect a preseason game to be – both teams shot under 37 percent, with the Warriors winning 96-87.

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Klay Thompson didn’t play, while Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins went a combined 2-of-18 from the field.

However, the notable aspect of the contest was the play of center James Wiseman, who played in his first NBA game since suffering a knee injury late in the 2020-21 season.

Coming off the bench, he played 24 minutes and put up 20 points and nine rebounds.

It was a glimpse of how he can help the Warriors be even more unstoppable this season.

 

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Wiseman Is The Big Man The Warriors Have Always Needed

During the Curry era, the Warriors have won four world championships, but they have always been mediocre or even weak in the middle.

Their starting centers over the last eight years have been unremarkable men such as Andrew Bogut, Zaza Pachulia and Kevon Looney, all of whom did little more than grab a few rebounds, set some picks and play some defense.

Wiseman can do all that and then some.

He is a strong scorer inside the paint, as he is capable of throwing down strong dunks in the face of a defender.

His nine rebounds is proof he can help Golden State limit teams to one shot, which is one of the big keys to their deadly transition game.

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Speaking of its transition game, Wiseman can get out on the fast break and finish.

On Saturday, the Warriors and Wizards faced off again, and Wiseman didn’t play well, going just 2-of-7 from the floor for eight points and three rebounds and 18 minutes.

But he did flash another aspect of his game by hitting a 3-pointer.

As a rookie during the 2020-21 season, Wiseman didn’t shoot well from downtown, hitting just 31.6 percent from that distance, but it’s a part of his game he could improve on.

The Warriors have never really had an inside threat offensively over the past several years, as they’ve been primarily a perimeter-oriented team that relies on lots of screens and ball movement to create good looks in their set offense.

But with Wiseman posting up on occasion and being a threat to catch the ball and finish in the paint, it could get Curry and Thompson easier looks from 3-point land.

 

Wiseman Can Help Extend Golden State’s Championship Window

Curry is 34 while Thompson and Draymond Green are both 32, and while none of them are old, head coach Steve Kerr needs to start thinking about conserving them a bit during the regular season.

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The best way to do so is to rely more on younger players, especially offensively.

Wiseman is not going to score a lot of points, at least during this phase of his career, but by having the occasional 20-point game, as he did on Friday, he can allow Curry, Thompson and Green to coast a little more, which would allow them to stay fresh for the playoffs and perhaps even add an extra year to their respective primes.

The post James Wiseman Gave Warriors A Preview Of How He Can Help Them appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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MLB Team of the Season: Ohtani, Judge, Alvarez, Betts lead list

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Ben Verlander wraps up the 2022 MLB season with his Team of the Season, choosing the best of the best at each position the entire year.



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