Daniel Berger fired a final round 66 to successfully defend his title at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He finished one clear of South Korea’s Whee Kim and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
Daniel Berger won the FedEx St. Jude Classic for a second year running. He posted a superb final round 66 to end the week on 10-under-par, one better than his nearest rivals Whee Kim and Charl Schwartzel.
Berger began the final day three shots back of the leaders, Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, Stewart Cink and Ben Crane and it looked set to be a testing day for the American when he missed the first green and duffed the resulting pitch shot. But he rallied by holing the next one for a par and there was no looking back from that point.
Berger went on to post a bogey-free 66 to claim the title by a shot. He became the fourth back-to-back winner of the St. Jude Classic, the first since David Toms achieved the feat in 2003 and 2004.
“I played really great through the first couple days but I didn’t make as many putts,” Berger said. “Then the last couple days they just started to fall and that was the big difference.”
Charl Schwartzel and Whee Kim finished the week tied for second place. Schwartzel was left to rue a poor third round of 74. He responded well with a 66 on Sunday but came up just one shot shy. Kim finished with a 67.
Overnight leader Rafa Cabrera Bello stayed in touch for most of the day but couldn’t quite match the winning total, the Spaniard carded a 71 to finish two back in a tie for fourth place.
Rafa Cabrera Bello swing sequence video:
3 Talking points from the FedEx St. Jude Classic
1 – Daniel Berger moved to fifth place on the US President’s Cup rankings. He is the fourth player to successfully defend a title in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, following Lee Trevino, Dave Hill and David Toms. It could have been a different result had he not miraculously chipped in to save par on the 1st hole of the final round.
“Yeah, that could have been a double or triple-bogey with the blink of an eye,” he said. It wasn’t and he’s champion again.
2 – Phil Mickelson was looking to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic for the first time but he came unstuck on the 12th. He moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie at the 10th but a poor drive on the 12th resulted in a penalty shot, a ball into the water behind the green resulted in another penalty and, in the end, he holed a good putt for a triple-bogey seven.
“You just can’t make those big mistakes,” he said. Mickelson has said he will not play in next week’s US Open as he will be attending his daughter’s graduation.
3 – Braden Thornberry became the first amateur to finish in the top-10 in the FedEx St. Jude Classic since 1965. A sophomore at Mississippi, Thornberry shot a brilliant 65 on Sunday.
“I never really got nervous today,” he said. “I was kind of surprised actually.”
FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
Purse: $6,400,000 Par: 70
1 Daniel Berger (USA) 70 68 66 66 270 $1,152,000
T2 Whee Kim (Kor) 69 66 69 67 271 $563,200
T2 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 65 66 74 66 271 $563,200
T4 Rafa Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 66 65 71 272 $252,000
T4 Kevin Chappell (USA) 68 67 68 69 272 $252,000
T4 Billy Horschel (USA) 72 66 70 64 272 $252,000
T4 Chez Reavie (USA) 66 65 72 69 272 $252,000
T4 Braden Thornberry (USA) 71 69 67 65 272
9 Phil Mickelson (USA) 69 67 69 68 273 $198,400
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage