Daniel Berger defends FedEx St Jude Classic


Daniel Berger overcame a packed leaderboard on Sunday on route to his second PGA Tour title, at the same tournament he won his first. 

The defending champion had returned to Memphis with a season of mixed-results, but two rounds of 66 over the weekend ensured a one-shot victory over the remainder of the field at TPC Southwind. 

And it was the very first hole that set the tone for Berger's round. A wayward drive was followed by two more shots that still failed to find the fairway, but he chipped in for par before picking up three shots on the 3rd, 7th and 13th holes. 

“Yeah, that could have been a double or triple-bogey with the blink of an eye. I was lucky to save par there, and that kind of got my round going and I hung on there at the end.”

Berger then birdied the 15th hole during his flawless final round to go one ahead of the pack on 10-under-par, and although he narrowly missed another gain on the 18th it was enough to finish ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Whee Kim. 

Berger, who stayed in the same hotel and the same room as last year - now moves to 10th in the FedExCup standings.

“I put so much work in over the last six, eight months to try to be in the same position again,” said Berger. “I’m so excited to finally get there.”

Overnight leader Rafa Cabrera Bello was unable to retain the momentum he had had, carding a one-over 71 to end up T4 with Billy Horschel, Chez Reavie, Kevin Chappell and amateur Braden Thornberry. 

Phil Mickelson finished in solo 9th, but it was a disappointing afternoon for the multiple major champion. At one stage he was part of a nine-way tie for the lead, but on two holes his drives proved so far off-line the PGA Tour marked them as 'to the unknown' on their website. A triple bogey on the 12th undid his three-under front nine of 32, and left him out of contention. 

Mickelson is still a doubt for the second major of the year - the only major he hasn't won - as he will be attending his daughters graduation. He has been put in the third-last tee time of the day and therefore COULD make it, but only weather delays occured.