FedEx St. Jude Classic 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into Tournament

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 5, 2013

FedEx St. Jude Classic 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into Tournament

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    Falling in between Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament and the U.S. Open, the FedEx St. Jude Classic doesn't pack much in the way the star power, but that doesn't mean it is void of stars. 

    For starters, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and defending champion Dustin Johnson will be in this field, and two of those guys made this list. 

    They will be joined on this list by four other golfers from the St. Jude field, as the following six guys look to either continue their hot play or bring an end to a cold streak. 

    *All stats, unless otherwise noted, via PGATour.com.

Cold No. 3: Dustin Johnson

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    Dustin Johnson's slump isn't his fault, but it's a slump all the same.

    As USA Today's Steve DiMeglio reports, Johnson is feeling good, but he's been struggling with back and wrist issues.

    He withdrew from the Wells Fargo due to his wrist and the Players and Byron Nelson with his back.

    Last week, at the Memorial, Johnson was able to play until they told him not to. Firing a 73 and a 76, he missed the cut.

    The good news for Johnson is at the Memorial he hit just over 60 percent of his fairways. That was his second best mark for any tournament this year. This is a good sign that his back is feeling good. However, he also had his second worst outing in strokes gained-putting as he finished that tournament at -.445. 

    There is no denying Johnson has the talent to get back on top of his game—he just needs to stay healthy long enough to do it.

Hot No. 3: Roberto Castro

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    Roberto Castro's results aren't jaw dropping, but this is a young player who is beginning to make his mark on the tour. 

    Castro turned pro in 2007 and played his first season on the PGA last year. He had a decent year with five top-25 finishes. He's already equalled those five top-25 finishes this year. 

    Two of those have come in his last three starts. He was 19th at the Players and then 21st at the Memorial last week. 

    On top of that, he's made five straight cuts. 

    Castro needs to improve his putting consistency if he wants to continue his upward trend, but he is an extremely accurate driver and will hits lots of greens in regulation. 

Cold No. 2: Phil Mickelson

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    Phil Mickelson decided to skip the Memorial and instead get his final U.S. Open tuneup at this event. And he certainly needs the tuneup. 

    Mickelson has played just twice since his 54th-place showing at the Masters. He had a solid third at the Wells Fargo Championship, but he missed the cut at the Players. 

    Lefty actually putted well at the Players. He had a strokes gained-putting mark of 1.083 for the tournament. However, he hit just 50 percent of his fairways and 55.6 percent of his greens in regulation. 

    Still, the most concerning recent performance for Phil is the Masters. Augusta sets up well for Mickelson's game, and he is almost always in contention there. He wasn't even close this year. 

    At Augusta, Mickelson too often got himself into trouble, and he struggled with his touch. 

    He will need to iron out these problems if he wants to get his game turned around. 

Hot No. 2: Boo Weekley

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    When Boo Weekley is on, he can compete with anyone. Weekley's famed ball striking is as good as anyone on the tour. He put that on vivid display while winning the Crowne Plaza Invitational. 

    Weekley missed the cut in his event prior to that, the Wells Fargo. That was his first missed cut of the year, since his first event of the year. 

    In between those two missed cuts, Weekley played 12 events and had three top-10 finishes. Combine that with his win, and Weekley has four top-10s on the year, which is one better than he had all of last year. 

    Weekley is not good on the greens. For the year, he sits at -.692 strokes gained-putting.

    Unless he finds a way to improve with the flat iron, Weekley will never be one of the tour's top players. When he is striking the ball like he is now, though, he will find a way to work himself in contention in plenty of tournaments. 

Cold No. 1: Brandt Snedeker

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    Brandt Snedeker was the world's best golfer at the start of the year. In his first five starts of the year, he finished third or higher in four of them. That included his win at Pebble Beach. 

    Rib issues then forced him from action, and he hasn't been the same since. 

    Since his win, Snedeker has played six events. He's missed the cut in three of them and was 59th in the Heritage. 

    His other two starts were solid performances with a sixth at the Masters and an eighth at the Players. These two strong performances prove that Snedeker is close to returning to form. However, he certainly hasn't returned. 

    His last start came at the Memorial, where he missed the cut at eight over. 

    Snedeker is typically one of the Tour's best putters, but he's been inconsistent with the flat iron since his return to action. 

Hot No. 1: Scott Stallings

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    Last week, Scott Stallings made a serious Sunday charge by firing a 67 that included a stretch of five straight birdies. That was good enough to have him finish tied for fourth. 

    That was his second straight fourth-place finish, as he did so at the Crowne Plaza Invitational the week before. This is a remarkable stretch of golf for a player who has eight top-10 finishes on the PGA since turning pro in 2007.

    Making this hot streak even more impressive is the form Stallings was displaying prior. Heading into the Crowne, Stallings had missed the cut in his previous four starts. He also didn't have a finish higher than 45th in his last eight starts, which goes back to the Tampa Bay Championship in mid March. 

    Stallings' turnaround has been highlighted by accurate driving that has led to him hitting at least 65 percent of his greens in regulation for each of his past two events.