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Kenny Perry top draw at St Jude Classic

As the newest member of golf's top 10, Kenny Perry heads the bill this week at the $4.6 million St Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee.

With world number one Vijay Singh and the rest of the top 10 all taking a week off from the PGA Tour, Perry will have the distinction of being the highest ranked player taking part.

He moved into ninth spot with his-record equalling 19-under-par victory at the Colonial on Sunday.

Singh, who reclaimed top spot in the rankings from Tiger Woods on Monday even though neither man played last week, begins his third stint and 30th week as world number one.

The Fijian is resting away from the PGA Tour as he begin his meticulous build-up to the season's second major, the U.S. Open.

Perry has made a habit of producing red-hot winning streaks and with two wins this season could be about to enter another rich period of form.

In 2003 he registered three wins in four starts beginning with his record run at the Colonial and after romping to a seven-shot victory at Hogan's Alley last Sunday will be one of the hot favourites this weekend.

There is no one in the field more happy to be back in Memphis than two-time defending champion David Toms.

After getting the season off to a blistering start with four straight top-five finishes, including an impressive win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Toms has been mired in a slump distracted by a bitter legal dispute with his sports management.

He had not cracked the top 30 until his tie for third place last week at the Colonial.

"It's been a tough time," Toms told the Houston Chronicle. "I have never been much into the controversial side of anything. It's unfortunate but I will be fine."

Toms, who cruised to a six-stroke victory last year over Bob Estes, will try to become the first golfer to win three straight at the St Jude and the first to win any PGA Tour event three consecutive years since Tiger Woods claimed four wins in succession from 2000 to 2003 at Bay Hill.

Among the 10 former champions in the field will be two-time winner and 2003 runner-up South African Nick Price, who is also enjoying some good form as he makes a determined bid for a spot on the Presidents Cup squad.

Young American Sean O'Hair will make his first start since his second place at the Byron Nelson.

The 22-year-old, whose only notoriety before the Byron Nelson was an overbearing father who made him turn professional before completing high school, could be poised to become the first rookie to win on the PGA Tour this season.


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