This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Sanderson Farms Championship
Course: Country Club of Jackson (7,461 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,260,000 and 500 FedExCup points
Going from the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits to the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson will be quite jarring for golf fans. The courses could not play any different and instead of pride for your country, players will do battle for FedExCup points in the second event of the new season. Defending champion Sergio Garcia is the only player who will be making the trip from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to compete in this championship. The Spaniard will be joined in the field by a handful of players who have a real shot to make the 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Notables on that list include Will Zalatoris, Sam Burns, and Matthew Wolff. There is also a strong International contingent that have a great chance to make the 2022 President's Cup Team. That list includes the likes of Sungjae Im, Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim, Mito Pereira, and Cam Davis.
For years this event was an opposite-field tournament, but the 2021 edition marks the third straight year that the Sanderson Farms Championship is a full-status event. That has led to an increased purse and better fields going South to Jackson in the fall. This will also be the seventh straight season in which the Country Club of Jackson has hosted this event. The winning score has been between 18-under and 21-under in each of the first six editions here, so expect a lot of birdies once again on this stock par-72. Temperatures during the tournament should extend up into the high-80's in the afternoon. A thunderstorm or two during the event would not be surprising with the best chance of that coming on Thursday and Sunday. Overall, winds should be light and non much of a factor.
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Putting
- SG: Off-the-Tee
The Country Club of Jackson has for whatever reason been among the leaders annually in lowest conversion percentage inside of 10 feet. The bermuda greens will be prepped to run around 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, but may be slowed down a tick by precipitation throughout the tournament week. Other than Garcia and Cameron Champ, all of the winners in Jackson have been strong putters in general. The challenging greens provide an opportunity for those who are proficient with the flat stick to succeed. The fairways here are not overly wide, but the rough won't be too much of a penalty to the players at just 2.5 inches. Both Garcia and Champ led the field in driving distance during their routes to victory, proving there is multiple styles to attack this course. Approach play will be very important as always, but especially in a projected shootout. Players need to maximize the number of birdie opportunities within 20 feet or so. Garcia co-led last year in greens in regulation and paced the field in SG: Tee-to-Green.
FanDuel Value Picks
Sam Burns ($11,900)
He profiles well this week due to his combination of power and touch on the greens. Last season Burns ranked 33rd in driving distance, ninth in SG: Putting, 30th in SG: Approach, and fifth in birdie average. The Florida product is well rested having sat out since the TOUR Championship. Burns has as much experience as anyone around this place making four previous starts including a T3 in 2018.
Sungjae Im ($11,700)
If it's going to be a shootout, not many are more primed for that battle than Im, who led the PGA Tour in total birdies each of the last three seasons. Last season Im ranked 16th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 27th in GIR percentage, and 50th in SG: Putting. The South Korean fell in a playoff here two years ago and was T28 last year.
Mito Pereira ($10,900)
The guy just keeps showing up on leaderboards. Pereira got the season off to a great start with a T3 two weeks ago at the Fortinet Championship. He ended up leading the field in SG: Tee-to-Green in Napa. That was Pereira's third top-six finish in his last five start on the PGA Tour. There's no reason why he won't contend again in Jackson.
Keegan Bradley ($10,800)
Bradley's ball striking last season was just tremendous, as he ranked fourth in SG: Approach, sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green, 12th in GIR percentage, and fifth in total driving. His scrambling was also significantly better, which is why he saw his top-25's jump from five to 11 and his top-10s jump from zero to four. Bradley scored a T4 in Jackson last year.
Longer Shots with Value
Scott Stallings ($9,500)
Stallings is coming off a strong T6 showing in Napa where he ranked third in SG: Putting. He will bring that hot putter to a track where he has six previous starts on, including a T6 finish last year. Stallings was a top-50 iron player last year as well, which bodes well for more success in Jackson.
C.T. Pan ($9,300)
Much like Stallings, Pan rode a hot putter en route to a T6 finish at the Fortinet Championship. The Bronze medal winner in Tokyo last summer was also top-10 in SG: Approach in Napa. Pan has confidence coming back to this course after a T12 showing in Jackson last season.
Lucas Glover ($8,700)
Glover had a solid season last year which included four top-10s and seven top-25s, but was punctuated by his victory at the John Deere Classic. The 2009 U.S. Open Champion has been one of the better ball-strikers on Tour for a long time now. That continued last season, ranking 53rd in SG: Tee-to-Green by gaining a half shot per round on the field. Glover will be making his seventh start in Jackson where he has a trio of top-25s, including a T5 in 2016.
Peter Malnati ($8,300)
Sometimes you just vibe with a course, and that is certainly the case for Malnati and the Country Club of Jackson. He picked up his first career win here back in 2015 and was just one shot shy of forcing a playoff with Sergio Garcia last year following a final-round, 9-under 63. The strength of Malnati's game is putting, which is why he ranked top-15 last year in putting average and one-putt percentage. He also scored a top-25 in the season opener in Napa.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
For a tournament with not a lot of big names, there are actually quite a few intriguing plays this week. Many of the players that are in this field have a lot of prior rounds at the Country Club of Jackson, so they will know exactly what to expect. I think you have to fade Sergio Garcia this week. It's a lot to ask for him to contend coming off such an emotional and grinding week at the Ryder Cup. I also don't love Will Zalatoris either. He's a great iron player for sure, but he has a tendency to put some ugly strokes on short putts and this course is very difficult to convert from inside of 10 feet. The options fall off quite a bit this week under $9,000, so that's certainly something to keep in mind as to how you start at the top of the salary board.