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Sanderson Farms Championship Tips & Predictions: Take Burns to get fired up in Jackson

Three Sanderson Farms Championship Tips & Predictions.
Three Sanderson Farms Championship Tips & Predictions.

Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and acknowledge the sheer brilliance of the opponent. That’s exactly what we got at the Ryder Cup last week, as Team USA dominated from start to finish in a resounding 19-9 victory over Team Europe. A really magnificent group of players assembled and played exhilarating stuff all week. 

Back to PGA Tour action this week, as we hope to follow up a winner last time out, when Max Homa won the Fortinet Championship. Now we head to the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship. A relationship between tournament and course going back to 2014.

Sanderson Farms Championship Tips

The Country Club of Jackson is a par 72, measuring 7461 yards. Originally designed by Dick Wilson in the 1950s, the course was redesigned by John Fought in 2008, with the intention of giving it the feel of a traditional Donald Ross course.

This tree-lined design is flat throughout, with little in the way of elevation changes. The sloping bermuda greens vary in size and are protected by run off areas from start to finish. With water also in play on multiple holes.

Fairways have been tricky to find here, due to some relatively narrow landing areas, though there’s no real penalty for missing them. The course has repeatedly ranked amongst the easiest of which to find the greens from off the fairway, since making its debut in 2014. For this reason, quality, particularly long drivers have thrived in recent years and going all the way back to Nick Taylor’s win in 2014, good driving (along with a hot putter) has been the main way to success.

Sergio Garcia won last year, hitting the ball beautifully, ranking 1st off-the-tee and 3rd in approach. He followed Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz the year before, who ranked 4th off-the-tee, with big hitting Cameron Champ the winner in 2018, ranking 2nd in driving. Nick Taylor ranked 3rd in 2014 and Cody Gribble 9th in 2016, offering further evidence as to the benefit of driving it well here.

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The only two players who didn’t drive the ball well were Peter Malnati in 2015 and Ryan Armour in 2017. Malnati relying solely on a hot putter and Armour playing superbly in both approach and putting in a 5-shot rout of the field, the biggest winning margin in the event’s history since it moved here.

The course played on the soft side to start last year, before getting firmer over the weekend and we may get similar conditions this week. Rain is currently forecast from Tuesday-Thursday morning, with dry, warm conditions from there on in. Due to there being little wind, I expect the course to once again yield an abundance of birdies and carry on the trend of low scoring, with only one winner shooting a score worse than -18 in the seven renewals.

Sergio Garcia is the only player from either of last week’s Ryder Cup sides to tee it up, not surprising as he’s the defending champion. Another intriguing field, with a good mix of PGA Tour winners and Korn Ferry Tour graduates, though clearly lacking in star quality.

Golf betting tips
Sam Burns each-way (8 places)
16/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:10 Odds subject to change.

The extremely talented duo of Sam Burns and Will Zalatoris head the market, and it’s the former who I’ll start this week’s selections with. Deserving of his status of favourite, he rates as the most likely winner this week.

An excellent year for the Louisianan, who built on his early promise to pick up his first PGA Tour title at the Valspar Championship back in May. Running out an impressive 3-shot winner over Keegan Bradley.

He maintained his form thereafter, missing just one cut since and picking up a couple of runner-up finishes, most notably when losing in a playoff in the WGC – St Jude Invitational. This excellent year culminating in a first trip to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

He has the perfect game for this event, which is backed up by his record. Where he’s missed just one cut in four and finished 3rd back in 2018. He’s an excellent ball-striker, ranking 30th in approach and 43rd off-the-tee last season, also long in that respect, ranking 33rd in driving distance. Combine this with an excellent 9th in putting and it equals a guy who makes more birdies than most, where he ranked 5th on tour.

He should be fresh after four weeks off following the Tour Championship, where he capped off a great season with a strong run of 21st, 8th, 17th in the three play-off events. I expect him to kick off his season like he ended the previous one and looks a great shout to pick up his 2nd PGA Tour title.

Matthew Wolff each-way (8 places)
60/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:10 Odds subject to change.

There’s probably nobody else in this field with the talent or potential of Matthew Wolff and I just couldn’t leave him alone at such a price on a course which should suit, regardless of his poor run of form.

Wolff burst onto the scene in 2019, winning on the PGA Tour in just his 3rd start as a professional. Not overly surprising for those who followed this supremely talented Californian’s amateur career, where he was once #2 in the world.

An excellent 2020 followed, where he notched up three 2nd place finishes, most notably at the US Open to Bryson DeChambeau. Also finishing 4th in the PGA Championship, giving him two top fives in just three majors.

Unfortunately, he’s had a tough 2021. Commendable in his openness about battles with his mental health, though we have once again seen glimpses of the talent he possesses. When contending in the US Open before eventually finishing 15th and a 17th place finish in the St Jude on his 3rd last start.

He’ll be hoping to get his 2021/22 campaign off to a strong start and there’s plenty to like about his chances here. At his best he’s an excellent, long driver, shown by him ranking as the 12th best player off-the-tee in 2020. Also, a quality iron player and despite his poor year, he’s still a solid 47th in approach.

He’s had six weeks off after missing the cut in The Northern Trust. In similar fashion to Max Homa in the Fortinet Championship, I hope the fresh start of a new season reignites something in Wolff and by Sunday evening he could make that price look awfully big.

Keith Mitchell each-way (8 places)
70/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Carrying on the theme of quality, long drivers, Keith Mitchell comes next. He’s played here twice before, missing the cut both times but is in better form now than he was before both of those appearances, and with significant improvements with the putter, to go with continued excellence off-the-tee, looks a player who can finally get to grips with this course.

Mitchell’s 2021 has been one of inconsistency. He’s missed 9 cuts in 20, though has threatened a number of times when making it to the weekend. His best a 3rd place finish in the Wells Fargo Championship, where he led going into the final round.

His only other top 10s have come in his last four starts, finishing 5th in the 3M Open, a course which correlates nicely with this week’s venue and an 8th in The Northern Trust three starts ago.

As stated, he’s an excellent driver, ranking 11th off-the-tee last season and 24th in driving distance but the most notable thing about those two tops 10s is how well he putted. Ranking 2nd in putting at the 3M Open and 8th at The Northern Trust.

Back on bermuda, his preferred putting surface, I hope he can continue that form. With the power and quality he possesses off-the-tee, he can overpower this course like some of the most recent winners of the event have done and pick up a second PGA Tour title.

Taylor Moore each-way (7 places)
125/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Three longshots this week, starting off with a couple of guys from the Korn Ferry Tour who have the game to handle this setup. The first of these is Taylor Moore, who finished 6th on the Korn Ferry Tour money list last season.

After turning pro in 2016 off the back of a strong amateur career, where he got as high as #44 in the rankings, it’s been a story of gradual progression for Moore.

He won quite quickly into his pro career on the Canadian Tour, then spent four solid years on the Korn Ferry Tour, before finally stepping his level up quite a few notches this year. He’s missed just 5 cuts in 21 and recorded a hugely impressive 12 top 10s in his other 20 starts. Picking up his first title on the tour back in July.

His game is rock solid across the board. He ranked 6th on the Korn Ferry Tour in both total driving and scrambling, 10th in greens in regulation and a strong 33rd in putts per GIR. Making him an ideal fit for this week’s test.

He’s actually played here before, back in 2017 and performed with plenty of credit, sitting in the top half of the leaderboard before a final round 78 dropped him to 53rd. With a game that suits the setup and clearly flying high on confidence after the year he’s had, I’m hoping he can bounce back from last week’s MC and show everyone what he’s all about.

Hayden Buckley each-way (7 places)
200/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:20 Odds subject to change.

I backed excellent ball-striker, Hayden Buckley last time out and despite missing the cut he showed glimpses of his potential and can improve on that performance this week. 

The missed cut at Silverado was predominantly the result of a really poor putting performance and I took huge heart from the fact his long game, which faired him so well on the Korn Ferry Tour, transferred to the PGA Tour. Ranking 27th in approach on the Thursday and then 8th off-the-tee on Friday, unfortunately not able to put them both together at the same time. 

That very much replicates what he was all about on the Korn Ferry Tour. Where he ranked 4th in total driving and 9th in greens in regulation. It’s possible he may be a little frustrating to follow because of the putter but he’s already proven he can overcome that to achieve success, when winning the LECOM Suncoast Classic at the start of the year.

This event was curiously his first start as a professional golfer back in 2018. He performed with credit that week making the cut to finish 63rd and ranked an impressive 4th in greens in regulation. Now a more mature golfer he can hopefully learn from that experience, as well his last start and put together a more rounded performance this week.

Wyndham Clark each-way (7 places)
200/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-27 20:25 Odds subject to change.

Onto the final selection and very much following the theme of good, long driving with Wyndham Clark. He’s had a disappointing year but put an end to seven MCs in a row at the Fortinet Championship by finishing 30th, in a performance that offered plenty of promise for this week.

The biggest standout about that performance last week was the driver, he’s always been one of the longest, ranking 6th in driving distance on tour last season but struggled to make it work, ranking 117th off-the-tee. Though on that last start he was the 3rd best player in the field with driver in hand.

He has a book of form that offers further promise for his chances this week. 5th in the 3M Open in 2019 is a good pointer, as is a 13th place finish at the Shriners in 2020. Also possessing a top 20 here, when he finished 17th on debut in 2017, where he was tied for the lead after round one.

He may well go back to type this week but the quality of the driving on that last start was enough to tempt me about a player who has the game and past experience at the course.

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