The PGA Tour is in Jackson, Mississippi, this week for the Sanderson Farms Championship. The 144-man field is headlined by Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im as most of the top golfers continue to play a limited schedule during the fall.
One trend from past Sanderson Farms Championships to consider before placing any wagers is that the last six champions have all been first-time PGA Tour winners.
2019: Sebastian Munoz (-18) in a playoff over Sungjae Im
2018: Cameron Champ (-21) over Corey Conners
2017: Ryan Armour (-19) over Chesson Hadley
2016: Cody Gribble (-20) over Luke List, Chris Kirk, Greg Owen
2015: Peter Malnati (-18) over William McGirt, David Toms
2014: Nick Taylor (-16) over Jason Bohn, Boo Weekley
Scheffler comes in as the favorite this week in his first start since testing positive for COVID-19. He was playing exceptionally well prior to withdrawing from the U.S. Open, at which many liked his chances to contend. He's clearly the best player in action and deserving of the +1200 price tag.
Im lost in a playoff to Munoz at last year's Sanderson Farms, so course fit isn't an issue. He's gained over four strokes through approach shots in his last two events and returns to Bermudagrass, on which he tends to putt well. No one should talk you out of backing the 22-year-old at a reasonable +1600.
The rest of this group isn't overly intriguing.
Zalatoris admitted he was exhausted last week at the Corales Puntacana Championship. Johnson at +2500 is easy to pass on, and it's tough to imagine Munoz - who's actually playing well - will defend his title.
|Byeong Hun An||+4000|
Burns leaps off the page as a value option at +3000. He was +1400 to win last week in Punta Cana and now is double the price despite the field getting only marginally stronger. The Louisiana native finished third in Jackson last year, has made the cut all three times at the event, and is playing some of the best golf of his career.
Redman is also a tremendous value play. He's knocking on the door of his first Tour title by placing third in two of his past three starts thanks to some incredible strokes gained: approach numbers.
Given the level of confidence in Scheffler or Im winning this week, it's risky to dive too far into the long-shot range. However, here are a few players to consider whose prices don't match their talent level:
Henrik Stenson (+5500): His pedigree is unmatched in this field, and he's coming off a solid result in Punta Cana. These are really long odds for one of the best ball-strikers in a field lacking star power.
Cameron Davis (+6000): The Aussie's length off the tee and ability to catch a hot putter resembles the method Cameron Champ used to win the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship.
Xinjun Zhang (+6500): He has back-to-back top-15 results and had a real shot at winning last week before a poor Sunday. Zhang is no stranger to the winner's circle, taking home two Korn Ferry Tour titles in 2019.
Davis Riley (+12500): The Mississippi native, who's arguably as skilled as Zalatoris, should feel right at home this week. He's won twice this season on the Korn Ferry Tour and finished tied for 39th at last year's Sanderson Farms.
Scottie Scheffler (+1200)
Very rarely is it recommended to bet the favorite, but it seems warranted this week. First, Scheffler is priced above +1000 and offers some value compared to other front-runners in the betting market.
He's also on a completely different tier compared to the rest of the field. In his last five starts (which include a major, a WGC, and three playoff events), he's recorded three top-fives and no finish outside the top 20.
Next, he's averaged 6.8 strokes gained: tee to green in his last six starts, all of which were in stacked fields. He tied for 16th at last year's Sanderson Farms - a week that included a second-round 66 - and finished 45th but gained over 10 strokes tee to green in 2018 as a Korn Ferry Tour member.
Scheffler fits the trend of first-time Tour winners in Jackson and could potentially dominate this weak field.
Doc Redman (+4000)
If you want to take only Scheffler and hope for a sweat come Sunday, all the power to you. But winning on the PGA Tour is still very hard, so it's worth considering a few other options.
Redman would top the list of players who can go toe to toe with Scheffler. His approach game is one of the best in the field, which will give the 22-year-old ample birdie opportunities over 72 holes. His recent near-misses will only help him when he finds himself in contention again on Sunday. Plus, this is a rare opportunity to get Redman at +4000; you could argue he should be priced in the +2000 range.
Cameron Davis (+6000)
Davis is another young player looking for his maiden PGA Tour victory. He's played well in four straight events and one of the few bombers in the field who can also go lights-out on the greens. He placed 29th in Jackson last season and gained over four strokes through approach shots in each of his two attempts at Sanderson Farms.