After an American blowout win at the Presidents Cup, the PGA TOUR marches onward this week to its second official event of the year. The Sanderson Farms Championship has been a mainstay on the Fall schedule for the past few years and a great jumping off point for many young or up-and-coming players. Sebastian Munoz won his first PGA TOUR event here in 2020, while Cameron Champ did the same the year before. Last year Sam Burns won the title (at the time it was his second win) and became the third player under 30 years of age to win the event over the past four seasons.
It’s the week after the Presidents Cup, so as you can expect the field is missing most of the top players. At 12th in the OWGR, Sam Burns isn't just the highest ranked golfer in the field, but he’s one of only two players in the top 50 of the OWGR playing this event (the other is Harris English at 45th). We do have some young talent, though, that will make this week exciting to watch. Sahith Theegala is back after starting off his Fall swing with a T6 finish at the Fortinet. We also have Davis Riley (who is from Mississippi) and Russell Henley in the field, who is making his Fall series debut. This week is also a regular full-field event and will feature the regular PGA cutline, which sees the top 65 players (and ties) go on to play the weekend.
Country Club of Jackson — Jackson, Mississippi
Par 72, 7,460 yards
The Country Club of Jackson has hosted this event since 2014. The venue isn’t overly difficult as it has seen winners reach between 18 and 22-under-par here the last five seasons. The venue features some of the purest greens on the PGA and has multiple scoring holes where birdie or better will be expected. In a lot of ways, it sets up very similarly to the first Fall venue we saw in Silverado, where players with strong driving metrics should be expected to have an advantage.
Jackson is a typical parkland venue with trees lining many of the fairways. Playing from out of the rough here can be somewhat problematic in terms of sight lines to the pin on your second shot, and in that way it does also remind us a little of venues like Colonial and Hilton Head — where placement can sometimes be more important than power. Not every hole is claustrophobic off the tee, however, and players can still opt for driver on plenty of tee boxes.
The pros at Jackson only average about 54% in the Driving Accuracy department — which is six to eight percent lower than PGA TOUR average — but you only have too look at the list of recent winners to realize that you don’t have to be arrow straight to win at Jackson. The greens are a decent size and relatively easy to hit, with GIR percentages at Jackson tending to be 2-4% higher than the seasonal average for the pros. It’s also worth noting that the last four winners all ranked outside the top 30 in driving accuracy for the week of their win — but each of the last four winners have also gained +3.5 strokes or more off-the-tee for the week (Burns gained over +6.0 strokes OTT last year).
The Bermuda greens at CC of Jackson almost always run pure this time of year, and that’s been reflected in the stats. Past winners have tended to putt the proverbial lights out, with five of the last seven winners here ranking fifth or better in SG: Putting for the week of their win. Sam Burns certainly bucked this trend last year when he shockingly got to 22-under despite losing strokes putting, but Burns more than made up for it by gaining an ungodly 14.1 strokes ball-striking. Short of that kind of performance, though, players will need to roll it well this week on the greens to really have any shot at going low enough to win.
Finally, the course carries four very scorable par 5s, three of which play between 550-600 yards. The 2018 winner, Cameron Champ, played those holes at 12-under-par the week when he won, so efficiency on these holes can be a huge benefit.
2022 Outlook: The weather this week doesn’t look like it will be an issue for DFS. There is little to zero chance of rain so thunderstorms (which have dogged this event in the past) will not be a huge worry this season. Wind is set to reach about 9-11 mph in the afternoon on each of the first two days and right now, and both Thursday and Friday look identical for weather purposes. The lack of moisture could dry these greens out by Sunday, which would likely be the course’s only defense this year. Players with good Bermuda splits who play well on fast greens could be an area to localize when building models.
Last 5 winners
(2021)—Sam Burns -22 (over Cameron Young -21)
(2020)—Sergio Garcia -19 (over Peter Malnati -18)
(2019)—Sebastian Munoz -18 (over Sungjae Im playoff)
(2018)—Cameron Champ -21 (over Corey Conners -19)
(2017)—Ryan Armour -19 (over Chesson Hadley -14)
- Six of the last eight winners have all been first-time winners on the PGA TOUR.
- Four of the last eight winners were not full-time PGA TOUR members in the previous season.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Sam Burns (2021 at -22)
· The Country Club of Jackson has hosted this event since 2014; before Garcia and Burns won in 2021 and 2020, each of the past five winners from 2016 to 2020 had gained +6.2 strokes or more putting for the week of their win.
· Driving distance for this event has about matched the PGA TOUR average over time, but hitting fairways at this venue has been tough, with players averaging around 54% Driving Accuracy.
· Strong off-the-tee play has been beneficial, as the last four winners here have all gained +3.8 strokes or more off-the-tee.
· The course blends a lot of longer approaches with short ones, as 125-150 yards and less than 200 yards are the two most popular approach distances here from past events.
· Burns torched the course last year with ball-striking that saw him gain over 14.0 strokes OTT and on APP combined. Most winners at this venue will have to be positive with the flat stick, so just keep that in mind as there are not many players in the field this year capable of matching what Burns did last year from a ball-striking perspective.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. J.T. Poston ($10,200; best finishes: T3-2020, T11-2019): Poston actually ranks third at this event in Strokes Gained: Total over the last five years. He’s played Jackson every season since 2017 and now posted top-12 finishes at Jackson in two of the last three seasons. A Bermuda putting maestro, Poston deserves some top billing this week in the horses section.
2. Sam Burns ($10,700; best finishes: win-2021, T3-2019): Last year’s winner and this year’s betting favorite is Sam Burns, who has finished in the top five at Jackson in three of his last four visits. Burns gained over 14.0 strokes ball-striking at this venue last season and is typically a great Bermuda putter. Don’t be shocked if he gives us our second repeat winner in a row this week.
3. Denny McCarthy ($9,900; best finishes: T6-2020, T7-2018): McCarthy has posted top-20 finishes in each of his last four starts at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He gained an obscene +10.1 strokes on the greens here in 2018 and gained +3.6 strokes putting here last year as well. There’s been nobody better on the Jackson greens over the last five years than McCarthy.
4. Kevin Streelman ($7,400; best finishes: T4-2020, T10-2018): Streelman is worth a look this week as the field is mostly devoid of top end talent after Burns. He’s grabbed top-10 finishes at Jackson in two of his last four starts at this event and at just $7,400, probably carries better upside than most players in his range. He finished runner-up on another easier par 72 just five starts ago at the Barbasol.
5. Henrik Norlander ($7,200; best finishes: T4-2021 and 2020): Whenever a guy finishes top five at the same event two years in a row he deserves a shout out. Norlander is far from a consistent player, but has proven himself to be a good target at Jackson on multiple occasions. He’s putted extremely well on these greens and makes for a good GPP target on his course history alone.
1. Taylor Montgomery ($9,600; T3/T9/T4): Montgomery is coming off a season where he had 10 top finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour. He finished T3 at the first PGA TOUR event at Silverado and looks ready to contend through the Fall.
2. Taylor Moore ($8,500; T36/T44/T31): Moore has now made eight straight cuts on the PGA TOUR, which is no small feat in and of itself. He has been putting well of late gaining over 2.0 strokes with the flat stick in each of his last two starts. .
3. Sahith Theegala ($10,400; T6/T28/T15): Theegala was a near winner on multiple occasions last season. He started off with a strong T6 at the Fortinet and was T8 at this event last season.
4. Emiliano Grillo ($9,200; T25/T19): Grillo has been a model of consistency of late. The Argentine has made four cuts in a row now and shockingly has gained over 1.5 strokes putting in each of his last four starts.
5. Davis Thompson ($7,200 - T9/T56/T46): Thompson looks ready to be a serious player. He’s ranked 16th in ball striking stats over his last 40 tracked rounds and posted a T9 at the Fortinet in his first PGA TOUR start of the year.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Burns, and then everyone else
Sam Burns is the only player in the top 40 of the OWGR this week and at +1100 on the DraftKings Sportsbook, the clear favorite. If anything, Burns at $10,700 feels quite underpriced. He won this event last year while losing 2.0 strokes putting and typically brings the heat with the flat stick on Bermuda greens. You need to get a piece of him in any cash game entry this week. After Burns, it’s wide open. Taylor Montgomery ($9,600) is likely a player you should keep trotting out as he is giving off some Cameron Young vibes right now and sets up as another power hitter who should find this venue attractive. Chris Kirk ($8,200), Adam Svensson ($7,400) and Will Gordon ($7,300) all look like solid values just based off recent form.
Tournaments: Look to Henley as a pivot
If you are looking to fade Burns this week due to the massive ownership he’ll see in big fields, then Russell Henley ($10,100) makes sense as a pivot. Ball striking wise, he’s capable of getting us those +6.0 or 7.0 strokes on approach needed to contend at Jackson, and he’s actually an underrated par-5 scorer, ranking fourth in par-5 efficiency in this field over the last 50 rounds. Burns busting isn’t likely, but if he does and you get a decent week out of Henley on the greens, the payoff could be massive if the rest of your lineup falls well. Dean Burmester ($7,600) is another player I’d have interest in for large field tournaments. The South African isn't well known by most DFS players, but he’s a monster hitter off-the-tee and is coming off a great season which saw him gain a full PGA TOUR card for 2022-23. Burmester is also top 25 in birdie or better rate over the last 50 rounds and should be a good fit for this venue. Other potential GPP targets this week include: Russell Knox ($7,300), Patrick Rodgers ($7,100) and Ben Martin ($6,500).
MY PICK: Russell Henley ($10,100)
With Sam Burns ($10,700) sure to be one of the most popular picks in DFS this week (with some of the highest ownership we’ve seen in the last couple of years) looking for ways to fade him in big GPPs is at least worth exploring. One player who possesses similar upside (from a ball-striking perspective at least) is Russell Henley, who gained over 5.0 strokes on approach five different times in 2022. Henley also ranks first in birdie or better percentage in this field over the last 50 rounds, so while the Country Club of Jackson is a somewhat of a longer venue than we’re used to seeing Henley excel at, it’s also one that fits nicely with his propensity for going low.
Overall, this will be the third time Henley has played in this event during his career and a T14 back in 2016 is a good indicator that he’s not a horrible fit. Notably, Henley’s also gained multiple strokes putting on the Bermuda greens at Jackson in each of his past two career starts, a good sign given that his putter continues to be the club that lets him down the most. Most DFS players won’t look to start lineups with both Henley AND Burns so using Henley as either an anchor play, or even second-man in with Burns’ lineups this week is a good way to gain leverage in big fields. At +2200 on the DraftKings Sportsbook, he’s also a valid outright target given how often he gets himself in contention in fields like these.
MY SLEEPER: Will Gordon ($7,300)
This venue sets up well for players with good strength off-the-tee who also have the ability to get hot with their putter. From that perspective, we should really like the chances of Will Gordon to make some noise this week, a player who is making his second go round as a full member of the PGA TOUR. Gordon ranks ninth in SG: Off-the-Tee over the last 50 rounds and is coming off a T36 finish at the Fortinet, which saw him gain 6.0 strokes ball-striking alone.
This will be the third time that Gordon has seen Jackson CC on the PGA TOUR, which does give him an advantage over some of the newer grads. Gordon is just a few starts removed from a big win on the Korn Ferry Tour at the Boise Open and should be motivated at these early season events to gain ground quickly so he doesn’t have to go through another painful qualifying season on the Korn Ferry Tour. At just $7,300 he fits the prototype of golfer we want to target at Jackson and has the requisite form and confidence to make him a heady pick both in DFS and on the DraftKings Sportsbook, where he’s +1000 to finish in the top 10.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.