This week is the eighth edition of the Sanderson Farms Championship to be hosted by the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi and in the past it has proved to be a great opportunity for journeymen or those golfers who had recently graduated from the second tier Korn Ferry Tour. In fact, the defending champion Sergio Garcia was something of a bolt from the blue in that respect. It’s a tricky prospect for gamers, but a fine opportunity if your strategy is spot on.
Country Club of Jackson
The course was created in 2008 and is a John Fought and Mike Gogel design which plays to a par of 72 and a yardage of 7,461. The players often talk of the Bermuda rough being difficult to emerge from and yet, although the fairways have proved tricky to find, the greens really haven’t.
Big-hitting Cameron Champ won here and said: “The majority of the time, if you’re kind of bouncing into the rough, it’s probably going to sit down, but you might get lucky sometimes where it might sit up, but I think it’s long enough to where it’s probably at least a ball and a half higher than the actual ball, maybe even two, so the majority of the time I feel like it will sit down.”
Brandt Snedeker is a decent judge of a track and he said: “There’s certain golf courses that, with me not being a long hitter, I’ve got to kind of pick and choose where I play, so that I’m not going up against the 8-ball playing against guys that have a four-shot advantage over me before I even tee it off. This is one of those golf courses that kind of fits right up that alley.”
It’s been said by the course superintendent that the layout has a Donald Ross feel and that’s an issue I’ll address in the Strategy section. The other key element is the combination of the Bermuda greens as well as rough. Players repeatedly reference that hailing from the south provides essential experience of such conditions.
The weather in Jackson, Mississippi is forecast to be difficult ahead of the weekend with scattered thunderstorms likely to interrupt play. That should clear up at the weekend with temperatures in the high 70s, humidity in the 70s and breezes no more than about 7mph.
Past Champions at CC Jackson
Nick Taylor triumphed when the event first moved to the course in 2014 and he was followed onto the honors board by Peter Malnati and Cody Gribble. When Ryan Armour completed victory in 2017 it made it four recent graduates from the KFT who had tasted quick success and Cameron Champ maintained that trend in 2018.
In 2019 Sebastian Munoz defeated Sungjae Im after extra holes before Sergio Garcia made it two Spanish speakers in a row.
It would take a bold man to make connections between this list of winners. There really isn’t much at all that links them other than that the first five made good use of an early opportunity at the higher level.
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Sergio Garcia ($10,500) On the one hand this play is blisteringly straightforward. The Spaniard won here 12 months ago and the course plays into his hands: He’s straight from the tee and plays tangly rough well whenever he does get in it. He was also T–6 at the BMW Championship, top 10 for low-scoring in the TOUR Championship, and starred for Europe in the Ryder Cup last week. Here’s the clincher: He has a sensational record in his first event out after a Ryder Cup: Nine starts, all T–32 or better, seven top 10s, two of them wins.
Cameron Davis ($9,100) Winner at the Donald Ross-designed Detroit in July, the Aussie has never finished outside the top 25 at Sedgefield, has made 25 cuts in his last 30 starts, and after missing the cut on his debut here he’s gone T–28 and T–6. Simple and neat. “It’s a good test,” he said last year. “I like it.”
Patton Kizzire ($8,200) As a winner at El Camaleon and Waialae, not to mention a Sea Island resident, keeping the ball on the fairway, and being competent from Bermuda when he doesn’t, is kind of a given. He’s also 3-for-5 at the course, with two top 10s, and also 4-for-5 at Sedgefield.
Chad Ramey ($7,000) A local lad who missed the cut on his first start of this rookie campaign but don’t be fooled. Back in 2018 he Monday qualified for this event and was in the top five at halfway on his way to T–26. Since then he has been an absolute cut making machine on the Korn Ferry Tour. He made 38 of them in his 39 starts in 2020 and 2021 ahead of graduation, a tally that included six top four finishes.
Denny McCarthy ($6,600) In the Fortinet Championship we opposed McCarthy owing to his appalling form on Poa Annua, but now he is back where he likes rolling the rock: On Bermuda. He’s proved it here since missing the cut on debut in 2017. He was T–7 in 2018, T–18 in 2019 and T–6 last year. He averaged a gain on the greens of over five strokes per event in those three outings. The Ross-a-like vibe probably helps him too: He is 5-for-6 at making the cut at Sedgefield and Detroit with four top 25s.
Keith Mitchell ($7,800) Ahead of the Wyndham Championship we advised ignoring Mitchell owing to a non-fondness for Ross designs and we’ll repeat that claim now. It worked then and chances are it will work again. He’s now played those course four times and it yet to land a top 40. Then there is his course form. He’s played here twice, always carded 74 in the first round, never broken 72 in the second lap, and has always headed home early.
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Here’s Another Alternate of Core Picks For The Sanderson Farms Championship
Sungjae Im ($10,300) The Korean missed the cut on his tournament debut in 2018, but we’ll give him that – it was early in his PGA TOUR career. A year later he missed out to Munoz in the extra holes, and then he backed that effort up with T–28 last year. Oh, and he’s rather good at real Ross courses so he’s another player for whom the vibe helps. He’s 6-for-6 at Sedgefield and Detroit, with five top 25s, three of them top 10s.
Cameron Tringale ($9,400) He made 18 top 40 finishes in the 2020/21 season, 10 of them top 10s, and he added T–22 in his start to this campaign. Moreover, up agaist this level of opposition, any sniff that he’ll do okay is worth following – and three of his four top 10s last season were on Bermuda grass. He’s played the course four times and has made the weekend every single time. A more assured player now and can build on a best of T–16.
Kevin Streelman ($8,900) He’s missed two cuts in his five visits to the course, but he’s also landed three top 20s. His preference for short tracks (see Snedeker above) that demand a neat tee to green game, plus the ability to get on a roll with the putter, is augmented by his Ross record. In eight trips to Sedgefield and Detroit he’s missed one cut and landed five top 40s, two of them top 10s.
Stephan Jaeger ($7,000) The German keeps proving that he is too good for the Korn Ferry Tour. This season is his latest opportunity to insist that he’s good enough for the top level. He won this year in Florida, was twice made the top five in Tennessee, he’s also won there and in South Carolina in the past. So he has excellent experience of playing in the south, completing a connection with past quality performers here. He finished T–14 on the course in 2018.
J.T. Poston ($6,600) A great salary for a fellow with his record. At the course? 5-for-5 at making the cut, T–11 in 2019 and T–3 last year. On Ross designs? A winner at Sedgefield and T–11 at Detroit. Missed three cuts ahead of arriving here, but also T–2 at the Barbasol Championship in July. No lost soul.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,700) He’s made the cut both times he has played here, but he is yet to land a top 30. He’s also missed the cut in six of his last nine starts. I’m just not sure this stellar long game expert has the flat-stick skills to thrive here. Especially at the salary. As discussed below, a hot putter is required and most often his is cold.
Take note of that comment about the Donald Ross feel. Of recent winners here Garcia was also a winner at Sedgefield, Munoz is 3-for-4 there, Armour four top 25s, Malnati is 5-for-7 there and Taylor has two top 10s. Moreover, Jackson 54-hole leaders fare well at Sedgefield too: Chris Kirk is 6-for-7, John Rollins has finished third, David Toms second and JT Poston was a winner. A hot putter will work too: the seven winners (and play-off loser Im) all ranked top 11 for Putts per Greens in Regulation.
Other Player Options For The Sanderson Farms Championship
• A lot of Chris Kirk’s best golf comes on Bermuda grass and he’s 3-for-4 at the course, including second on debut in 2016.
• Mito Pereira will have absolutely no fears about a tight-from-the-tee test or gnarly rough – it’s exactly what the Chilean grew up on. Superb on the KFT last season (two wins in June), he’s landed four top six finishes in his last six PGA starts.
• This might be a good week for Englishman Aaron Rai. We advised ignoring him at the Fortinet Championship, owing to the suspicion of fatigue and he duly missed the cut. With a week off his arrow straight long game should suit.
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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