This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Sanderson Farms Championship
Course: Country Club of Jackson (7,461 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,422,000 and 500 FedExCup points
Only two players will make the trip from the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow to the Country Club of Jackson for the Sanderson Farms Championship. The first is the defending champion of this event Sam Burns, who although his record did not indicate it, played some really impressive golf to help the U.S. team win the Presidents Cup for the 12th time in 14 tries. Burns will be joined by another Presidents Cup rookie from the international side in Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who is searching for his first PGA Tour victory.
The Country Club of Jackson will play host to this event for the ninth straight year. Throughout the history of the Sanderson Farms Championship it has traditionally been an alternate field event for majors, WGC's, and even the team competitions. In 2019 it was elevated to a full status event and the winner will receive a two-year exemption with 500 FedExCup points and an invite to the Masters next April. This will be the second of nine official PGA Tour events contested this fall and a great opportunity for some of the younger players to get a jump on FedExCup points going into 2023 with the playoffs shrinking to just the top-70 players.
The Jackson area was hit hard in late August by some storms that brought a ton of rainfall. Even with the weather forecast for this week looking hot and dry, expect the greens to still be pretty receptive. The winning score since moving to the Country Club of Jackson in fall of 2014 has been between 16-under and 22-under, so we should see the 144-man field make a lot of birdies and eagles this week.
2021 - Sam Burns (-22)
2020 - Sergio Garcia (-19)
2019 - Sebastian Munoz (-18)
2018 - Cameron Champ (-21)
2017 - Ryan Armour (-19)
2016 - Cody Gribble (-20)
2015 - Peter Malnati (-18)
2014 - Nick Taylor (-16)
2013 - Woody Austin (-20)
2012 - Scott Stallings (-24)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- Birdie Average
The Country Club of Jackson has mostly been a ball-striking test throughout its history. Last year Sam Burns led the field in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Tee-to-Green and co-led in greens hit in regulation en route to his victory. In 2020 Sergio Garcia was second in SG: Off-the-Tee, third in SG: Approach and first in SG: Tee-to-Green in his final PGA Tour victory. Ryan Armour ranked fourth in SG: Approach, second in SG: Tee-to-Green and third in GIR's on his way to a five shot win in 2017. Part of the reason ball striking has been so important in Jackson has been because this is shockingly one of the hardest courses on the PGA Tour to putt at inside 10 feet. Everyone is going to miss their share of short one's, but if you're striking it well you should give yourself plenty of birdies chances and avoid having to face many testers for par. Tricky bermuda greens combined with a relative tough quartet of par-5's are the primary reasons we've seen players of all distances be able to find success in Jackson. Last year Cameron Champ led the PGA Tour in driving distance at 321.4 yards while Ryan Armour was 186th on Tour at 286.3 yards. Champ and Armour won the Sanderson Farms Championship in back-to-back years.
FanDuel Value Picks
Sahith Theegala ($11,600)
Theegala nearly burst on the scene in his second event of his rookie campaign last year with a win in Jackson. He took a lead to the back-nine, but made bogeys on 10, 11, and 13 due to some short missed putts and had to settle for a T8 finish. Theegala was certainly able to recover from that sting and put together a very impressive first full season on Tour. He started this season well with a T6 in Napa behind a tournament-high 22 birdies. Theegala easily has one of the highest ceilings of any player in this field.
J.T. Poston ($11,200)
Poston has played some very good golf over the last few months. He has six top-25 finishes over his last eight starts, with two of those being a win and a runner-up. Poston has always been a good putter, but his improved iron play over his hot stretch has led to a lot of quality results. The 29-year-old has gone 5-for-6 in Jackson and notched a third-place finish in 2020.
Scott Stallings ($10,900)
Stallings is another player that has really impressed over the last few months. He set career highs last season in top-10's and top-25's highlighted by his close to the season in which he had five top-15's over his last eight starts. Stallings has always been a pretty good iron player, but his putting improvements have led to a lot more birdie conversions. The PGA Tour veteran finished T6 in Jackson just two years ago.
Denny McCarthy ($10,500)
McCarthy doesn't exactly fit the profile this week, but you can't really argue with how he has played the Country Club of Jackson. Over the last four years, McCarthy has not finished worse than a T18 here. Over his last 12 starts overall on the PGA Tour, the 29-year-old has finished top-30 in eight of them, including two weeks ago in Napa.
Longer Shots with Value
Trey Mullinax ($9,800)
Mullinax was an interesting choice for many in Napa a couple weeks ago, but ended up missing the cut despite gaining 2.2 strokes approaching the green. This is a good chance to get right back on the bandwagon with likely a smaller ownership percentage. Mullinax finished fourth in Jackson last year and closed last season going 1st-T21-T37-T5-T12. He's got elite power and ranked 26th in birdie average last season.
Will Gordon ($9,500)
Gordon had a strong finish to the Korn Ferry Tour season that allowed him to get his PGA Tour card back. That hot streak included a pair of T5's and a win at the Boise Open. Gordon ranked fifth in driving distance, 13th in GIR percentage, eighth in ball striking and 12th in birdie average on the KFT last season. The 26-year-old gained 6.2 strokes both off the tee and approaching the green in Napa, but settled for a T36 after losing over four strokes around the greens. Larger greens in Jackson should help his prospects this week.
Austin Eckroat ($8,800)
If you just looked at the finishing position of T64 last week, you wouldn't think that Eckroat had a great week but he shot 77 in the final round to drop 39 positions on the leaderboard. Eckroat is too good of a ball striker not to bounce back in Jackson. Last season on the Korn Ferry Tour the Oklahoma State product ranked seventh in GIR percentage, 11th in total driving and ninth in birdie average. He has two runner-up's and six top-20's in his last 10 starts overall.
Carl Yuan ($8,300)
Yuan missed the cut in the PGA Tour season-opener after topping the KFT Regular Season Points List, but if you look at the numbers there is a lot to be encouraged by. In just two rounds Yuan gained over 4.6 strokes from tee-to-green, but lost a whopping 5.4 strokes with the putter. He will get completely different surfaces to put that putting performance behind him in Jackson, and that elite ball striking will certainly travel to this course. Yuan was top-eight last season in driving distance, GIR percentage, all-around and birdie average on the KFT.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
I think there is a few names to be weary of near the top of the salary board this week. Burns is the clear favorite in this field, but I think it's going to be hard for him to perform well coming off such an emotional week at the Presidents Cup. Russell Henley and Keegan Bradley both fit the profile as a good ball striker, but the results over the last few months leave a lot to be desired. The other thing to keep in mind is to not put so much weight on what happened in Napa a couple weeks ago. The Country Club of Jackson is a much different challenge in a completely different climate. There will be lots of players who missed the cut in Napa who score a top-25 in Jackson, or vice versa. Hayden Buckley ($8,400), Russell Knox ($8,300), Chesson Hadley ($8,100) and Ben Taylor ($7,900) are a couple more names to keep an eye on that are further down the salary board.