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2021 Sanderson Farms Championship betting tips & selections

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After a one week break for the Ryder Cup, the fall swing is back in gear, and players will be traveling to Jackson, Mississippi, this week for the Sanderson Farms Championship. Albeit under different title sponsors, this tournament has been part of the PGA Tour schedule since 1968, although it has only been played at the current host course, the Country Club of Jackson, since 2015.

While many of the world’s best players will be opting to rest up after the Ryder Cup, Sergio Garica is making the trek from Wisconsin to defend last year’s title. Other notables include Sam Burns, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris, and Corey Conners. The field is about what we’ve come to expect for fall series events. While there may be a lack of elite talent at the top, there is still an abundance of capable players in the middle to lower tiers of this field.

As far as the task at hand, the Country Club of Jackson is stock par 72, measuring 7,461 yards with Bermuda-grass fairways, greens, and rough. Perusing through previous iterations of this tournament, it’s fairly evident that there is no set way to succeed at this course. We’ve seen bombers win, we’ve seen ultra-accurate fairway finders win, we’ve seen both short and inaccurate drivers be able to mask off the tee inefficiencies with elite iron play, and we’ve also seen the player who simply rolls in the most 20-footers win this tournament as well.

For that reason, I am not entirely caught up in finding specialists at a specific skill-set. I’m more-so just looking for players that can make a ton of birdies, are in good form, and have experienced success on Bermuda-grass greens. Given the wide range of skillsets in play here, I would definitely favor recent form this week over course fit.

Let’s dig into my outright selections!

Will Zalatoris (18/1, FanDuel)

This is a steep price to pay for a player who is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory, but I was fully committed to backing Will Zalatoris this week before the odds dropped and I’m not going to be scared off by oddsmakers fancying his chances as well. While I do tend to prefer Zalatoris on more difficult courses where elite long iron play is required and putting can be devalued, the C.C. of Jackson is still a course that should be able to highlight Zalatoris’ skillset. The Donald Fought design still measures over 7,400 yards on the scorecard, and 21.7% of approach shots do come from over 200 yards. Over his last 36 rounds, Zalatoris is the number one player in this field in proximity from 200 yards plus.

To me, Zalatoris’ perfect player comp is Sergio Garcia, another player who was plenty long off the tee, and was able to ride elite driving and iron play to a victory here last year. C.C. of Jackson designer John Fought may have attempted to model these greens after Donald Ross, but I am not sure he entirely succeeded at that, as we have seen so many poor putters find success here. The Dallas native is also coming off an 11th-place finish at the Fortinet Championship where he gained 6.8 strokes ball-striking, good for his best ball-striking week since May. He seems to have found the putter again as well, as Zalatoris has gained over 2.5 strokes putting in two of his last three starts, and both of those have come on Bermuda-grass greens.

Mito Pereira (33/1, Bet365)

While this will be Mito Pereira’s first appearance at the C.C. of Jackson, the young Chilean has the perfect game for the Southern track. Over his last 36 rounds, Pereira ranks well above field average in all eleven statistical metrics that I am weighing this week, except putting. He is plenty long off the tee, he makes birdies in bunches, he capitalizes on par fives, and he is an above average wedge player. Pereira has also shown an affinity for easier courses with a lot of driver holes, with top-five finishes at the 3M Open, Barbasol Championship, and most recently, the Fortinet Championship.

Last season’s three-time Korn Ferry Tour winner has not struggled with much of a learning curve yet on the PGA Tour, and his gaudy ball-striking numbers give reason to believe that he has a long career ahead of him. In his last start at the Fortinet Championship, Pereira gained 2.5 strokes off the tee and 6.2 strokes on approach. He held the solo lead at one point on Saturday but struggled with his flat-stick as the weekend progressed. The more reps that Pereira gets in contention at the PGA Tour level the better, and given his proven track record of closing tournaments, I’m confident the Chilean’s first victory is not far away.

Charley Hoffman (36/1, FanDuel)

It just feels like time for Charley Hoffman. The four-time PGA Tour winner has been percolating all season, and the C.C. of Jackson is a course that should suit his game to a tee. Over his last 36 rounds, Hoffman ranks third in strokes gained approach, fifth in birdies or better gained, seventh in proximity from 100-125 yards, 21st in driving distance, and eighth in greens in regulation gained. The UNLV product is long off the tee and thrives in easier scoring conditions, which at a very elementary level, should translate to success here. In each of his three appearances at the Sanderson Farms, Hoffman has improved, culminating in a sixth-place finish last year.

After a scorching hot spring, the San Diego native cooled towards the end of the summer, which have may thrown some off his scent. With that being said, he’s coming off a 22nd-place finish at the Fortinet Championship where he gained 1.2 strokes off the tee, and 1.8 strokes on approach. Hoffman can be found as low as 20/1 at other books, so 36 feels like an awfully fair number for a player that is overdue to pick up PGA Tour victory number five.

Joseph Bramlett (80/1, BetMGM)

This is actually an instance where I bet a player at slightly lower odds than I had him projected. I think the odds are really telling us something about Joseph Bramlett, who is nearly always in the triple digits, regardless of field strength. The Stanford University product can be found as low as 60/1 this week at some sportsbooks.

The case for Bramlett is simple. The C.C. of Jackson is an awesome course for him, and he’s coming off one of the best ball-striking performances of his career. Over his last 36 rounds, Bramlett is the number one player in this entire field in driving distance, and he just capped off a week where he gained 3.5 strokes off the tee, and 4.9 strokes on approach at the Fortinet Championship. Bramlett also won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship early this month, which was evidently a big confidence booster, as he hit the ball beautifully in his next PGA Tour start. There’s something going on with Bramlett right now, and given how he’s plummeted from his usual spot on the odds board in the triple digits, I am clearly not the only one who has noticed.

Luke List (125/1, BetMGM)

Luke List is not a player I tend to endorse because his putting can be so maddening, but if there is ever a course where horrific putters seem to rise to the occasion, it’s the C.C. of Jackson. Similar to previous Sanderson Farms winners Sergio Garcia and Cameron Champ, List is absolutely awesome off the tee, ranking sixth in strokes gained off the tee, and seventh in driving distance, over his last 36 rounds.

I have little concern that List, who already has a runner-up finish here, can dominate this course off the tee. The fate of this wager most definitely rests on his putter, but for how shaky that area of List’s game has been, he’s actually managed to stay relevant this season and rack up decent finishes. The Vanderbilt University product finished the 2020-2021 season with four top-10s. Two of them came at the Wells Fargo and Farmer’s Insurance Open, on difficult courses with good fields, and the other two came at the Barbasol Championship and John Deere Classic, easier courses where one can bomb away and is forced to make birdies. List has lost a combined 2.5 strokes putting across those four top-10 finishes this year, which is honestly hard to comprehend. He’s put himself in position to win multiple times this season despite putting below the field average. I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not he is good enough to win. He just needs to muster one of those weeks where he gains two strokes putting, which might be just enough this week.

Adam Schenk (160/1, FanDuel)

This is just a silly number on Adam Schenk. For context, Schenk is between 70 and 110/1 at most other books, so as soon as I saw the 160 that FanDuel was hanging, I acted immediately. To my knowledge, that number is still available. Whether or not you have access to that specific number on FanDuel, my projections had Adam Schenk as a 100/1 golfer this week, and I fully endorse a play on him anywhere you can get triple digits.

Schenk has played this course four times and finished a respectable 43rd, seventh, 36th, and 32nd. The 29-year old is plenty long off the tee, awesome on par fives, hits a ton of greens, and can make birdies in bunches. I’ve discussed trending ball-striking as a theme for me this week, and Schenk is coming off both his best off the tee week of the season and his best approach week in over two months. He’s thrived before in low scoring events, and he continues to put up solid finishes on this track. This was a no-brainer at this number.

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19th Hole

Tony Finau gives courtside golf lesson to Dwyane Wade at Utah Jazz game

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If last night is anything to go by, then it looks like Tony Finau has taken up coaching golf in the off-season.

While attending the Utah Jazz opening game on Wednesday night, Finau was spotted sitting courtside with future hall-of-famer Dwyane Wade.

During the game, the two stars of their respective sports took a break from the on court action to discuss some mechanics of the golf swing. Finau was seen giving D-Wade some advice on how to grip the golf club and employ proper wrist action through impact .

I don’t expect to see Wade on the PGA Tour anytime soon, but getting golf advice from the best golfer to come out of the state of Utah certainly won’t hurt his handicap.

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19th Hole

Young fan pens touching letter to his favorite golfer Tommy Fleetwood

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Back in Japan, Tommy Fleetwood was reunited with his biggest fan at Narashino Country Club when he arrived to play the ZOZO Championship this week.

The popular Englishman revealed that he received a heartwarming letter from a young Japanese fan, Ryota Kato, which he shared on his Twitter page. When they first met, Fleetwood gave Ryota an autographed glove and the young man has never forgotten it.

Ryota’s presence at the ZOZO Championship this week as Fleetwood’s “wingman”, may have given him the boost he needed to get off to a strong start at Narashino Country Club. After struggling on Tour for most of last season, the 30-year old Englishman posted a 67 (-3) and stands tied for 6th after round one.

Ryota will be watching the next three rounds anxiously as his favorite professional golfer competes for the trophy. Maybe the young fan cheering him along is exactly what Tommy needs to finally get his first career PGA Tour win.

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19th Hole

Nelly Korda reveals her main swing thought and why she plays an ‘amateur’ driver

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Nelly Korda has had an incredibly successful 2021, winning her maiden major and then backing that up by taking Gold at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

Earlier this year, the 23-year-old switched to Titleist’s game improvement TSi1 driver. This week on the FAIRGAME podcast with Adam Scott, Korda revealed how a first-ever visit to the Titleist Performance Institute to get properly fitted was behind the switch.

“I actually went to TPI for the first time in my entire life this year. End of January. And I was using the old Epic driver, like a five-year-old driver, I couldn’t get fit for a driver at all. 

Then I went to TPI, and they fit me into their driver, which by the way, is an amateur driver (laughing). And they were like ‘This is the first time a pro has ever won with this driver'”

In addition to the club fitting, Korda added that a major key behind her success with the TSi1 driver is the aesthetics of the club: “I really like the look of it (TSi1 driver). I need to like the look of my clubs; if I don’t, then I can’t hit them.”

The Gold Medalist has one of the best looking swings in the sport, and stressed the importance of tempo while sharing her primary swing thought:

“My main thought in my swing, because it gets really long, is shoulder to chin. Once my shoulder hits my chin, then I start my downswing.”

The World Number One also made a surprising admission on the show, telling Scott how much she hates to hit the range. 

“I hate spending time on the range. I absolutely can’t stand it. I can spend maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but recently in the past year and a half, I’ve definitely been spending more time on my swing, especially recently.”

To listen to the interview in full, click here.

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