- 2018: Cameron Champ (-21)
- 2017: Ryan Armour (-19)
- 2016: Cody Gribble (-20)
- 2015: Peter Malnati (-18)
- 2014: Nick Taylor (-16)
While Cameron Champ’s win was at the time regarded as the coming out party of the next great young American golfer, all five of these players are below average players on the PGA Tour. Considering the Sanderson the last few years was an opposite field event, it’s not a surprise that a mediocre professional caught fire for four days to win over a weak field.
How did these guys do it? All of them finished inside the Top 10 in Strokes Gained – Putting on the week, and four of 5 of them finished top 2. Additionally, only Ryan Armour finished inside the Top 10 on the week in Strokes Gained – Approach, which is definitely an unconventional way of winning on the PGA Tour. Lastly, Cameron Champ, Cody Gribble and Nick Taylor all ranked inside the Top 15 on the week in driving distance, and only Ryan Armour finished inside the Top 30 on the week in driving accuracy.
While this year’s field is still woefully weak, it is stronger in terms of young players with high ceilings and loads of raw talent. Between the super class of rookies from the Korn Ferry Tour and young guns with PGA Tour experience like Joaquin Niemann and Sungjae Im, a more quality ball striker is likely to prevail this week. Additionally, hot temperatures may make the usually smooth bermuda greens a little rougher this week, which may not give the strong putters as big of an advantage as they typically have had at the Country Club of Jackson.
Here’s who I like (with odds courtesy of mybookie.ag):
Brian Harman – 25/1: Harman continued his resurgence of form with a great finish at the Greenbrier last week. Harman gained 1.38 strokes per round on the field tee-to-green and 1.27 strokes per round with his putting. After a very poor 2019, he really is starting to get back into the good form he showed over the course of 2017 and 2018 that vaulted him inside the Top 30 in the OWGR. With both his ball striking and putting coming in hot, I like his odds to get back in the winners circle this weekend.
Scottie Scheffler – 25/1: It’s rare for a PGA Tour rookie to win at such a young point in their career, but this new group of rookies come into the PGA Tour with loads of ability that doesn’t make that prospect quite as daunting. Scheffler had an awesome start to the Greenbrier but faded a bit over the weekend as his putter cooled off, but his ball striking all weekend was wonderful. Scheffler was one of the leaders in putting on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, and I expect him to bounce back in that category at the Sanderson. If that happens, a trip to the winners circle is right around the corner.
Doc Redman – 90/1: Redman is a bit of the forgotten man of the talented rookie class, but unlike the others he earned his PGA Tour card through his play against the big boys. Redman’s had a few blow up spots over the last few months, but at his best he’s a long player off the tee, a solid ball striker with his irons and can get hot with his putter. One of these tournaments he’ll put it all together, and I like his 90/1 price for someone as high of a ceiling as he has.
Robby Shelton, Mark Hubbard & Harry Higgs – 100/1+: I was very impressed with all three of these players last week in their PGA Tour debuts, and not only do I like them as cheap DraftKings options this week but as long shots to win the tournament as well. Given their play last week, their overall profile of their game and the weak field, each are worth a couple of long shot bets to win the tournament.
Matchups and Props
Brian Harman -120 over Cameron Smith: The reasons I like Harman are above. As for Smith, there’s just not a lot to get excited about his game heading into this tournament. He’s a good ball striker but has had trouble in that area over the last few months, and his putting has been very inconsistent. While I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith put up a good performance this week, Harman has a higher floor and is my preferred side in this matchup.
Sebastian Munoz -115 over Luke List: While List is long off the tee and has had success at this golf course in the past, his game has really deteriorated after showing a lot of promise in 2018. Both his putting and ball striking has been very erratic over the last six months, and Munoz is a player on the rise who I like to show well this week.
Kyle Stanley -110 over Si Woo Kim: I’ve just never been a fan of Si Woo’s game. Maybe it’s because I always seem like I’m on the wrong side of fading or riding him (which may be a cautionary tale to the reader to back this play). But he’s so wildly inconsistent and can follow up huge weeks with complete duds. Si Woo comes into this event with very up and down form, so I prefer the player who’s been much more consistent and seems to have his game in check.