2020 Sanderson Farms Championship Preview, Picks, and Betting Strategies

2020 Sanderson Farms Championship Preview and Betting Strategies

Professional golf continues to roll through the fall, as the PGA Tour heads down to Mississippi to play the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson. As always, here are your Sanderson Farms Championship Picks.

Here is everything to know about the tournament before a bettor places a single wager on it.

Sanderson Farms Championship: The Field

There is a little more star power at this tournament than there was in Puntacana last week. Headlining the field is Louis Oosthuizen, who makes his first start after an outstanding showing at the U.S. Open. Despite his illustrious resume, he has yet to win in North America. He will look to rectify that this week.

Another notable name in the field this week is Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler tested positive for COVID-19 the week of the U.S. Open and withdrew from the tournament. It’s a shame because he was playing so well heading into the event. He’ll look to pick up where he left off to try and win for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Other notables in the field this week include Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, Byeong Hun An, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, and Branden Grace.

For the full field, click here.

The Golf Course

In 1914, a group of wealthy local businessmen helped fund and build the Country Club of Jackson. The country club was relocated in the 1960s, where it remains to this day.

The country club underwent a significant renovation in 2008 by John Fought. His vision was to reincorporate classic Donald Ross design features and restore the greens with new Bermuda turfgrass.  After the renovation, the club successfully lobbied the PGA Tour to move the Sanderson Farms Championship away from the Annandale Golf Club and hosted the tournament on its Dogwood and Azalea Championship Courses for the first time in 2015.

Some Donald Ross renovations are tremendously successful, such as the renovation of the Sedgefield Country Club for the Wyndham Championship. Unfortunately, the work done at the Country Club of Jackson is one of the weaker jobs performed:

That is not to say the golf course is bad. It is a perfectly fine one. One can definitely see classic Donald Ross principles in the golf course. The golf course has a classic out to in routing. It has a nice mix of left and right doglegs to force players to work the ball both ways. There is nice positioning and undulation of greens that will force players to hit the correct side of the fairway.

But unless Fought wanted to move a ton of dirt there isn’t a whole lot that could be done to the flat, swampy piece of property to make it more interesting. He did not try to force anything on the golf course and focused simply on creating a solid, no-nonsense track. But the golf course doesn’t pop on television and won’t do much to draw the eyes of casual viewers away from weekend football.

Sanderson Farms Championship Picks and Betting Strategies

Because the field is typically weak, it is not easy to identify what skillsets work at the Country Club of Jackson. The vast majority of players this week are below average ball strikers on the PGA Tour who are very inconsistent. It’s a tough proposition to try and identify who’s peaking and who’s fading because of how unreliable they are week to week.

There are a few things about the golf course, however, that does give clues as to who should play well. For one, there is a lot of room to navigate off the tee that allows the golf course to be bombed and gouged. Most fairway bunkers are about 290-300 yards off the tee, but longer hitter can carry most of them. Though there are doglegs, many are not severe enough where a player might want to play positional golf. A longer player can also cut off many of the dog-legs to set up much shorter shots into the green.

Additionally, players who historically rank highly in putting categories have fared well at the golf course. Part of that has to do with the profile of players who make regular appearances at the golf course. Weaker players often make up for their ball-striking disadvantages with strong putting. Another reason is that birdies are plentiful in this tournament, so good putting is a necessity. Lastly, in the fall the Bermuda greens roll more smoothly because it has less grain in it. When that happens, stronger putters can take advantage of the truer rolling greens better than weaker ones.

Historical skillset charts reveal the importance of driving distance and putting at the tournament:

(Per DataGolf)

Coincidentally, the relative skill set plot chart looks a lot like the one from the Corales Puntacana Championship. Several players in the field this week also played in Puntacana. Anyone who played well last week can carry forward good form into the Sanderson. Another correlated golf course is Torrey Pines South, which is a place often dominated by longer hitters off the tee.

The two most recent winners of this tournament are Cameron Champ and Sebastian Munoz. Both of these players are strong and long off the tee and ride streaky putting. This seems to be the winning ticket for your Sanderson Farms Championship Picks.

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