This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Sanderson Farms Championship
Course: Country Club of Jackson (7,461 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,188,000 and 500 FedExCup points
This will be the second year in a row in which the Sanderson Farms Championship is given full status after being an alternate event on the PGA Tour since 1994. Last year we saw Sebastian Munoz take home his first PGA Tour victory after defeating Sungjae Im in a playoff, marking the sixth consecutive year that the victor of this event has been a first-time winner. Scottie Scheffler is the clear favorite this week, as he makes his first start back from testing positive for COVID-19 and being forced out of the U.S. Open. Will Zalatoris will be in the field looking to notch his third top-10 in as many weeks on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is teeing it up this week and will be hoping to get off to a good start in the FedExCup race. Stewart Cink will be coming in off his win a few weeks ago at the Safeway Open, while Ryan Armour, Peter Malnati, and Nick Taylor will all be hoping to win for the second time at Country Club of Jackson. The weather looks superb for this event No. 4 of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season. Rain is not expected to threaten at all this week and the winds shouldn't be enough to affect these players. The greens were already prepped to run faster than they ever had at this event, but the dry conditions could make the bermudagrass that much slicker.
Key Stats to Victory
The Country Club of Jackson is a classic design that features mostly tree-lined fairways and small, undulating greens. It annually ranks amongst the hardest courses on Tour in putting inside of 10 feet. With greens expected to run at 13+ on the stimpmeter, that will make converting from short range just that much more difficult. With smaller targets, approach play should take precedent this week. Players with high-ball flights should be favored here, as they will have a much easier time stopping the ball close to the hole if these greens do firm up with the dry conditions. We likely will see more missed greens this week than usual at this event, so scrambling numbers have to be considered. Both bombers and shorter hitters will have good chances this week as long as they keep the ball in play.
FanDuel Value Picks
Scottie Scheffler ($12,300)
You want chalk? You got it in Scheffler. The former Texas standout finished T22-T15-T4-T4-T20-5th in his last six starts and established himself as a top-10 option week in and week out. He likely would have been a sneaky pick at the U.S. Open, but he unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn't compete. Now fully healthy, Scheffler should be able to attack this course with his tremendous ball striking and high ball flight. He finished T16 last season in Jackson.
Sungjae Im ($11,700)
Im is likely Scheffler's biggest competition from a talent perspective. Both players dominated the Korn Ferry Tour before coming out on the big stage and winning Rookie of the Year honors. Im was terrific pre-shutdown, but struggled coming back from the break. It seems like he is starting to find his groove again, however, finished top-25 in three of his last five starts. Im's ball striking is very dependable, ranking 22nd in SG: Tee-to-green last season. He will also be motivated after falling short in a playoff here last season.
Doc Redman ($10,800)
A popular breakout candidate this season, Redman has already gotten his sophomore campaign off to a hot start with a T3 at the season-opening Safeway Open. He comes into the week with a very generous price tag considering the overall field strength. Redman's elite iron play makes him an easy pick at the Country Club of Jackson, as last season he ranked 12th in GIR percentage, 11th in SG: Approach, and seventh in proximity.
Adam Long ($10,700)
Long was the 54-hole leader just last week in Punta Cana, but he ended up shooting a three-over 75 to drop into solo fifth place. He still is off to a very nice start to the season with a T13 at the U.S. Open the week prior. Long quietly had a very good season last year, finishing 31st in the FedExCup Standings. He is solid through the bag and the putter is hot right now.
Longer Shots with Value
Luke List ($9,800)
List is coming off a T8 in Punta Cana that could have been even better had it not been for a stagnant weekend. His length should play in his favor in Jackson, allowing him to control his shots into the green with wedges and shorter irons. Last season he ranked 22nd on Tour in SG: Tee-to-green. List has good course history here as well, notching a second-place finish back in 2017.
Xinjun Zhang ($9,700)
I went with Zhang last week and it paid off pretty well with a T11 despite a poor final round of two-over 74. It was his fourth top-15 finish in his last seven starts on the PGA Tour. Zhang currently ranks 16th in proximity to the hole and eighth in scrambling this season, two key stats to success at the Country Club of Jackson. He is also top-10 in birdie average.
Stewart Cink ($8,800)
At under $9,000 in this field, why not take a flyer on the winner from the Safeway Open just a few weeks ago? Cink currently ranks first on Tour in GIR percentage and birdie average. He is also first in scrambling and 10th in SG: Tee-to-green. The veteran played in Jackson last year and logged a solid T28.
Tyler McCumber ($8,000)
I like the value here for McCumber. You're getting a guy that is coming off a solo second last week in which he ranked top-four in driving accuracy, driving distance, GIR's, birdies, and bogey avoidance. If he can replicate that kind of ball striking, he will be right back up there with a chance on Sunday.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
We've seen players who have come out in the fall of a new season and put up a lot of good results, and we've seen players who can't seem to find their footing in the fall. This week I think you have to lean towards picking players that have already posted at least one good result this season. The majority of this field hadn't played for a few weeks when the FedExCup playoffs started, so it can be difficult to get into a rhythm when the new season starts. That's why I went with a number of players that have already shown form this season, with the exception of Scheffler, who went all the way through East Lake with fantastic finishes. I think with firm conditions expected, you have to lean towards ball-striking, but don't rule out the importance of scrambling on these small undulating greens.