2021 Sanderson Farms Championship Odds, Picks, Preview: The Key Stats in Play at Country Club of Jackson
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Keith Mitchell
- The Country Club of Jackson hosts the Sanderson Farms Championship this week on the PGA TOUR.
- While the best of the best won’t be teeing it up, there’s plenty of talent this week in Mississippi, many with a strong track record here.
- Matt Vincenzi breaks down his picks for the event and who fits the course well below.
After an unforgettable week at the Ryder Cup, the PGA TOUR heads to Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.
The course is a 7,461 par 72 with fast Bermudagrass greens. The tournament had been an alternate field event up until the 2019-20 season when it was upgraded to a standalone event that gives the winner 500 FedEx Cup points and an invitation to the Masters.
The field is largely as expected for a swing season event but there are certainly some talented players teeing it up in Jackson this week. Some notable golfers in the 156-man field this week include Will Zalatoris, Sergio Garcia, Sungjae Im, Sam Burns and Corey Conners.
Past Winners at Country Club of Jackson
- 2020: Sergio Garcia (-19)
- 2019: Sebastian Munoz (-18)
- 2018: Cameron Champ (-21)
- 2017: Ryan Armour (-19)
- 2016: Cody Gribble (-20)
Let’s take a look at several key metrics for the Country Club of Jackson to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
Strokes Gained: Approach
SG: Approach will be important this week as the club was renovated in 2008 and tried to imitate some classic Donald Ross course features. This means the greens will be relatively small, and finding the right level on approach shots will be crucial.
The course will generate plenty of low scores, so it’s important that players give themselves plenty of birdie looks. Sergio Garcia gained 7.0 strokes on the field in his victory last year, which was third in the field.
Total strokes gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:
- Keegan Bradley (+23.3) (+3000)
- Adam Svensson (+20.3) (+13000)
- Carlos Ortiz (+16.0) (+4000)
- Joseph Bramlett (+15.3) (+6500)
- Seamus Power (+15.2) (+4500)
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Placing an emphasis on who the best drivers of the golf ball are is a smart strategy. This stat has driving accuracy built into it, and although the fairways are relatively easy to hit at the Country Club of Jackson, long and straight is always a big advantage.
I am looking for the golfers who are going to have the shortest approach shots and are coming in from the fairway. Last year Sergio Garcia led the field (+5.5) in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
Total strokes gained: Off the Tee in past 24 rounds:
- Taylor Pendrith (+22.6)(+5000)
- Keith Mitchell (+16.4)(+8000)
- Hudson Swafford (+15.3)(+7000)
- Sergio Garcia (+14.8)(+2000)
- Anirban Lahiri (+14.0)(+20000)
Prior to Garcia, the past two winners at the Country Club of Jackson were Sebastian Munoz and Cameron Champ — both guys who hit it long off of the tee. With the rough not being a major problem this week, the bomb-and-gauge approach should be very successful.
Driving Distance gained over past 24 rounds:
- Taylor Pendrith (+24.2)(+5000)
- Joseph Bramlett (+22.6)(+6500)
- Brandon Hagy (+18.5)(+20000)
- Trey Mullinax (+18.4)(+20000)
- Matthew Wolff (+17.3)(+4000)
Strokes Gained: Par 5
Three of the four par 5s on the course should be reachable by the longer hitters, with the longest par 5 hole measuring 587 yards. Finding eagle and birdie opportunities on the Par 5s this week may be the difference in determining a winner.
Total Strokes Gained: Par 5 in past 24 rounds:
- Lucas Herbert (+16.4)(+8000)
- Taylor Pendrith (+15.0)(+5000)
- Kevin Tway (+13.6)(+18000)
- Chad Ramey(+11.4)(+6500)
- Michael Gligic (+11.4)(+30000)
SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)
Historically, SG: Putting at the Sanderson Farms Championship has weighed as the most indicative score of the tournament winner. While this isn’t necessarily rare in PGA TOUR tournaments, it was 10% more important at Country Club of Jackson than the average course on TOUR.
The greens have been either “fast” or “lightning” in every round the tournament has been played. Whoever wins this week will need to catch a hot putter, so the best putters on Bermuda should have the best chance to do that.
Total Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda+Fast or Lightning) past 24 rounds:
- Sam Burns(+25.6)(+1400)
- Chesson Hadley (+24.6)(+20000)
- Denny McCarthy (+20.7)(+15000)
- Zach Johnson (+18.6)(+8000)
- Brendon Todd (+16.7)(+6000)
Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.
These rankings are comprised of SG: APP (25%) SG: OTT: (25%), Driving Distance (18%), SG: Par 5 (18%), SG: Putting (Bermuda) 14%.
- Luke List (+8000)
- Will Zalatoris (+1600)
- Matt Wallace (+8000)
- Mito Pereira (+2800)
- Joseph Bramlett (+6500)
- Carlos Ortiz (+4000)
- Sergio Garcia (+2000)
- Keegan Bradley (+3000)
- Adam Schenk (+8000)
- Patrick Rodgers (+5000)
Fortinet Championship Best Bets
Keegan Bradley (+3300, Bet365): Keegan Bradley reminds me a lot of Sergio Garcia when he was coming into this event last year. Sergio had a great season the year prior but hadn’t been able to string it all together for a win. Keegan Bradley is in a similar spot this season. While it may have gotten overlooked because of his lack of a win, it was one of Bradley’s best seasons in recent memory.
Keegan ranks 1st in the field in approach in his past 24 rounds and is one of the most impressive players tee to green in the field. The aspect of his game that has been a hindrance to claiming a victory recently is his woes with the putter. However, last season Bradley seemed to figure out these greens as he gained 3.0 strokes on the field en route to an impressive fourth-place finish.
As frustrating as it can be to back Bradley at times, there are few golfers in the field that come with the pedigree or winning upside that Bradley does.
Matthew Wolff (+5500, Bet365): Matthew Wolff is a boom or bust type golfer who makes a lot of sense for an outright bet. Could he play horribly this week and miss the cut? Absolutely. However, if he gets into the mix on Sunday he is a golfer who carries a lot of win equity.
Additionally, Wolff has the correct skill set to win at Country Club of Jackson. When examining recent winners and seeing names such as Sergio Garcia, Cameron Champ, and Cody Gribble it is quite obvious that there is a certain skill set that works at this course: Bombing it off the tee. Wolff certainly fits the bill as he ranks fifth in the field in driving distance. Similar to 2019 Sanderson Farms champion Cameron Champ, Matthew Wolff has plenty of deficiencies in his game. While that may make him wildly inconsistent from week to week, it also allows for ceiling performances every once in a while at a course that suits his strengths. I see this potentially being one of those weeks for the 22 year old.
Keith Mitchell (+8000, DraftKings): Country Club of Jackson should be an ideal fit for Keith Mitchell’s game. Although he missed the cut in his first appearance in the event last season, he comes into the week playing much better golf than he was at this time last year. Mitchell has two top ten finishes in his past four starts.
When Keith is playing well, he tends to do much of his damage off of the tee. We have seen his driver really come to life as he is averaging +2.7 strokes off the tee in his past five starts. This would be a perfect week to have a peak driving week as Country Club of Jackson has been very kind to golfers who crush it off the tee. Mitchell ranks 2nd in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in his past 24 rounds. If the Bermuda putting specialist can get hot on the greens, he has a great shot to win.
Lucas Herbert (+12500, Bet365): Those who follow the European Tour will know that Lucas Herbert seems a bit mispriced this week considering how talented he is. We haven’t necessarily seen his talent translate thus far on the PGA TOUR, but it is only a matter of time.
The Australian has all of the required skills to compete at Country Club of Jackson. He ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Par 5. With four Par 5’s on the course that should all be in reach in two for Herbert, he should absolutely feast on those holes throughout the week. Herbert also ranks 9th in the field in driving distance which should put him in a great position to score all week. It is yet to be determined whether or not Herbert will contend on the PGA Tour this season but at this price it’s worth the gamble.
Camilo Villegas (+22500, Bet365):
There are a couple reasons why Camilo Villegas stands out to me as an extreme long shot this week. Although his results have been up and down of late, he is gaining strokes on the field in every measurable category with the exception of putting so it would seem his form is decent enough at the moment.
However, what really makes Villegas stand out for me this week are his strokes gained metrics from last season’s Sanderson Farms Championship. The Colombian gained 11.6 strokes from tee to green which trailed only the eventual winner Sergio Garcia. He also gained 7.3 strokes on approach which was also second in the field. His undoing was with the putter as he lost 5.7 strokes putting. While that may be a concern, he is historically a positive putter on Bermuda grass greens so there is reason to believe we could see a better performance this week.
When analyzing leaderboard and tournament correlation, one event that stands out is the Wyndham Championship, which Villegas won in 2014. If the 39 year old can find some comfortability at Country Club of Jackson this week I see no reason why he can’t find himself in contention come the weekend.
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