2021 Sanderson Farms Championship Round 2 Buys & Fades: Buy Chasers Glover, Streelman
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Streelman
The first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship played out about as expected with plenty of low scores available around the Country Club of Jackson. Players took advantage of the four Par fives and averaged nearly a stroke and a half under par on the day.
Former Haskins Award Winner Sahith Theegala set the pace on Thursday morning with an eight-under round of 64 to take a solo lead into the second round.
Roger Sloan and Nick Watney kept pace with his lead during the morning round, but ultimately fell one shot short, as did Harold Varner. HV3 had a five-foot putt on his final hole of the opening round to match Theegala, but he was unable to convert. He will go out in the morning on Friday with a chance to position himself well for the weekend.
As is expected after just 18 holes, it is a jam-packed leaderboard with more than thirty players within four shots of the lead. This presents us with a lot of betting value going into the second round on Friday as we can comfortably look down the leaderboard for a player or two who may be in position to go low.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2
Last season was a year for breakthrough wins as a number of players found their way back to the winner’s circle after a long hiatus. Sergio Garcia did that at this event last fall, and Lucas Glover did the same at the John Deere Classic. There are often times where a win like that can rejuvenate a player’s confidence for the next time they are in the hunt.
Glover certainly showed that his game is there for him to be in the mix throughout the weekend this week. He gained strokes in all categories on Thursday as he shot a 5-under 67. The former Clemson Tiger has always had the ball striking game, but a shaky-at-best flat stick often holds him back.
It’s encouraging to see him get off to a good start throughout the bag, and with his history of some solid putting weeks at this tournament, he’s an interesting buy at an inflated +5000 on BetMGM.
It really should have been a much better round for Kevin Streelman than the 4-under day he put together. He missed just three fairways and three greens in the opening round, but he couldn’t quite convert on the many looks he had.
Streelman gained more than a stroke on the field in both ball striking metrics, ranking in the Top 20 in the field in each category. He is now just four shots back, but still has nice looking +4100 odds on FanDuel for a player that has finished in the Top 18 in three of his last four trips to this event including a T4 in 2019.
If he can find the magic that had him gain more than seven shots on the field on these greens during that tournament, he certainly has the ball striking this week to get into contention.
If you want to really dumpster dive for some deep value going into Friday, I’d look to Emiliano Grillo. We know he will need to make some putts to really get in the mix, but his numbers and 2-under round on Thursday are actually a bit better than they appear.
Grillo started his day with a really ugly double bogey where he left a chip shot short of the green, and he was only able to put the next one to 16 feet. He would two putt from there and start his round in one of the worst ways possible. The Argentinian bounced back quickly with a birdie on the next hole, and would only drop one more shot the rest of the day alongside five birdies to get in the house under par.
He hit four approaches on his final nine to inside of six feet, but only converted on one of them and only made par on both of the Par fives in that stretch. He’s a longshot and has a ton of players to climb over to get into contention, but at +13000, I’ll dabble on a player that was one of the better second round scorers on TOUR last season.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2
The most surprising name at the top of the leaderboard for me on Thursday was Nick Watney. He missed eighteen (18!) consecutive cuts last season from this event through the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July. He seems to have figured things out a bit as he has made the weekend in four of his last five tournaments but still doesn’t have a finish better than 30th.
It’s good to see that Watney is finding something in his game, but I am fading his ability to stay near the top of the leaderboard this week. His opening round 65 was aided by 3.79 strokes gained on the greens, and he didn’t gain a full stroke on the field in any metric tee to green.
These numbers aren’t sustainable for a player who has struggled for an extended period of time, especially as birdies will be needed to stay in the hunt.
Stephan Jaeger is another Korn Ferry Tour player getting a shot on the big tour. He started well on Thursday with a four-under 68 to go into the second round inside the top 20. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to see him maintaining that position based on his strokes gained numbers.
Jaeger lost 1.66 strokes to the field with his ball striking on Thursday, with a majority of that coming with his irons. This course will not allow players much success without having their approach game, but he was able to carve it out with sharp play on and around the greens. If he has to keep relying on those aspects to compete, it’s hard to see him staying in a good position the rest of the way.
Just for fun, I’ll make a bit of a bolder fade for Friday. Matthew Wolff is a player who may be able to overpower this course to some extent, but he will have to find his irons to really be in contention.
Wolff came into this week having lost strokes on approach in his last three tournaments, and continued that trend on Thursday where he lost .66 shots to the field. He certainly has the talent to win in a field like this, but I am out on him until I see his full game round into better form.