Sanderson Farms Championship Round 2 Betting Guide: Finding Value Using Strokes Gained Data

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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Conners.

We are back in the states this week for the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, which means the return of strokes gained data via shotlink. We saw four players shoot 8-under on Thursday to set the pace, including defending champion Sebastian Munoz. Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, and Kevin Chappell round out the group that will hold the lead heading into Friday’s Round 2.

Overall, the course played as expected. Sixty-five players shot 2-under or better in Round 1, setting up a close tournament throughout the rest of the weekend. We’ll take a look at how the players got through their rounds today from a strokes gained perspective and use if we can use that data to identify golfers to buy and sell into Round 2.

(Click here to skip to the analysis section.)

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing 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.

Read more about Strokes Gained here.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2

Corey Conners was one of the best golfers in the field last week in the Dominican Republic but was completely off his game, missing the cut by four shots. He clearly found something during his extra time off leading into this week, as he shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday.

Conners made it happen through his traditional strong ball-striking. He ranked second in the field tee-to-green in Round 1, led by his 3.63 strokes gained on approach. In familiar fashion, the club that held him back from an even better round was his putter. The Canadian lost 1.37 strokes on the greens despite the solid round.

His putter has always held him back, so we can’t expect some drastic improvement throughout the weekend, but I am buying his ball-striking data. If Conners can keep up the strong play off-the-tee and with his irons, he doesn’t have to be perfect with his putter to compete or even win in this field.

In a birdie-fest like this is shaping up to be, I like to look down the board a bit to find buys after Round 1. It appears there will be plenty of low rounds available throughout the weekend, and I’d rather buy low on players who are a few shots back than spend up on those who posted a great first round.

Sergio Garcia fits that mold, sitting four shots behind the leaders after finally coming around on his ball-striking. It’s a credit to the Spaniard. He has played some unconventional events like the Safeway, and now he looks to find his game and get back into contention in Jackson.

I love the numbers Garcia put up on Thursday. He gained nearly three strokes tee-to-green, including more than 3.5 ball striking. Those are numbers Sergio was used to in the past, and I’m buying them as real for the rest of the weekend.

I’m buying the story as much as the stats with Camilo Villegas. He has been through a lot over the last few months, losing his young daughter to cancer. The fact he is even playing golf —and doing it at a high level — is an incredible testament to him.

Villegas led the field tee-to-green on Thursday, as he came out with four birdies in his first five holes, all of which were putts from less than five feet. His approach game was on fire throughout the day as he gained 4.5 strokes with his irons.

The big issue for Villegas today was losing more than 3.5 strokes with his putter. It held him back to just a 3-under round on Thursday despite the spectacular approach play. If he can keep his ball-striking and just get closer to field-average on the greens, we could see a phenomenal story start to come together this weekend at the Country Club of Jackson.

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3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

Kevin Chappell had a great first round and finds himself in the lead heading into Friday. However, he makes the list as my first fade due to a combination of stats and some intangibles.

Chappell lost strokes off the tee on Thursday, but he made up for that shortcoming around and on the green, where he gained 3.57 strokes putting. My issue is that we have seen some strong individual rounds from Chappell, but the fact is he had exactly one top-25 finish last season in his return from a back injury. He hasn’t been the same player since that injury, and there isn’t anything in his recent history to believe that this round is sustainable this weekend. I’m jumping in early on the fade of Chappell, and I think he will be a name that many will trend toward tomorrow, especially in DFS.

Ryan Armour posted a solid 5-under 67 on Thursday, but the stats show his putter carried him. Armour lost strokes tee-to-green including both off the tee and around the green. He ranked second in the field with his putter, gaining 4.36 strokes on the greens.

I’ll take the fade of Armour’s putter on Friday, as I think he will tumble down the board if he doesn’t find his tee-to-green game.

Cameron Tringale had a similar round to Armour, and it will result in a fade for the same reasons heading into Round 2. Tringale gained a bit tee-to-green, but it was entirely due to his short game. He lost strokes both on approach and off the tee but still managed a 4-under 68 by gaining nearly four strokes on and around the green.

I don’t expect last season’s 87th-ranked putter to sustain the 2.67 strokes gained putting he had today. This is a player who lost strokes ball-striking on Thursday and is a fairly comfortable fade in DFS and matchups tomorrow.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 1

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