Sanderson Farms Championship Round 4 Betting Guide: Finding Value Using Strokes Gained Data
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Sergio Garcia.
Moving Day lived up to its billing at the Sanderson Farms Championship, as Cameron Davis made the most impactful jump of the day with a 9-under 63, climbing 23 spots into a tie for first. Sergio Garcia continues to putt with his eyes closed, and apparently it’s working well enough as he joins Davis in the final pairing on Sunday, tied for the lead. J.T. Poston is other co-leader going into the final round in a jam-packed leaderboard that features 14 players within 4 shots of the lead.
There is a realistic scenario where anyone within six, seven, or even eight shots of the lead, as Davis was going into Saturday, has a chance to win this tournament. That expands the contenders to a group of 38 players, and sets up what is sure to be an exciting Sunday at Jackson Country Club.
Let’s take a look at the strokes gained data to see how the players got to their current positions, and see who stands out heading into the final round.
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.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
I made the call to buy Garcia after Thursday’s round, and I am holding to that on Sunday. As I mentioned in the summary, Garcia has been the most steady player through the first three rounds.
The co-leader has led the field tee-to-green this week, and he continued that play on Saturday, when he gained more than four strokes in that category. He’s been impressive throughout his game, and even held just above field average on the greens. I like Garcia to come through with his 11th TOUR win on Sunday, using that experience and his recent strong play to pull out the victory down the back nine.
I stuck by Garcia this week but have waffled back and forth on my next buy. I suggested Denny McCarthy in a matchup to start the week, but I didn’t love how he got to his position following the first two rounds. He did a full 180 on Saturday, as his tee-to-green game was dialed in, but his traditionally hot putter left shots out there for him.
I’m going to do a 180, as well, and go back in with a buy on McCarthy for Sunday. He found something tee-to-green in Round 3, as he gained strokes in all three metrics, including gaining more than a stroke on the field with his irons. He actually lost strokes on the field with his putter on Saturday, but I fully expect the TOUR’s best putter from last season to bounce back with a solid putting round on Sunday. I’ll buy back in on McCarthy as he looks like a player that will be in contention down the stretch.
Scott Stallings has been steady throughout the week at Jackson Country Club. He’s gained an average of over two and a half strokes tee-to-green each round this week, and continued that strong play in Round 3.
Stallings shot a 4-under 68 to climb into a tie for 14th heading into the final round. He gained more than three strokes on the field ball striking on Saturday and was able to roll it at field average on the green. This type of round tomorrow will lead to a solid finish, with a Top-5 finish in reach, and he’s a buy I’m in on in all formats for Round 4.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
The old adage in golf is that it’s difficult to follow up a great round with another great round. That is exactly what Davis faces on Sunday as he heads into the final round at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The young Australian finds himself tied for the lead after a flawless 9-under 63 on Saturday. Looking at the strokes gained data, you won’t find anything wrong with a round like that, but now he has to follow it up in the final pairing with Garcia.
Davis does have wins as a professional, in the 2017 Australian Open, and on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018. He won both of those events coming from behind as he trailed by six strokes going into the final round in each of those events, which will not be his positioning tomorrow. The pressure of the final group, while he seeks his first TOUR win alongside a player with double digit wins, are the intangible aspects I’m playing with his fade tomorrow. All the credit to him if he gets it done, but from a betting standpoint, the fade looks like the right play going into the final round.
I don’t necessarily like doubling down on any plays, but it looks like I’m going to have to do that twice this week. It’s simply impossible to look at the top of the leaderboard and ignore how Charley Hoffman is playing. As I mentioned yesterday, he was the 88th best putter on tour last season, and he is now entirely reliant on his flat stick to stay in contention.
Hoffman has lost the ball striking, especially the irons that led him to his first round co-lead. He followed up losing 1.46 strokes with his irons on Friday, with losing another 1.40 strokes on approach on Saturday. Charley lost strokes in all categories tee-to-green in Round 3, but the putter held him together again to stay in the Top 6 heading into Sunday. He remains on the fade list for me in all formats tomorrow, and looks to be a good target to play against in matchups.
Looking outside of the Top 10, Maverick McNealy has been one of the worst players tee-to-green all week. In fact, of the players that made the cut, only Patton Kizzire is worse in that category, yet McNealy is in 13th position heading into Sunday.
He has done it entirely with his putter this week, as he has averaged nearly four strokes gained per round on the greens this week while losing nearly two strokes ball striking. McNealy continued that trend on Saturday, again losing strokes ball striking and tee-to-green but madking up for it by gaining more than four strokes with his putter. It’s remarkable that he posted a 5-under 67 with those numbers, but I’m making the play that he can’t sustain it on Sunday.