Weekly Preview: Sanderson Farms Championship

Weekly Preview: Sanderson Farms Championship

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Sanderson Farms Championship

Country Club of Jackson
Jackson, MS

The PGA Tour heads to Jackson, MS this week as the golf world ponders whether the US Ryder Cup team will ever lose again. Seriously, the US team has always seemingly had a bright future concerning the Ryder Cup, but it's hard to find a time in history when their prospects look better than they do know. Most of the talent on the US team has at least a solid decade before you can even consider a slowdown, while the heart of the European team is knocking on the door of the Champions Tour. The Euro's will rebound at some point, but the cupboard looks rather bare right now and there's no reason to think the US team will take a step back anytime soon. The real test of course comes in two years when the US team will try to do something that hasn't been done for a while, win on foreign soil. Now, back to reality and the fall portion of the PGA Tour season. Whereas this portion of the season used to be filled with weak events, now those weaker events are merely sprinkled in. Unfortunately, we've got a weaker event this week as not many big names are in the field, which isn't a huge surprise the week following the Ryder Cup. We do however have a lot of course history, so perhaps we can pick a winner this week.

LAST YEAR

Sergio Garcia shot a final-round

Sanderson Farms Championship

Country Club of Jackson
Jackson, MS

The PGA Tour heads to Jackson, MS this week as the golf world ponders whether the US Ryder Cup team will ever lose again. Seriously, the US team has always seemingly had a bright future concerning the Ryder Cup, but it's hard to find a time in history when their prospects look better than they do know. Most of the talent on the US team has at least a solid decade before you can even consider a slowdown, while the heart of the European team is knocking on the door of the Champions Tour. The Euro's will rebound at some point, but the cupboard looks rather bare right now and there's no reason to think the US team will take a step back anytime soon. The real test of course comes in two years when the US team will try to do something that hasn't been done for a while, win on foreign soil. Now, back to reality and the fall portion of the PGA Tour season. Whereas this portion of the season used to be filled with weak events, now those weaker events are merely sprinkled in. Unfortunately, we've got a weaker event this week as not many big names are in the field, which isn't a huge surprise the week following the Ryder Cup. We do however have a lot of course history, so perhaps we can pick a winner this week.

LAST YEAR

Sergio Garcia shot a final-round 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Peter Malnati.

FAVORITES

Sam Burns (16-1)

Well, that didn't take long. Just a year ago, Burns was on a list of promising young golfers on the PGA Tour and one fantastic season later, he's the favorite at a PGA Tour event. It's quite the rise for Burns, but his play has been outstanding over the past 12 months and I can't argue with his placement as the favorite this week. Now, how he responds to being "the guy" this week will be telling, but there's no reason to think he'll falter this week with the added pressure.

Will Zalatoris (18-1)

There aren't any big guns in the field this week, but there are some pretty good players, at least a few anyway. Zalatoris is coming off a great rookie season, but he left it without picking up a win. He did however earn one runner-up and eight top-10s in total. Zalatoris will surely find a win sooner rather than later and this looks like a good spot as there isn't the normal level of competition.

Sergio Garcia (20-1)

Garcia is the defending champ this week, which is always a tough spot and factor-in he's coming off an emotionally draining week at the Ryder Cup and it's hard to like his prospects this week. Garcia is coming off a solid season, but it's going to take a little time to get back to his normal self after a rough week at the Ryder Cup. It wasn't rough personally as he played well, but the thrashing his team took is bound to have some effect on his play this week.

THE NEXT TIER

Corey Conners (20-1)

With no heavy favorite this week, there really isn't much of a middle tier, so I'm forced to put guys in here that are close to the favorites. Conners is coming off a solid season, but like Zalatoris, he wasn't able to pick up a victory along the way. Conners has won on the PGA Tour, but not since 2019. His next win should come at some point this season and he won't have many opportunities better than this week.

Cam Davis (35-1)

After two under-performing seasons on the PGA Tour, Davis finally broke through with a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. At just 26 years-old, the future looks bright for Davis and while he failed to build on the momentum of that win last year, he'll surely regroup in time for the start of this season. Davis has played this event three times already in his young career and he's improved each year. Can he make the leap from T6 last year to win this year?

Matthew Wolff (40-1)

Wolff is quickly developing a reputation as one of the biggest hit or miss guys on the PGA Tour. He won nearly out of the gates after turning pro in 2019 and managed to follow that up with a solid 2020 campaign. Though he was all over the place this past season, he managed two earn two runner-ups on his way a career-high in earnings. You never know what you'll get with Wolff, which makes him an interesting win option almost every week. At this number in a weak field, he's worth a look.

LONG SHOTS

Sebastian Munoz (50-1)

It's a little surprising to see a former champ at this event so far down the odds chart, but I'm not going to complain about getting him at this number. Munoz is coming off a pretty good season which saw him earn over $2 million and land at No. 53 on the FedEx Points list. It's not clear which direction Munoz is headed as his first three seasons on the PGA Tour have all been very different, but he's in his late-20s and he shown some flashes of brilliant play, so there's reason to think he's got more in store. Perhaps another win at this event?

Carlos Ortiz (50-1)

Similar to Munoz, Ortiz has had success here as well, which makes his odds this week a little surprising. Ortiz has not won this event, but he does have two top-5s in three starts at this event. Ortiz picked up his first PGA Tour win this past season on his way to over $2.6 million in earnings. At just 30 years old, Ortiz should be entering the prime of his career. Perhaps he gets win number two this week.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Will Zalatoris - Burns is the favorite this week, but Zalatoris has the bigger name for now, which means he'll get more attention this week. It would be nice to have Zalatoris for next year, especially if he takes it to another level this season, but he likely won't have a better chance to win anywhere than he will this week against this field.

Moderately-owned Pick: Corey Conners - Conners entered this past season with a good amount of steam and while he started very well, he faded a bit as the season wore on, which is why he won't be as highly-used this week as some others. Still, he's got as much game as anyone in the field this week, it's just a matter of time before he puts it all together.

Lightly-owned Pick: Sebastian Munoz - He'd be on more teams if not for his odds, but since he's buried on that list, he'll likely be in the latter half of ownership this week. With that in mind, it's not a bad time to use him as you could get a jump on your competition and there will be no buyer's remorse about not having him in 2022.

Buyer Beware: Sergio Garcia - If you didn't figure it out already, I'm not high on Garcia's prospects this week. He's the defending champ, which is why he kept this obligation, but I can't imagine he has anything left in the tank after leaving it all on the course this past week at the Ryder Cup.

Last Week: Kevin Na - MC - $0

Season Total: $0

This Week: Sebastian Munoz - I mentioned last week that I'm going to try to not burn anyone of consequence this fall and while that may prove impossible when some bigger events come along, I can certainly employ that strategy this week. It's not like I'm passing on this week either with Munoz, he won this event in 2019 and he was top-60 in the standings this past year, he has a shot this week.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Will Zalatoris $11,800
Middle Range: Sebastian Munoz $10,200
Lower Range: Peter Malnati $8,300

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Harold Varner III - T16

Streak: 1

This Week: Peter Malnati - There are certainly safer picks than Malnati, who missed more cuts than he made last year, but he's a streaky player and he made the cut in his most recent start. Add to that his track record here, where he's anything but streaky (5 of 6 cuts made) and you have the recipe for a winner. At 150-1, he's also a decent option for a longshot winner and he won this event in 2015 and finished runner-up last year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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