Sanderson Farms Championship Picks

Week one of the new PGA season is in the books. Joaquin Niemann shot a 62 on Saturday to take control of the tournament. From there he cruised to a six shot victory. This is his first PGA victory. Congrats to the young Chilean.

So there is a new cut line rule? To be honest I did not know there was a new rule for the biggest sweat on Friday’s. Nonetheless, I love the reduction in weekend players. It makes six of six in players making the cut a little more valuable. If we look at the Greenbrier as an example. In the previous three events it has run, 77 players (twice) and 74 have been the number through the weekend. Last week 67 players. Now that many players might seem like it should matter. If a high owned player is one of those who fall victim to the new cut line, then it could turn DFS tournaments on their heads.

I regards to my article last week? It was a mixed bag. On one hand I had four players who missed the cut, but I did have the winner. If you know how self critical I am then you would also know I am more disappointed than excited, four missed cuts.

Sanderson Farms

This week the lads of the Tour head to The Country Club of Jackson in Jackson Mississippi. In years past the Sanderson Farms event has been like Danny DeVito in Twins. The B grade tournament held at the exact same time as a bigger and stronger tournament. Not anymore! Danny has all grown up and It’s Always Sunny in Mississippi! Meaning this is a full fledged PGA tournament. Standard FedEx Cup points on the line, with a trip to Augusta as well.

The course is 7,460 yards long and plays to a Par 72. Greens are running between 12 and 13 on Stimpmeter. The average green size is 6,200 square feet, putting them on a similar size level as TPC Scottsdale. The greens, fairway and rough are all Bermudagrass. The CC of Jackson also includes 7 water hazards and 56 bunkers. Over the winter all the bunkers were renovated to the Better Billy Bunker system. Meaning the bunkers should keep their form better than regular bunkers. Even when heavy rains hit. Four extra bunkers were built on holes 3, 11, 14 and 16. The first three are Par 5 holes.

The weather in Jackson for this weekend is a bit suspect for Thursday afternoon. According to the ECMWF weather model, afternoon thunderstorms are in play. This storm will bring mild winds with it. On the following Friday the same level of winds will be blowing late morning. If the first round is pushed back until Friday morning, then the same group could hit the same winds twice. I’d give a slight advantage to the Thursday morning, Friday afternoon tee time.

Golfers

Brandt Snedeker

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 41st
DraftKings Price: $10,700
Course History: None
Last Event: 23rd (Tour Champ)

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Analysis:
Top pick this week goes the Brandt Snedeker. In his last ten starts, Sneds has four top ten finishes. His last event was a tied 23rd at the Tour Championship. Though a disappointing finish it still was the Tour Championship. Two of the last three starts has seen him finishing in the top ten in strokes gained on approach. With the greens being medium in size and quick, I like his combination of approach shots and putting.

Sneds has no prior history at this event.

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Lucas Glover

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 61st
DraftKings Price: $10,200
Course History: 5 events, 5 made cuts
Last Event: 29th (Tour Champ)

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Analysis:
Glover had a fantastic season in 2019. Finishing 25th in strokes gained tee to green and 57th in strokes gained putting. It is funny to see that he ranked better in strokes gained putting than Par 5 scoring last season.

From the tournament history side he has played five events here and made the cut all five times. His last two trips to CC of Jackson has had him finish 5th in 2017 and 14th last season. With only one of those rounds being sub Par. In fact he has only three rounds over Par in twenty trips around the property.

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Cameron Smith

Nationality: Australia
Official World Rank: 45th
DraftKings Price: $9,800
Course History: 2 events, 1 made cut
Last Event: 24th (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
Next up is my fellow countryman, Cameron Smith. So far this calendar year Smith has played 20 events with only missing 5 cuts. Over the past few years Smith has played well around the Fall part of the Tour. Between now and December Smith will pick up a few top ten finishes worldwide. Some will be on the PGA Tour, while others will be on some lesser Tours, nonetheless they are coming.

Last week Smith positioned himself very well before the weekend. On Saturday he slipped up shooting two over and losing all momentum. The flat stick is what kept inside the top 25 at the Greenbrier.

Smith has played twice here, missing the cut on the first attempt and placing 11th in 2017.

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Brian Harman

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 90th
DraftKings Price: $9,700
Course History: 1 event, 1 made cut
Last Event: 3rd (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
In 2019 Brian Harman has played 25 events, he has four top ten finishes. Those four top ten finishes have come in his last eight events. Two of those in his last three events. His last poor finish (52nd) was in a playoff event, something that this event is not. His last missed cut was at a major, something this event is not either.

Last week Harman placed third at The Greenbrier. Two rounds of 65 and one of 66. The 70 on Saturday is what took him out of contention. Well that and Niemann playing lights out. Only Niemann and Hovland outscored Harman on Sunday.

In his lone trip to CC of Jackson, Harman finished 40th. That week he shot under Par in all four rounds. He and Smith would be solid anchors in a more balanced lineup.

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Sebastián Muñoz

Nationality: Colombia
Official World Rank: 179th
DraftKings Price: $7,900
Course History:2 events played, 2 cuts made
Last Event: 7th (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
I have glossed over the 8K players and dipped into some of the more cap friendly picks. Sebastián Muñoz is the first man up. The man from Colombia has played 23 events in 2019 and only missed seven cuts. If that remains it will be a career low, despite the fact he is playing on a harder Tour. Amazing.

Muñoz also has five top ten finishes under his belt in 2019. Besides that he has two 11th placed finishes as well. A few times this year he has backed a top ten up with another top ten. I love that consistency. Last week he finished seventh behind three straight 66 rounds Friday to Sunday.

He has played twice here at CC of Jackson. Making the cut twice (50th & 35th).

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Lanto Griffin

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 209th
DraftKings Price: $7,300
Course History: None
Last Event: 13th (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
Besides Niemann, Lanto Griffin was a solid play from my list last week. He was in second place after Thursday, finishing 13th for the tournament. He had positive values for all strokes gain statistics, though putting was his strongest, gaining 1.265 strokes with the flat stick. If he can keep this up, he’ll be another solid play this week for the price. Unlike last week, Griffin has no prior history at the Sanderson Farms event.

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Brice Garnett

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 171st
DraftKings Price: $7,200
Course History: 3 events played, 2 cuts made
Last Event: 36th (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
Brice Garnett is not a player that will wow you. He started this season in similar fashion as he ended last season. Finishing midway down the leaderboard on Sunday. That is not a bad thing though. As I stated above, the less golfers to get through to the weekend the more important the cut makers become. Garnett had five straight made cuts before the playoffs. Those finishes were 17th, 23rd, 37th, 18th and 6th. He missed the cut in the first playoff, ending his season. As I mentioned above, this is not a playoff caliber event.

Garnett has played this event three times. He has made the cut twice with one top ten finish (9th).

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Mark Hubbard

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 293rd
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Course History: 2 events, 2 made cuts
Last Event: 10th (Greenbrier)

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Analysis:
The final golfer is one who I’ve written about in the past. He was always low owned and considering his price point produced solid finishes. Unless he is proposing to his girlfriend on the 18th green at Pebble Beach during the AT&T Pebble Beach event. But I digress.

So often you hear about the PGA player who loses their card and is dropped to the Korn Ferry Tour. Said player fights their way back to the PGA Tour with a greater appreciation of the work needed to stay on Tour. This sums up Mark Hubbard. He is back playing PGA events and has started off well placing 10th at The Greenbrier. He finished 24th in strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained putting. That is a great recipe for strong finishes.

In his two previous trip the Jackson, Hubbard has finished 54th and 51st. Though both years he struggled on the putting surface, losing strokes on the greens both times. If he can keep his putting stroke from last week going, there is no reason he couldn’t finish higher than 2015 and 2016.

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There are some of my picks for the Sanderson Farms Championship this week.

Good luck to all.

Cheers,
Gibb

About the Author

  • Gibb Pollard (gibbathy)

  • Gibb Pollard has been a member of RotoGrinders since 2012. He is an example of the power of the RotoGrinders blog section, taking a little weekly PGA blog in 2012 and turning it into a two-time FSWA nominated column. In 2014 he took down the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year award. Originally hailing from Australia, he is a regular on our PGA GrindersLive shows, giving our cast of hosts some international flavor.

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