Sanderson Farms Championship: 2019-2020 Preview

It’s week two for the 2019-2020 season!

Can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one!

Sanderson Farms Championship

Country Club of Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,460
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Champion Bermuda; 6,200 sq. ft. on average.
Stimpmeter: 12 to 13′
Rough: Bermuda and Zoysia, two inches.
Bunkers: 56
Water Hazards: 7
Architects: Dick Wilson (1962); John Fought (2008).
Purse: $6.6 million; $1.188 million, 500 FEC points (winner).
Defending Champion: Cameron Champ (-21, 267)
Fact of the Week: All five winners at CCofJ are first timers on TOUR.

Notes:

  • 156 players.
  • Top 65 and ties will play the weekend.
  • No MDF anymore

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles.

Previous champions

*- playoff

Year

Winner 

Total

2018 Cameron Champ -21; Rookie co-wired included co-low round of the week with 64.
2017 Ryan Armour -19; led by five after 54, won by five; 28 birdies led the field by five. FOYVE.
2016 Cody Gribble -20; Rookie closed with 65 to come from one shot off the 54-hole lead. Not in the field this year.
2015 Peter Malnati -18; made almost 500 feet of putts to win by one.
2014 Nick Taylor -16; Rookie braved morning lows in the 30s to win the first event at CCofJ.

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 267; Champ
Course Record: 62; Castro (2015)
Defending Champion(s): n/a
Multiple Winners: n/a
First TOUR Win (most recent): All of the above.
First Win in First Appearance: Taylor, Malnati, Gribble and Champ.
Low Round Last Year: 64; Champ, Corey Conners and Carlos Ortiz. Finished 1-2-T3.
Rookies of Note Last Year: Champ, Anders Albertson (T5), Denny McCarthy (T7), Dylan Meyer (T7) and Seth Reeves (T7).
Odd Facts: Last four winners have been in the top two in Strokes-Gained: Putting and Birdie-or-Better Percentage.

Thoughts

Bigger stakes this week as the SFC stands alone on the TOUR schedule for the first time in a long time. The winner gets a full TOUR purse win PLUS a trip to Augusta (and other goodies) so the pressure just might be ratcheted up come the final round.

The CCofJ is covered in Bermuda and that’s a new angle this week. The last time the TOUR was on Bermuda was East Lake. The last time the KFT played Bermuda was I can’t remember.

Does this matter?

Yes and no. Hot golf is hot golf so I’m always riding guys in form but there are guys (read: West coast) who just aren’t comfortable on the surface. My defaults this week will be extreme heat in the form department and guys who are from the South/Southeast who grew up on Bermuda.

The average margin of victory is almost four shots but the average second place score is nearly 16-under so scoring will be paramount this week. Four Par-5 holes should help add birdies to the card and scores of par or worse will be difficult to overcome.

Of the five winners, only Gribble’s opening round 73 is par or worse. Checking the top 10 annually, there aren’t many, if any, rounds above par for the top finishers.

Toss in the fact that this isn’t an opposite field event anymore (read: deeper field) this also will be a difficult handicap this week.

If you’re superstitious, around 70 of the 156 guys in the field have won on TOUR. That narrows your choices to 80-something. That’s if the trend holds…

Good luck!

Chalk

In order of preference for this week and this tournament; LTO= LAST TIME OUT; LW= Last week; LY= Last year this event. I’m tired of typing all that out!

Sungjae Im: Gamers are furious when he doesn’t hit the top 10 and rightfully so! But seriously, he’s a machine who plays every week and doesn’t know anything different besides life on the road. #GolfIsLyf. Shreds Par-5 holes and makes plenty of birdies so I’d expect another big week as he won’t have any rust to deal with.

Brandt Snedeker: The class of the field has no problem on Bermuda, going low or playing classic-style courses. As mentioned in his presser on Tuesday he wouldn’t be here if it didn’t fit his eye or game. My concern this week is rust but if he’s dialed in with the putter, look out.

Lucas Glover: Another who tends to find his best on this surface, Glover’s ball-striking should provide his putter plenty of chances to cash in. Followed up his T5 in 2017 with T14 last year so I’m expecting another four rounds of 70 or better.

Scottie Scheffler: My OAD selection last week led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green and that travels folks. Scheffler will be facing new tracks weekly but that didn’t seem to bother him on the KFT last season as he took home the regular season and playoff money titles. His last five paydays: Win, T11, T7 (KFT Playoffs) and T7 last week.

Joaquin Niemann: Fantastic maiden victory last week on a course he’s seen a few times. Rounds of 62 and 64 won’t be easily replicated this week but his ball-striking should be. I’m never crazy about guys the week after their first wins but at 20, he might not be old enough to care. I doubt he’ll lead the field in putting again as he was No. 141 last season.

Brian Harman: Reminds me of Ryan Armour as he’ll just pummel fairways and hole a ton of putts. Last time on Bermuda T6 at Wyndham plus four top 10s in his last eight on TOUR, including T3 last week, his best in almost two years.

Wyndham Clark: I’ve been riding this train for a few months and I’m not hopping off. Similar to last year’s winner, he hits it a MILE (5th DD) but he’s a better putter (No. 8). T31 or better in five of his last seven on TOUR and he was co-FRL in 2017 as a sponsor’s exemption. Best in the field this week in Par-5 scoring.

Corey Conners: Runner-up last year after playing his final three rounds 16-under. Unfinished business as he was tied with Champ at the turn on Sunday. T27 or better in his last five starts on TOUR and three of those were Playoff events. Led the TOUR in GIR last year and was top 10 in both SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Off-the-Tee. Don’t look up the putting stats, haha.

Sebastian Munoz: Remember last week when you wondered why and he cashed T7? Well, I’m not dropping him this week.

Denny McCarthy: If I’m leaning on the GIR leader, I’ll also lean on the leader of SG: Putting. Don’t forget he’s top 10 in Par-5 scoring and BOB% plus was T7 here last year. Fits the first-time winner profile and shot 61 in Round 2 last week.

Next Tier

Just missed the list above because of a wart or two; order isn’t important.

Tom Hoge: His solo second last week was his third top 10 in his last five across two both Tours. He was fourth in birdies and fourth SG: Tee-to-Green last week and hot is hot, folks.

Grayson Murray: Too many arrows point in this direction. Hot finish on KFT. Plays well in the heat of the South. Won his only TOUR event in Alabama. Previous top 10 here with 36-hole lead.

Vaughn Taylor: Only caution this week is the layoff but he’s cashed in 10 straight with five T17 or better. Check his course form in HORSES FOR COURSES, FAM. Probably should move him up.

Harris English: Two-time TOUR winner cashed T3 last week for his best since T2 at Colonial in 2016. Led the field in fairways last week and was third in GIR plus top 10 in SG: Putting so ride the heat.

Ben An: Shot 20-under at Wyndham his last time on Bermuda on a classic course and that was good enough for solo third hahaha. Knocked the rust off last week with three rounds in the 60s before limping home with 72. I’m probably overrating him a bit but that’s more a comment on the field rather than his ball-striking and short game.

Roberto Castro: Similar to David Hearn last week, every time I find the confluence I’m usually left disappointed. BUT NOT THIS WEEK. COME ON BOBBY C.

J.T. Poston: Winner at Sedgefield didn’t mail it in as he also picked up T16 at BMW in the Playoffs. He’s never MC in his three starts here but he’s never had more than one round in the 60s. I believe that changes this week.

Martin Laird: This is his time of the year so jump on board. T7 last year suggests he’s figured it out at CCofJ. Enjoys Par-5 holes and pounds GIR (14th).

Cameron Smith: Making his third appearance here should help (MC, T11) and his only “victory” came in New Orleans on hot and humid Bermuda. Opened 67-64 before limping in at T24.

Long Shots, Course Horses, Etc.

Probably should read HORSES FOR COURSES for more dudes.

Matt Jones: Racked out a pair of top 10s in his last five, including T10 last week. BUT, there’s always BUTT down here, his course form here is worse than dire. We’ll see if form trumps it.

Emiliano Grillo: Usually starts new seasons HAWT but his form entering the week doesn’t suggest a big week. He’s top 35 in both fairways and greens and that won’t hurt this week.

Austin Cook: After a big layoff after T4-T72 to close his non-playoff season, he returned with T14 at Greenbrier. Arkansas native should be comfy here.

Patrick Rodgers: Two tries, T14 and T20. Worth a punt as the last man.

Stephan Jaeger: Monday qualifier here for a second time. T14 last year.

Brandon Hagy: Wrapped up his KFT playoffs with T5 and T2 before skipping the last event. He MC in nine straight before that and MC last week. T14 and T18 before MC last year.

Seamus Power: T29, T18 and 19th in three trips.

Bronson Burgoon: Gut play only.

Russell Henley: Because everyone was on him LAST week and that’s usually how it goes hahaha.

Joseph Bramlett: It’s been a long way back from multiple back injuries but he was 11-under thru 54 last week. Ok, I see you.

Akshay Bhatia: He’s 17. He’s turned pro. If that’s not confidence, I’m not sure what is. The decorated junior is jumping in with both feet but this isn’t his first rodeo. He MC at Valspar and was T42 on the KFT in Alabama.

Fades:

Players returning from injury: Plenty of guys in this field have been playing and playing a lot recently.

Cameron Champ: For those of you who are new, my rule is first-time defending champs are off limits. Too many responsibilities that they don’t know how to handle, time is crunched and living in the past isn’t a formula for a great week. Those who DON’T fall into this trap should be noted.

Richy Werenski: I’m not sure I’d have gotten out of bed this week after his back nine on Sunday at Greenbrier. That putting stroke looked anything but confident. Might need a week.

Chad Campbell: This isn’t Annandale.

Ryan Armour: Nothing before or after his record-setting win in 2017.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out @MikeGlasscott or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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