Julio get the stretch, we’re off to Jackson, Mississippi! After a nice one week hiatus from stroke play at the Ryder Cup, we turn the page back to the PGA Tour schedule for the second event of the 2022 season, the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.
This event is notorious for making horrible putters look good. Sergio Garcia and Cameron Champ, two of the perennial worst putters on Tour, have won here within the last 3 years, gaining 2.8 and 9.1 strokes respectfully. Keegan Bradley, Aaron Wise, and Joseph Bramlett each gained 2+ strokes putting in their last Sanderson Farms appearance as well, so it’s shaping up to be a green light week for #TeamNoPutt with these greens offering little resistance to even the worst professional golfers in the world.
There are plenty of similarities to pull from the Fortinet Championship two weeks ago at Silverado Resort and Spa in terms of handicapping this week’s tournament. Both tree-lined courses feature narrow fairways that yield low Fairway %’s off the tee and short, playable rough that will not discourage players from swinging freely with driver, favoring the longer hitters once again. It’s no coincidence Cameron Champ was able to pick up his first two career wins at Silverado and CC of Jackson. Both fields are also very weak relative to the average PGA Tour event, as is typical for the Fall Swing, but the absence of an elite talent like Jon Rahm in this week’s field means the odds board will be a bit more starved for value with no clear front runner to win. There’s more length to CC of Jackson, sitting just over 7,400 yards, so I’ll be looking at strong players OTT, particularly in Driving Distance & Good Drives Gained to go along with the standard SG: APP premium and heavier weighting on funneled wedge shots from the 100-150 range. Here’s a look at everything you can expect from the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson!
Country Club of Jackson Course Specs
- Yards: 7,461
- Par: 72 (4x 3’s / 10x 4’s / 4x 5’s)
- Greens: Bermuda (Champion)
- Architect: John Fought & Mike Gogel
- Historical Cutline: -1
- Comp Courses: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Corales, PGA West Stadium Course, Quail Hollow, Silverado Resort & Spa, Detroit GC
- Past Winners: Sergio Garcia (21), Sebastian Munoz (20), Cameron Champ (19), Ryan Armour (18), Cody Gribble (17)
- Other Past Winners in the Field: Peter Malnati (16), Nick Taylor (15), Chris Kirk (11)
This is not many people’s favorite course or event, but it is a full field stroke play tournament, so at least it has that going for it from a betting perspective. It’s a very vanilla course in my opinion, not a ton of risk reward, not a ton of hazards, not a ton of challenging greens to reach. With that said though, the scores rarely push to the 20s here, so it is respectably short of a pure birdie fest, putting contest, and that at least is refreshing for the Fall Swing. The course’s best defense is its length at 7,461 (though that is still not especially long for a Par 72), and its fast Bermuda greens. In terms of comps, I think this plays like Corales (if it had trees), Quail Hollow (if the rough weren’t at all penal), and Detroit GC & Silverado (with easier-to-read greens). The Top 10 players in the field this week in terms of Comp Course History are Sam Burns, Sungjae Im, Joel Dahmen, Sergio Garcia, Adam Hadwin, Emiliano Grillo, Nate Lashley, Patrick Rodgers, Ryan Moore, and Luke List.
Sebastian Munoz picked up his first career win at this event in 2020, which warms my heart, joining an eclectic list of past winners at this event back in the field again this week, including Sergio Garcia, Ryan Armour, Cody Gribble, Peter Malnati, Nick Taylor, and Chris Kirk. Looking at recent course history, Denny McCarthy, JT Poston, Carlos Ortiz, Kevin Streelman, and Lucas Glover have registered multiple T15 finishes over the last 5 years. In terms of holistic Course History, the Top 10 players SG: TOT at CC of Jackson are Carlos Ortiz, William McGirt, Denny McCarthy, Sergio Garcia, Sebastian Munoz, Lucas Glover, Sungjae Im, Seung-yul Noh, Charley Hoffman, and Zach Johnson.
The stats would suggest that being a good putter is important to find success at CC of Jackson, but looking at the names who have had success here, it’s not the best putters in the world who are gaining the most strokes putting. Most “Putting Contest” weeks, I would look for volatile spike putters, but I don’t even think that’s necessary with all of the tried and true Team No Putt players finding success on the greens here. In fact, at last year’s Sanderson Farms, The Top 10 included as many elite putters (Peter Malnati, JT Poston, Denny McCarthy) as awful putters (Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Henrik Norlander). That tells me that these greens are straightforward to read and limits the advantage we would usually want to pay up for from putting specialists. Instead, I’ll be removing putting stats from my model and look to the best T2G players. The Top 10 players SG: T2G entering this week are Keegan Bradley, Seamus Power, Luke List, Will Zalatoris, Corey Conners, Matt Wallace, Mito Pereira, Sergio Garcia, Aaron Wise, and Sam Burns.
- SG: APP
- Driving Distance
- Good Drives Gained
- Prox 100-150
- P4: 400-450
- Par 5 Scoring
- Course + Comp Course History
Stats To Avoid
- Prox 200+
- SG: P
- Sand Saves Gained
Country Club of Jackson is unique in that it favors longer hitters off the tee, but leaves very few approach shots from over 200 yards out, given how many of the Par 4s are funneled into the 400-450 yard range. The Top 10 players in P4 Scoring 400-450 are Scott Stallings, Kevin Streelman, Sergio Garcia, Sam Burns, Brendon Todd, Emiliano Grillo, Charley Hoffman, Greyson Sigg, Ryan Armour, and Kramer Hickok. Instead, a majority of approaches are funneled into the 100-150 range. The Top 10 players from this proximity distance are Matthew NeSmith, Keegan Bradley, Russel Knox, Aaron Wise, Russel Henley, Kevin Chappell, Kurt Kitayama, Rory Sabbatini, Kevin Streelman, and Henrik Norlander.
The most important stats I’m looking at this week to find success at CC of Jackson are SG: APP, Good Drives Gained, and Driving Distance. There are just 6 players who rank Top 40 in the field in all 3 of those categories: Will Zalatoris, Sergio Garcia, Luke List, Mito Pereira, Charley Hoffman, and Bronson Burgoon. I am prepared to lose lots of money betting Mito Pereira to win every week he plays because it seems like he’s just going to perpetually pop in my models.
Taking the Top 10 Correlated Stat categories for this week at the Sanderson Farms Championship, there are just 4 players who rank above average in the field in each: Kevin Streelman, Sam Burns, Matt Wallace, and Mito Pereira. If we remove Scrambling Gained and only look at the Top 9 categories, the list of players who rate out above average in each also includes Charley Hoffman, Alex Smalley, Aaron Wise, Patton Kizzire, Sungjae Im, and Taylor Pendrith.
Spotlight: Keegan Bradley
The Year of Keegan begins Thursday, September 30th at the Country Club of Jackson. Keegan has been an absolute stalwart tee-to-green throughout the 2021 season and enters this week presiding #1 over this decrepit field in SG: T2G and SG: APP over the last 6 Months.
The easy rebuttal to any endorsement for Keegan Bradley is “Yeah, but he can’t putt”, however there are a few reasons for optimism that he will not putt to his floor at the Country Club of Jackson. For starters, he’s only played this event once, and in that debut here one year ago, he gained 3 strokes putting en route to a 4th place finish. In terms of recent putting form, he’s gained strokes putting in 7 of his last 13 measured events dating back to the API in March. When his putter is not working for him, it’s been awful, which plummets him down the list in any model that will weight overall putting. However, the stats show that more often than not over the past 6 month, his putter has actually not been that awful. As we head into a tournament that’s crowned Cameron Champ and Sergio Garcia as champions within the last 3 years, I’m optimistic Keegan can bring one of his “Not Awful” putting weeks to Jackson, Mississippi, and if he does, we know we can expect the T2G game to carry him to a high finish.
Spoiler alert, Keegan is #1 in my model this week, ranking Top 20 in the field in Good Drives Gained, Comp Course History, P4: 400-450, and Prox 100-150. He’s no worse than Top 35 in any stat I’m feeding into my model, as he’s also 32nd in Par 5 Scoring and 33rd in Driving Distance. Nobody will be shocked if Keegan comes out and loses 4 strokes putting this week to offset all these stats, but there is a clear path for win upside with Keegan Bradley if he can muster an above-average showing on the greens, which he already proved he’s capable of in last year’s event.
What To Look Out For at the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship
Sergio Garcia won this event with his eyes closed last October. Not in the sense that he breezed through the competition, but because he literally tested out putting with his eyes closed for the first time in this tournament, and somehow, it worked out. Despite the strength of field being what it was, last year’s event was still an exciting finish to follow along, as Sergio threw a dart on 18 for a tap in birdie on one of the more difficult holes on the course to clear Peter Malnati by one stroke and secure his first PGA Tour win since The Masters in 2017. This time around, I am expecting nothing from Sergio Garcia and am likely to put down a Missed Cut prop, given the emotional hangover of last week’s whipping at Whistling Straits. Overall, the betting board will look less attractive than Fortinet’s two weeks ago without a Jon Rahm caliber favorite to inflate the rest of the field’s odds, so it will instead probably be a week to load up on the 20-50/1 range for me.
With all the course fit profiles in mind this week, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool, broken out by projected pricing/odds tier.
This week, I’m putting a premium on SG: APP, SG: T2G, and Good Drives Gained, followed by a balanced mix of Driving Distance, P5 Scoring, P4: 400-450, Prox 100-150, and Course + Comp Course History. #1 in my model as we know is Keegan Bradley, who I’m cautiously optimistic is capable of kickstarting a Harris English-esque multi-win renaissance year in his mid-30s. After Keegs, the rest of the Top 10 is rounded out by Charley Hoffman, Sergio Garcia, Sam Burns, Mito Pereira, Matt Wallace, Will Zalatoris, Kevin Streelman, Aaron Wise, and Corey Conners.