After a dominant performance by Europe at the Ryder Cup, the PGA TOUR heads to Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.
The course is a 7,461-yard par 72 with fast Bermudagrass greens. The tournament had been an alternate-field event up until the 2019-20 season when it was upgraded to a standalone event.
The field is largely as expected for a Fall Swing event, but there are some talented players teeing it up in Jackson this week looking to play their way into next season’s signature events. Some notable golfers in the 156-man field this week include Ludvig Aberg, Eric Cole, Emiliano Grillo, and Keith Mitchell.
For contests on DraftKings, I will be breaking down the key stats (past 24 rounds) and selecting golfers from different price tiers to provide flexibility for a DFS lineup.
And if you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is excellent for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
This analysis may reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots, on average, it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
Strokes Gained: Approach
SG: Approach will be important this week as the club was renovated in 2008 and tried to imitate some classic Donald Ross course features. This means the greens will be relatively small, and finding the right level on approach shots will be crucial.
The course will generate plenty of low scores, so it’s important that players give themselves plenty of birdie looks. Sergio Garcia gained 7.0 strokes on the field in his victory three seasons ago, which was third in the field. Sam Burns gained 8.3 in 2021, which was good for second.
Last season, Mackenzie Hughes gained 5.3 strokes on approach in his victory.
- High-end target: Eric Cole — $10,300 (5th Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Sam Ryder — $8,500 (3rd Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Value target: Kevin Streelman — $7,600 (4th Strokes Gained: Approach)
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Placing an emphasis on who the best drivers of the golf ball is a smart strategy. This stat has driving accuracy built into it, and though the fairways are relatively easy to hit at the Country Club of Jackson, long and straight is always a big advantage.
I am looking for golfers who are going to have the shortest approach shots and are coming in from the fairway. In 2020 and 2021, respective winners Sergio Garcia and Sam Burns led the field (+5.5) and (+6.1) in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. In 2023, Mackenzie Hughes was roughly average off the tee, but that seems to be an outlier when examining the winners in totality.
- High-end target: Ludvig Aberg — $10,900 (2nd Strokes Gained: Off the Tee)
- Mid-range target: Garrick Higgo — $8,100 (9th Strokes Gained: Off the Tee)
- Value target: MJ Daffue — $7,100 (3rd Strokes Gained: Off the Tee)
With the rough not being a major problem this week, the bomb-and-gauge approach should be very successful.
- High-end target: Keith Mitchell — $9,900 (17th in Driving Distance)
- Mid-range target: Garrick Higgo — $8,100 (4th in Driving Distance)
- Value target: MJ Daffue — $7,100 (3rd in Driving Distance)
Strokes Gained: Par 5
Three of the four par 5s on the course should be reachable by the longer hitters, with the longest par 5 hole measuring 587 yards. Finding eagle and birdie opportunities on the par 5s this week may be the difference in determining a winner.
- High-end target: Stephan Jaeger — $10,400 (2nd Strokes Gained: Par 5)
- Mid-range target: Webb Simpson — $7,400 (9th Strokes Gained: Par 5)
- Value target: Jason Dufner — $6,500 (4th Strokes Gained: Par 5)
SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)
Historically, SG: Putting at the Sanderson Farms Championship has weighed as the most indicative score of the tournament winner. While this isn’t necessarily rare in PGA TOUR tournaments, it was 10% more important at Country Club of Jackson than the average course on TOUR.
The greens have been either “fast” or “lightning” in every round the tournament has been played. Whoever wins this week will need to catch a hot putter, so the best putters on Bermuda should have the best chance to do that.
- High-end target: Alex Noren — $9,500 (4th SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)
- Mid-range target: Chad Ramey — $7,200 (2nd SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)
- Value target: Cody Gribble — $6,400— (10th SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)
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