This week the TOUR heads to Mississippi, as the Country Club of Jackson hosts the Sanderson Farms Championship. The course is a par-72 that measures 7,400 yards with Bermuda grass greens. The winning score usually settles somewhere around the 20-under par range, and last year’s champion Sebastian Munoz ($9,900 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) outlasted Sungjae Im in a playoff at 18-under par.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate; however, these players are great options in any contest type. Also check out Chris Murphy’s Course Preview and DFS Breakdown, where he highlights his eight favorite DFS picks based on course-fit at the Country Club of Jackson.
Note: My forthcoming analysis will frequently 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. There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column each week, which highlights golfers to buy and fade following each round of play at that week’s PGA TOUR event, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
Will Zalatoris ($10,200 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel)
Normally in cash games, I make it a rule to start my teams with players below the $10k range on DraftKings in order to fit as many strong plays in my lineup as possible. However, in these weaker-field fall-swing events, everything is on the table. That brings us to the shiny new rookie, Will Zalatoris, who has taken the PGA by storm after finishing eighth in the U.S. Open, a ridiculous feat for someone making his first career start on TOUR.
Prior to Zalatoris’ top-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he was tearing up the Korn Ferry Tour, where he posted top-10 finishes in nine of his previous 13 events played, including an outright win. This past week at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Zalatoris finished in a tie for eighth place after a final round 66 shot him up the leaderboard. He finished ninth in driving distance on the week and first in scrambling.
Over his previous eight rounds, the rookie ranks first in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach. After being the highest-priced player on DraftKings last week, Zalatoris settles in at a very palatable $10.2k for the Sanderson Farms Championship, making him an ideal place to start for cash games.
Sam Burns ($9,900 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel)
Burns has been one of the hottest players on TOUR since the restart. He has made seven of his last 10 cuts, has finished no worse than 32nd in any of those starts, and has notched two top-20s and one top-10 finish. Over his eight rounds in this field Burns ranks eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green, 31st on approach and second off the tee.
We know that Burns can hit the ball a mile, which should help him tackle the course’s four par-5s this week. Burns also does his best putting on Bermdua greens, which is how he got the nickname “Bermuda Burns.” He has only logged three career starts at the Country Club of Jackson, but he nonetheless reports a strong course history. Burns posted a top-three finish during the 2019 TOUR season, sandwiched between a 43rd place finish in 2018 and a 45th place finish last year.
If you prefer not to start your cash builds with Zalatoris, Burns makes for a great anchor.
Brian Harman ($9,400 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel)
The savvy veteran Harman may not strike you as someone that should perform well on longer courses due to his below-average distance off the tee. However, he is a strong cut-maker that knows how to get his way around any track. He also boasts an otherworldly short game that can keep him in contention anywhere. Harman’s short game carried him to two top-15s in his last four starts, especially since his ball-striking has not been great of late.
Over his last 12 rounds, Harman ranks eighth in this field in SG: Putting and ranks 15th SG: Around-the-Green. In his lone start at this tournament last year, Harman finished tied for 14th place. In smaller fields like this week’s, our primary concern is ensuring that all six rostered golfers make it past the cut-line. Harman is as good a bet as any to do just that, putting him firmly in play in all formats.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,800 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel)
After a putrid start to the season, Grillo has turned it on of late. He has made eight of his past 10 cuts, including two top-10s over that span. We know the drill with the Argentinian: He delivers elite-level ball-striking and awful putting, making him very enigmatic from week to week. However, he seems to have found something in his game recently: Grillo ranks third in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and ranks third in overall in ball-striking across his past eight rounds.
Grillo’s $8,8k price tag is very reasonable in this field for a player of his caliber. He has the requisite distance to score here, and his putting should be slightly deemphasized with the four par-5s. Last season he posted a 39th place finish at this course, and we should expect him to build on that this week.
Carlos Ortiz ($8,300 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel)
Ortiz deserves consideration primarily due to his course history at the Country Club of Jackson. He has posted back-to-back top-five finishes in his only two starts at this track. Thankfully for us, his form has been coming around a bit as well. He finished a very respectable 25th at the BMW Championship, in addition to a made cut at the Safeway Open two weeks ago. Ortiz ranks 41st in Total Strokes Gained in this field over the last eight rounds, and he’s a strong bet to grind out another made cut this weekend. He is priced at only $8.3k on DraftKings, which fits perfectly in balanced builds.
Patrick Rodgers ($8,100 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel)
Rodgers is another bomber and cut-maker listed at a very respectable price that fits a variety of roster builds. He ranks 18th on TOUR in driving distance and should be able to carve up the longer holes this week.
He settled for an 11th-place finish last week in Punta Cana after briefly sharing the lead at one point. Yet, even on the heels of a strong performance, his price really hasn’t moved. Rodgers has made the cut in 22 of his 29 appearances this season, and he’s posted two top-20 finishes in his three starts at the Country Club of Jackson.
We’ve witnessed Rodgers compete at a high level in much stronger fields than this one. And thanks to DraftKings’ pricing oversight, rostering Rodgers lends us a massive discount on a golfer in good form with big upside. He’s as close to a cash game lock as it gets.
Denny McCarthy ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel)
Arguably the best putter in the world, McCarthy has been gaining strokes in all departments lately and stands out as one of the better values on the board this week. He has finished 18th and 17th, respectively, in his last two starts at the Country Club of Jackson. McCarthy also ranks 18th in SG: Tee-to-Green and eighth on approach over his last eight rounds. In addition to his improved ball-striking, McCarthy has been incredibly steady avoiding the cut-line, making the weekend in 19 of his past 25 events.
If you haven’t noticed yet, there’s a distinct theme building throughout these recommendations: It is important to stack as many cut-makers as possible on our cash game rosters. McCarthy fits the mold as a strong value option at $7.9k on DraftKings.
Cameron Tringale ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,700 FanDuel)
Tringale is yet another cash game staple when we get him in this price range. He stands out as another elite cut-maker with plenty of upside: Exactly what we’re looking for to round-out our roster. Tringale ranks eighth on approach and 11th in total strokes among players in this field over the last 12 rounds. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s 3-for-3 in made cuts at this event with a 16th-place finish here last season. At this price, Tringale is a “fade at your own risk”-type of play.
Adam Schenk ($6,700 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel)
Schenk’s salary inexplicably dropped around $2,000 week-over-week despite making the cut. He’s also been striking the ball incredibly well recently, ranking 25th on approach in this field over his last eight rounds. Not to beat a dead horse here, but Schenk (much like the rest of the players in this article) has also been a very consistent cut-maker this season. He is simply way too cheap for his talent and fits in both balanced and stars-and-scrubs roster constructions.
Sebastian Munoz ($9,900 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel)
This event’s defending champion is entering competition in really good form. Prior to making the cut at the U.S Open, Munoz finished eighth, eighth and 18th, respectively, in all three legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. That feat is particularly impressive considering the class of field in those events. We are not accustomed to seeing Munoz priced this highly; but in weaker field events like this, everyone gets a price bump. He’s not absolutely necessary in cash games but could be an interesting option for GPP tournaments.
Scottie Scheffler ($11,400 DraftKings; $12,300 FanDuel)
It’s very hard to stomach rostering anyone above $11k in small-field competition, but Scheffler is far and away the best player in this field and can easily run away with this tournament. However, he is coming off a positive test for COVID-19 that forced him to withdraw from the U.S Open. Scheffler is one of the five best ball-strikers on the planet and is a prolific birdie-maker. Those qualities place him firmly within play in GPP tournaments if you can find enough mid-priced value to place around him.