It was a great event in the Dominican Republic last week as a good mix of young up-and-comers and TOUR vets battled down the stretch.
Hudson Swafford hung on for his second career victory and first since 2017. The win couldn’t have come at a better time as with the change in the season, the Corales Championship was upgraded to a full PGA TOUR event, which means Swafford will receive all of the benefits of a typical win including entry into the 2021 Players, Masters and PGA Championship. These are the types of stories that make the typical “fall swing season” special as players like Swafford and Safeway Open winner Stewart Cink find the winner’s circle for the first time in a longtime and other young players look to break through.
The TOUR heads to Jackson, Mississippi for this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship.
The Country Club of Jackson has been hosting the event since 2014, and features a 7,461-yard Par-72 with bermuda grass from tee to green. There’s minimal, 2-inch rough surrounding the fairways, but the course is protected by 56 sand bunkers, and water is in play on five holes. Even with that protection, the past five winners of the event have finished between 18 and 21 under-par. Last year, Sebastian Munoz defeated Sungjae Im in a playoff to seal his first TOUR victory, and both players return to Jackson for this year’s tournament.
As I mentioned, we can expect low scoring this week, making Birdie or Better Percentage immediately one of the top stats for identifying players in DFS. In order to get those birdie chances, players will need to be strong tee-to-green with a heavy emphasis on approach play. Iron play stands out above the other metrics this week, but strokes gained off-the-tee will also be an important factor, so I’ll look to combine the two and focus further on Ball Striking.
While we’ll be looking for birdies this week, it’s been just as important in recent years for players to have a good week in Bogey Avoidance, which really factors into the closing stretch of the course. The Par 4 18th plays as the hardest hole on the course each year, playing nearly a quarter stroke over par during the event. Additionally, the signature hole — the Par 4 16th — also plays as one of the three hardest holes, which leads me to factor in Par 4 Efficiency.
Lastly, strong putting is always and important factor, though very unpredictable. If you’d like to factor it in, I’d look at Strokes Gained Putting on bermuda greens to try to narrow that in a bit further.
Also check out Landon Silinsky’s PGA DFS Cash Game Plays for this weekend’s tournament, where he breaks down his top value plays for DraftKings and FanDuel cash game and single-entry DFS players.
Key Stats for Sanderson Farms
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Birdie or Better %
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Bogey Avoidance
- Par 4 Efficiency
Sanderson Farms Championship DFS Plays
Sungjae Im ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,700 FanDuel)
It’s an interesting week at the top of the pricing.
Louis Oosthuizen decided to withdraw, eliminating the second-priced player on both sites. And then there were rumors over whether Will Zalatoris would remain in the field as he deals with general exhaustion as well as the return of Scottie Scheffler after testing positive for COVID-19, both of whom are priced well above the rest of the field.
I’ll feel good starting my lineups with Sungjae Im, who lost in a playoff here last year. He struggled coming out of the break this summer, but began rounding into form down the stretch. Im finished 11th at the Tour Championship, and followed it up with a 22nd at the U.S. Open, where he gained 7.8 strokes tee-to-green. Add in that he’s known to be a better putter on bermuda greens like he’ll see this week, and everything aligns for Im to be in contention throughout the weekend.
Sam Burns ($9,800 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel)
I’m going back to the well with Sam Burns.
We don’t have strokes gained data to really get a feel for how he was hitting the ball at the Corales Championship, but from a raw scoring standpoint, he simply had one really poor round. Burns’ 78 last Saturday took him out of contention, but he bounced back well with a strong 6-under 66 on Sunday.
I’m hopeful that others will look at his 28th-place finish and be turned off, leading to a better ownership opportunity this week.
He certainly fits the mold of player I’m looking for this week, and now in his fourth trip to Jackson Country Club, he should be very comfortable around this track. Burns peaked with a tie for third in 2019 and has made the cut in each appearance. I still think Burns breaks through for his first TOUR win this fall, and this course is a great fit for that opportunity.
Doc Redman ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,800 FanDuel)
Doc Redman immediately stood out when the odds and pricing were released.
Like Burns, Redman is primed to breakthrough for his maiden victory. Redman ranks third in my model dating back to the restart, including being the best in the field on approach. He’s also in the top nine in five of the six metrics. He still ranks just inside the top 30 in the field in his worst of the six stats, Bogey Avoidance.
Add in that Redman has two third-place finishes over his past three events — both played in similar scoring events — and he’s clearly one of the top plays of the week.
Si Woo Kim ($8,400 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel)
It will be really interesting to see how ownership plays out in Si Woo Kim’s price range on both sites. He’s one of the top players in the event from a stat category, but it’s certainly valid to wonder whether his streak of hot play is starting to fade.
Kim had made nine straight cuts before missing in his last event at the U.S. Open. And not only was he making cuts before than, he was finishing in great position with four top 20s, including 13th at the PGA Championship and third at the Wyndham Championship. It could be that a lackluster performance at the Safeway Open and a poor showing at the U.S. Open point to a slide in his game, but he’s a solid play right at the average price on both sites.
His success or failure this week will depend on his iron play as he was gaining from 2 to 6.6 strokes on approach during his hot streak, but lost with them the last two times out. I’ll be on Si Woo Kim to bounce back in an event that should suit his game this week.
Lucas Glover ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel)
I’ve been burned by Glover multiple times this summer as the last guy in my lineups, so it’s odd to see him flashing in my model this week. However, looking closer at the numbers, everything is there for him to build upon his 17th-place finish at the U.S. Open.
Glover has always been a good ball striker, but equally known as a poor putter. He seemed to find something at Winged Foot where he gained seven strokes on the greens, while also gaining nearly four strokes ball striking. Glover has shown a propensity to get hot in spurts with his putter, and now he comes to a course where he has top-15 finishes in two of his past three appearances. He seems to see these greens well as he’s gained strokes putting in each of his last three appearances to Jackson Country Club.
I’ll buy in on Glover as he’s starting to heat up in a stretch of courses he typically plays well.
Kristoffer Ventura ($7,200 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel)
Kristoffer Ventura has been the lost player of the great 2018 Oklahoma State National Championship team as Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland stole the spotlight. Ventura seems to have come into his own over the last few events, making cuts and finding himself in contention down the stretch at the Safeway Open.
Ventura fits my stat model well based on recent form as he’s seventh in the field over the past two months. He’s struggled to dodge the bad hole as he ranks 94th in bogey avoidance, but at this price level, he doesn’t need to be perfect.
It’s also important to remember that while the majority of his TOUR success has been recent, he does have two wins as a professional, both on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019. I like the value and upside you can get with Ventura at this price, especially knowing the talent and winning ability is there.
Rob Oppenheim ($6,500 DraftKings; $7,600 FanDuel)
It was odd to see a guy like Rob Oppenheim priced up at $7,600 last week on DraftKings. He was certainly coming in with good form, but he belongs in the low-to-mid $6,000 range. He’s back there this week after another solid top-35 finish in Puntacana. That makes three straight top-35 finishes, including a 15th for Oppenheim at Wyndham.
His form and stats flash to match the course this week in Mississippi. Add to it that Oppenheim has made three of four cuts at this event over the past five years, including an 18th in 2018. I’ll take a flyer on the form and fit for Oppenheim at a low price that will let me fit multiple top priced players on both sites.
Wesley Bryan ($6,300 DraftKings; $7,600 FanDuel)
My last low-priced flyer goes to Wesley Bryan. He’s gained strokes tee-to-green in each of his past five TOUR events, and has been dialed in with his ball striking. Bryan is typically hindered by his off-the-tee game, but he seems to have found something there in his last few events as he’s gained strokes in that category in each of his last three tournaments.
If that tee game continues to improve, he will be a steal at this price as his irons are always his biggest strength.
Pictured above: Sungjae Im (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)