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The PGA Tour visits Mississippi this week for the Sanderson Farms Classic. Here's who you 

By Ryan Asselta
September 18, 2019

After an opening weekend in the hills of West Virgina, the PGA Tour heads to the deep south this week for the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.

Now with its own standalone date on the calendar, the Sanderson Farms will feature a field of young, up-and-coming stars on the PGA Tour, many of whom are built to win right now.

Cameron Champ heads back to Jackson Country Club as the defending champion. He birdied vie of his final six holes a year ago to get his first PGA Tour win by four shots over Corey Conners.

Along with a slew of tour rookies, major champions Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner will all tee it up this week.

Champ led the Tour in driving distance last year, and it’s no coincidence that his victory came at Jackson CC. He overpowered the traditional layout by averaging 334 yards off the tee. Expect a birdie fest in the hot, steamy conditions, so greens in regulaiton should be considered, as success will come from opportunity on the greens this week.

Nuts and bolts

Course: Jackson Country Club (7, 460 yards, Par 72)

Defending champion: Cameron Champ (-21, 267)

Weather forecast:  Mostly sunny, temperatures in mid high 80’s. Chance of thunderstorms on Thursday

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Sungjae Im (21/1, $11,600)

The reigning rookie of the year is back to his old tricks: playing a ton, making cuts and racking up top 25s. Fresh off a T9 at the Greenbrier and three rounds of 67 or better, Im returns to Jackson looking to avenge a missed cut from a year ago. On a course sure to see low numbers, Im’s birdie making ability lines up well. He was fourth in the field last week in birdie average and ranked inside the top 25 in that category last season. He was also sixth in strokes gained putting last week, gaining 1.8 strokes on the field.

Lucas Glover (25/1, $10,800)

The 2019 season was a re-birth for the 2009 U.S. Open champ. At 39 years old, Glover racked up seven top 10s, missed just five cuts and earned a spot in the Tour Championship. He now returns to the Sanderson Farms where he’s a perfect 5 for 5 in making the cut over his career. He’s finished top 20 in each of his last two visits to Jackson including a T-5 in 2017 and has a career scoring average of 69.25 at the event. Ranked 19th in SG: Total in 2018-19.

Value

Cameron Champ (75/1, $9,200)

Kind of surprised at the odds for the defending champ. Yes, three quarters of his season did not go well, but Champ showed signs of life in the FedEx Cup playoffs, compiling a T21 at the Northern Trust and earning a spot in the BMW Championship. He’s the longest player in the field, in an event he dominated with his driver a year ago. He led the Tour in Diving Distance and was 22nd in greens in regulation, so that combination should equal a ton of birdie opportunities. He’s also shown he can putt at Jackson CC where he gained 2.27 strokes on the field with his putter a year ago.

Sleeper

Roberto Castro (80/1, $9,200)

After struggling through the middle of the 2018-19 season, Castro found his game a bit down the stretch, leading to five consecutive made cuts. That string included a T26 at the John Deere and a T22 at the Tour, fueled by 10 consecutive rounds in the 60s. Some of his best performances on tour have come at the Sanderson Farms where he finished T5 last year, T4 in 2016 and has never missed the cut. He ranked 48th in driving accuracy and 40th in strokes gained off the tee. 

Stay Away

Scottie Scheffler (22/1, $11,000)

Scheffler got the golf world’s attention at the Greenbrier a week ago, and rightfully so. His second-round 62 left him tied atop the leaderboard heading into the weekend, but a Saturday 71 de-railed his chances of winning in his first event as a PGA Tour card holder. Make no doubt about it, the rookie out of the University of Texas has some serious game, but his vocal, live-and-die with each shot attitude, he showed at the Greenbrier will need to be managed. In his first back-to-back stretch of his Tour career, I think Scheffler may struggle while trying to find that Tour balance.

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