Denny McCarthy is the outright pick at +2500 with Caesars Sportsbook
Austin Smotherman can grab a top 10 at +600 with FanDuel Sportsbook
Russell Henley to beat JT Poston at +100 with BetMGM
The 2022/23 PGA Tour season resumes regular action after last week’s dramatic Presidents Cup when the International team impressed everyone with their spirit and courage in defeat.
That said, only one player from that match tees it up this week – the defending champion Sam Burns.
For the most part this week offers a huge opportunity for the youngsters and the journeymen of the circuit, and the history of the event backs that up because since it was inaugurated in 1968 only three winners have ever won major championships.
In recent years we have seen all sorts of winners from Cody Gribble (who has done nothing since), Ryan Armour (a classic journeyman), Cameron Champ (a youngster on the rise), Sebastian Munoz (who kicked on to better things), and Sergio Garcia (possibly a last hurrah for a star).
The Country Club at Jackson is a par-72 at 7,441 yards with Bermuda grass a key factor.
The heat and humidity of Mississippi makes that clingy grass even more sticky than normal.
The greens are lightning fast with grain, but it is further down the hole that the Bermuda factor has an impact.
Because if players miss the fairways the ball settles deep in the grass and it becomes difficult to set up birdie opportunities.
Doug Ghim has said of the challenge: “You need to be in the fairway to be able to attack. Certain greens are really shallow and firm and really hard to get the ball in the right spot if you’re not coming out of the fairway.”
There’s not doubt that Sam Burns is a golfer on the rise.
He’s won four times in the last 18 months and last week made a good debut for Team USA in the Presidents Cup (his performance was better than his one point from five matches indicates).
He defends his title this week and has already successfully gone back-to-back in the Valspar Championship. He also finished third in this event in 2018.
Sahith Theegala is another American youngster of note, one who burst onto the PGA Tour scene in some style last season.
He’ll have mixed memories of his visit to Jackson last year because he led through the first 54 holes before slipping back to eighth in the final round.
He opened the new season with another eighth place, at the Fortinet Championship, two weeks ago.
Russell Henley is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour but he’s now gone five years without adding to that tally.
In the last two years alone he has four times been the 54-hole leader, but he just can’t find the final round winning touch.
He finished 14th on the course on his debut back in 2016.
From the time he graduated to the PGA Tour in late 2017 Denny McCarthy has played his best golf on Bermuda (or grainy) putting surfaces.
His first top five was in the Dominican Republic and he’s since added top 10 finishes at Innisbrook, Houston, Sea Island, Sedgefield, Port Royal and PGA National.
He’s a superb putter – one who has ranked top 10 for Strokes Gained Putting in seven of his last 12 starts – and he maintains those standards on putting surfaces others find tricky.
He closed last season with two high-quality top 30s and added another to start this campaign.
Now he returns to a course he really likes.
In his last four starts, he has never finished outside the top 20, he’s twice been top 10 and he was also second with 18 holes to play last year.
Take him each way in the outright at +2500 with Caesars Sportsbook, the top industry price and paying eight places.
Winners at Jackson have often had an excellent record in South America and it makes plenty of sense.
The hot and humid conditions, the sticky grass – they’re constants.
Of those past winners, Sebastian Munoz hails from Colombia while Peter Malnati, Cody Gribble and Ryan Armour had form south of the American border.
That points towards Austin Smotherman who was a winner in Mexico on the third-tier Latino America Tour and had lots of top 10s elsewhere on the circuit.
He has also landed a win on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour on Bermuda greens.
He opened the new season with 25th at the Fortinet Championship and has a great chance this week pick up points this week.
JT Poston is in a nice run of form since mid-summer but it could pay to oppose him with Russell Henley.
Over their careers, Henley leads the head-to-head count 52-35.
The tally since the start of 2021 is 20-9.
And over the last 15 events, it is 14-5.
Henley also makes a lot of cuts (22 of his last 25) while Poston has made 13 of his last 25.
Poston is a fine player but so too is Henley.
Take the latter in their match-up at +100 with BetMGM.
|Tournament||The Sanderson Farms Championship|
|Location||The Country Club of Jackson, Mississippi|
|Time||Thursday, September 29 – Sunday, October 2|
|How to watch||Thursday-Friday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET. Saturday, Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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