Welcome back again!
The second two-week break of the FedExCup Fall has concluded, and the second of seven events tees off this week at the Country Club of Jackson for the Sanderson Farms Championship.
The state of Mississippi has hosted a PGA TOUR event since 1968, and that streak continues. The Country Club of Jackson serves as host for the 10th consecutive season. For the fourth consecutive year, the John Faught redesign will tip at 7,461 yards and play to Par-72.
Canadian Mackenzie Hughes returns to defend his title. None of the previous eight winners have completed a successful title defense. Additionally, there have not been any multiple champions since the event moved to CC of Jackson for the 2014 edition.
Top of the Board
Ludvig Aberg (12/1): Golf and life do not operate in a vacuum. Aberg, the man who has never teed it up in a major championship, was a contributing member of the Ryder Cup victor for the Europeans last week in Italy. Playing four matches, the 23-year-old Swede won half of them and never looked out of place. The stress, the party, and jet lag could affect his performance this week. The other side is he could continue his incredible run of form on his own ball (T10-WIN-T4) in Europe before the Ryder Cup.
Stephan Jaeger (18/1): The German cut-making machine ran his streak to 14 straight with T45 at Fortinet to start the FedExCup Fall. The other streak the German carries is he hasn’t hit the podium in 123 PGA TOUR starts. Making the cut in 27 of 30 starts this season, he’s posted two top-10 paydays.
Eric Cole (20/1): Fresh off a top-five finish from Fortinet, the rookie continues to knock at the door for his first win on TOUR. Finishing T31 or better in his last five starts, the putter is his club of choice. Nobody has made more birdies this season, and he sits second in Total Putting.
Lee Hodges (25/1): The Alabama native posted 24 under in winning the 3M Open two weeks before the start of the FedExCup Playoffs. Growing up on Bermudagrass, he should feel right at home this week. Never missing the cut in two previous starts, he’ll be looking to improve on T30 last season.
Emiliano Grillo (25/1): Joining Hodges as the only winner on TOUR this season at the top of the board, the Argentine ran T5 here last year. Making his fifth consecutive start at CCofJ, I’m connecting the dots that this layout fits his eye. His last ten starts on TOUR have resulted in seven paydays of T31 or better, including his win at Colonial. Nobody on this list has won twice in a season.
Sam Burns (not entered this week) holds the tournament scoring record. The Louisiana native posted 22-under 266 in 2021.
Reigning champion Mackenzie Hughes (70/1) became the third international winner in the last four events at CCofJ.
The first six winners at CCofJ were first-time victors on the PGA TOUR. The last three were not.
The highest winning score was 16-under par the first season CCofJ hosted in 2014. The average winning score is approaching 19-under.
The course record, 61, was set by Will Zalatoris (not entered) in 2021.
Others to Consider:
S.H. Kim (30/1): I’ll ignore the top of the board and land here. The Korean squared only three bogeys and was second in SG: Tee to Green finishing second at Fortinet. With a wide-open field, I am going to ride the recent heat.
Locals Hayden Buckley (40/1) and Davis Riley (40/1) know the area and know the climate. Both ran in the top 20 last season (T19).
Garrick Higgo (35/1) ran third here last year while leading the field in birdies with 24. A past champion on Bermuda at Congaree, the lefty is a sneaky outsider this week.
Birdie or Better Conversion Percentage
The Champion Bermuda putting surfaces provide ample targets at 6,200 feet on average. If the course is playing firm and fast, more lofted clubs should be able to get the ball close on the putting surfaces. With the greens running at 12.5 feet plus, the ball will get to the hole, and birdies will be circled. All nine previous champions ranked in the top 15 at the end of the week.
|23||Harry Hall, Stephan Jaeger|
|23||Ryan Palmer, Nate Lashley|
|23||Webb Simpson, Kevin Yu|
The Par-5 holes have ranked inside the top 12 most difficult on TOUR in five of the last six seasons. According to reports, the course has not enjoyed much rain and is playing firmer and faster. Scoring should improve if the ball rolls out and the rough is not as penal. After hoisting the trophy, all nine winners ranked T13 or better in this category.
Peter Malnati (80/1): The winner in 2016 and the runner-up in 2020 is the course horse to saddle up. Coming off T11 at Fortinet, I don’t have to worry about his form.
Martin Laird (125/1): Making the cut in his last four, he has quietly cashed T20 or better in three of his last four. The highlight was T2 to Lee Hodges at 3M at the end of July.
Jason Dufner (300/1): I’m not mortgaging a win ticket, but the multiple TOUR champion has peeled off T31 or better in four of his last five. Find a top 40 market and enjoy the ride.