Top picks on PGA, Euro tours

reynolds
The PGA and European tours took last week off because of the Ryder Cup, which Team USA won by a 19-9 margin over Team Europe. That is the largest margin of victory for either side since the event went to a USA vs. Europe format in 1979. There were few bright spots for the European side at Whistling Straits, but Sergio Garcia was one of them as he went 3-1-0 and formed a strong partnership with fellow Spaniard and World No. 1 Jon Rahm. Garcia (20-1) is the lone Ryder Cup participant from either team who will tee it up this week in Mississippi, but he does so as the Sanderson Farms Championship’s defending champion. 
 
Sam Burns (16-1), from nearby Shreveport, La., made his PGA Tour debut in this event in 2017, and this week's shortest price finished T-3 here in 2018. Much has been made of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team being the youngest and arguably most talented in recent memory. It will be difficult to crack that lineup of 12 players for the 2023 event in Rome. Burns and Will Zalatoris (18-1) are two talented 25-year-olds who will certainly be striving for it. Zalatoris no longer needs to worry about becoming an official PGA Tour player and can focus solely on earning his first PGA Tour victory. Sungjae Im (18-1) lost in a playoff here to Sebastian Munoz (50-1) in 2019. Corey Conners (18-1) also finished runner-up in 2018. 
 
THE EVENT
 
The Sanderson Farms Championship has been part of the PGA Tour schedule since 1968 when it began as the Magnolia State Classic. It has had a variety of names over the years, including the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic, Southern Farm Bureau Classic, Viking Classic and the True South Classic before Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the United States and based in Laurel, Miss., took over as the title sponsor in 2013. The tournament began as a satellite event (money earned counted, but wins were unofficial) but became an official Tour event in 1994. After spending nearly a quarter-century as an alternate event, it became a full tour event in 2019. The winner now gets full FedEx Cup points, a two-year tour exemption, and spots in the Masters, PGA, Players and Sentry TOC. 
 
 
THE COURSE
 
The Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss., has hosted the Sanderson Farms since 2014. The course was designed in 1962 by Dick Wilson and redesigned by John Fought and Mike Gogel in 2008. The track plays as a par-72 of 7,461 yards and there are only 56 bunkers and seven water hazards (in play on five holes). The Bermuda fairways are flat and wider than average. The Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda greens are 6,200 square feet on average and fast (12-13 stimpmeter). Fought was a longtime admirer of Donald Ross, so the greens are raised and have run-off areas, which are Ross trademarks. The green surfaces resemble TPC Southwind, Trinity Forest, Quail Hollow and Sedgefield. 
 
The 72-hole tournament record is 263 set by Dan Halldorson (1986 at Hattiesburg GC). The record on this CC of Jackson track is 267, set by Cameron Champ (2018). The CC of Jackson course record is 62, set by Roberto Castro (first round, 2015).
 
RECENT HISTORY/WINNERS
 
2020: Sergio Garcia (-19/269); 70-1
2019: Sebastian Munoz (-18/270); 66-1*
2018: Cameron Champ (-21/267); 66-1
2017: Ryan Armour (-19/269); 125-1
2016: Cody Gribble (-20/268); 125-1
2015: Peter Malnati (-18/270); 250-1
2014: Nick Taylor (-16/272); 400-1
* playoff win over Sungjae Im
 
RECENT TRENDS AND ANGLES
The last three winners (Garcia, Munoz and Champ) rated ninth, fourth and first, respectively, in Driving Distance and first, fouth and second in SG: OTT in their winning weeks.
The last four winners (Garcia, Munoz, Champ and Armour) have been the leader or co-leader after 54 holes. 
Six of the last seven winners have all been first-time winners on the PGA Tour.
STATISTICAL ANGLES
 
With the last three winners ranking top 4 or better in the category during their winning weeks in Jackson, SG: Off The Tee looks to matter here.
 
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee (Last 24 rounds)
1. Taylor Pendrith 22.6
2. Keith Mitchell 16.4
3. Hudson Swafford 15.3
4. Sergio Garcia 14.8
5. Anirban Lahiri 14
6. Corey Conners 13.6
7. Patrick Rodgers 13.2
8. Mito Pereira 12.5
9. Tyler Duncan 12
10. Ryan Armour 12
11. K.H. Lee 11.8
12. Doug Ghim 11.7
Six par-4s on the CC of Jackson layout measure between 400-450 yards. 
 
Strokes Gained Par-4s 400-450 Yards (Last 24 rounds)
1. Scott Stallings 18
2. Tyler Duncan 14.5
3. Seamus Power 11.6
4. Sergio Garcia 11.1
5. Si Woo Kim 10.1
6. C.T. Pan 10.1
7. Scott Gutschewski 10.1
8. Chez Reavie 9.9
9. Chris Kirk 9.7
10. Charley Hoffman 9.3
11. Zach Johnson 8.8
12. Sung Kang 8.8
Before Garcia's victory last year, when he rated 28th in the field for SG: Putting, the previous four winners rated fifth or better in the field during their winning weeks.
 
Strokes Gained Putting: Bermudagrass (Last 24 rounds)
1. Chesson Hadley 31
2. Denny McCarthy 22.6
3. Zach Johnson 20.6
4. Brendon Todd 16.7
5. J.T. Poston 16.2
6. Sam Burns 15.7 
7. Patton Kizzire 13.8
8. Jimmy Walker 13.2
9. Brian Gay 12.9
10. Camilo Villegas 12.2
11. Adam Hadwin 12.1
12. Brian Stuard 12
Strokes Gained Short Game (Strokes Gained Putting +  Strokes Gained Around The Green; Last 24 rounds)
1. Brian Stuard 30.2
2. Sam Burns 21.1
3. Kevin Tway 20.8
4. Mackenzie Hughes 20
5. Seamus Power 19.2
6. Adam Hadwin 17.2
7. Zach Johnson 16.9
8. Harold Varner III 16.5
9. Cameron Tringale 14.1
10. Taylor Pendrith 14
11. Cameron Davis 13.4
12. Patton Kizzire 13.3
13. Brandt Snedeker 13.3
The Sanderson Farms is obviously an event that requires a lot of birdies, but bogey avoidance is just as important.
 
Bogeys Avoided (Last 24 rounds)
1. Seamus Power 20.6
2. Nick Hardy 17.7
3. Mito Pereira 17.7
4. Cameron Tringale 15.9
5. Chris Kirk 15.3
6. Aaron Rai 14.8
7. Henrik Norlander 13.2
8. Brian Stuard 13
9. Ryan Armour 12.6
10. Matt Wallace 12.5
11. Luke List 12.3
12. Doc Redman 11.4
SELECTIONS
 
Mito Pereira 33-1
 
Pereira earned the "battlefield promotion" to the PGA Tour earlier this summer, posting his second and third Korn Ferry Tour wins in June. He has hit the ground running on the big tour with three top-6 finishes in seven starts.
 
His best PGA Tour finish came two weeks ago at the Fortinet Championship at Silverado with a T-3. He led the field for SG: Tee-To-Green and was second for SG: Approach but ranked 42nd in putting. 
 
Taylor Pendrith 66-1
 
The Canadian recently graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA Tour. He is the biggest hitter in this field, leading for both Driving Distance and Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. 
 
Chris Kirk 80-1
 
Kirk is a previous champion of this event, having won the 2011 Viking Classic at Annandale. He also has some success on this course having finished runner-up in 2016.
 
Matt Wallace 125-1
 
Wallace could fare well here with the drop in field quality class. 
 
Over the last six months, Wallace ranks fourth SG: TOT, fifth T2G, seventh SG: ARG and 13th SG: BS. He’s also top 20 in Good Drives Gained, GIRs Gained, Par-4 Scoring and Par-5 Scoring.
 
Roger Sloan 150-1
 
Another Canadian could fit the bill here. Sloan was part of that six-way playoff last month in the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield. Sedgefield has proved to be a relatively strong correlation here over the years.
 
Aside from that runner-up, he also finished T-6 at the Barracuda Championship and can go low at birdie-fest type of events. 
 
Greyson Sigg 160-1
 
Sigg is another player who recently earned a promotion to the PGA Tour. He won the Albertsons Boise Open last month to lock up his card. 
 
He finished a respectable 30th in his PGA Tour debut at Silverado but should enjoy the return to Bermuda greens.
 
Sigg got engaged last weekend, so he could do well here arriving in a positive frame of mind.
 
Hayden Buckley 200-1
 
Buckley recently earned a promotion to the PGA Tour via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, where he posted a seventh in the Albertsons Boise Open and a fourth in the United Leasing Tour Championship.
 
The Chattanooga, Tenn., native ranked 19th in Driving Accuracy and ninth in GIR this past season on the Korn Ferry Tour, where he posted a win at the Suncoast Classic. 
 
After a missed cut two weeks ago at Silverado, Buckley should enjoy the return to Bermuda greens in Mississippi. 
 
Anirban Lahiri 200-1
 
Lahiri is fifth in this week's field for SG: Off The Tee over the last 24 rounds. 
 
The man from India has made the cut here in each of the last two years having been in much worse form than he is now. He has two top-5s on tour in 2021. 
 
 
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
 
After their resounding defeat at Whistling Straits, three members of Team Europe — Shane Lowry (12-1), Tommy Fleetwood (14-1), and two-time event champion Tyrrell Hatton (16-1) — will try to put last week's Ryder Cup behind them and focus on the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as the European Tour's Race to Dubai heats up. 
 
Tony Finau of the victorious Team USA was supposed to appear here but was a late withdrawal on Monday. Billy Horschel (14-1) won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth a couple of weeks ago and stays for another week in Europe as he is second on the Race to Dubai points list. Alex Noren (16-1) and Branden Grace (25-1) bring good form over the last couple of months into this week. 
 
A host of European players have their eye on the next Ryder Cup, including Thomas Pieters (28-1), Victor Perez (28-1), Robert MacIntyre (35-1), Sam Horsfield (40-1) and Thomas Detry (40-1).
 
THE EVENT
 
This event, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19, is structured very similarly to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and was started in 2001. Each professional partners with an amateur for the pro-am portion of the event and plays on a three-course rotation including The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie Golf Links and Kingsbarns Golf Links. After each pair has played each course, there is a 54-hole cut made of the top 60 professionals and the top 20 pro-am pairs. These players will all play at St. Andrews on Sunday.
 
THE COURSES
 
The Old Course at St. Andrews is known as the “Home of golf” and its history dates to the 15th century. It has hosted more British Opens than any other course (29) and currently hosts it every five years. The 7,307-yard, par-72 has a peculiar setup of 14 par-4s and just two par-3s and two par-5s. St. Andrews features seven double greens with huge, fescue/bentgrass putting surfaces. The 17th Road Hole, with its notorious bunker, and the closing 18th, which features the Swilcan Bridge and the Valley of Sin, are the most famous and iconic closing holes on the planet. Ross Fisher set the course record of 61 here in 2017. In the first three days of the tournament, the pins will be much easier for the professionals and amateurs but will be set up a lot tougher after the 54-hole cut.
 
Carnoustie Golf Links will be the toughest course of the three in the Dunhill Links rota. It usually scores around two strokes higher than the others. Carnoustie plays as a par-72 of 7,412 yards for this event and hosted the British Open (it plays as a par-71 for the major) eight times, most recently in 2018, which was won by Francesco Molinari (-8, 276). The course record of 63 was set by Tommy Fleetwood in the 2017 event. Carnoustie can also present an interesting betting angle if you have in-play wagering available. Typically, you will find good value on the players who play Carnoustie on Thursday as the players get the toughest course out of the way.
 
Kingsbarns Golf Links, located six miles south of St. Andrews, will be the easiest course. It plays as a par-72 of 7,150 yards, so it is the shortest of the three. Unlike its cohorts in the Dunhill Links rota, Kingsbarns is a relatively new course and was designed in 2000 by Kyle Phillips, who has spent years under the tutelage of Robert Trent Jones Jr. Branden Grace set the course record of 60 in the 2012 event before going on to victory.
 
RECENT HISTORY/WINNERS
 
2019: Victor Perez (-22/266); 175-1
2018: Lucas Bjerregaard (-15/273); 50-1
2017: Tyrrell Hatton (-24/264); 22-1
2016: Tyrrell Hatton (-23/265); 66-1
2015: Thorbjorn Olesen (-18/270); 200-1
2014: Oliver Wilson (-17/271); 500-1
2013: David Howell (-23/265); 125-1*
2012: Branden Grace (-22/266); 50-1
2011: Michael Hoey (-22/266); 250-1
2010: Martin Kaymer (-17/271); 16-1
* playoff win over Peter Uihlein
 
TRENDS AND ANGLES
Eight of the last 12 winners had won an event in the current or previous calendar year.
13 of the last 19 winners were from the United Kingdom.
SELECTIONS
 
Thomas Detry 35-1
 
Detry is getting the reputation for being the proverbial bridesmaid with four runner-up finishes on the European Tour over the last two seasons (2020: Hero Open, Celtic Classic; 2021: Porsche European Open, Scottish Open).
 
He is one of those younger European players who have the talent but need to step up and get into the winner's circle. 
 
Laurie Canter 66-1
 
Last time out, Canter posted his best finish of the 2021 season with a T-2 at the BMW Championship. 
 
Between that finish at Wentworth and this week's event, he was married last weekend.
 
Canter ranks second on the European Tour for SG: Off The Tee,  fifth for Greens In Regulation and sixth for SG: Tee To Green. 
 
Matthew Jordan 70-1
 
Jordan won won the St. Andrews Links Trophy in 2017. He was the 36-hole leader here in the 2019 event before settling for a T-5. 
 
Finishes of 17th at the BMW International Open, 12th at the Irish Open and 18th at the Scottish Open were positive improvements over his early 2021 season form. A sixth on Scottish soil at nearby Fairmont St. Andrews for the Hero Open and a fourth at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland suggest that a win could be just around the corner.
 
Antoine Rozner 70-1
 
Rozner cashed for us earlier in the season at the Qatar Masters and is a very capable wind player. 
 
He is on a run of nine straight cuts made and ranks third on the European Tour for SG: Off The Tee and eighth for SG: Tee To Green. 
 
Min Woo Lee 70-1
 
Lee's two European Tour victories have come on coastal layouts with breezy conditions — the Vic Open and the Scottish Open earlier this year. 
 
He ranks 19th for SG: Off The Tee and third for SG: Around The Green. 
 
Matthew Southgate 130-1
 
Southgate is another player with a victory on the Old Course at St. Andrews, winning the same amateur event as Jordan in 2010.
 
He is a proven links player as evidenced by his runner-up finish here in 2019 and is a member at Carnoustie. This is his first trip to Carnoustie since the death of his father, so the obvious emotion could be a factor.
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