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Sanderson Farms: Can Burns go back-to-back?

Sam Burns

Sam Burns

Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we were treated to an exciting President’s Cup, and the United States won for the 12th time by a score of 17.5 to 12.5. Impressively, the International Team covered the +6.5 spread. Now that the President’s Cup is in the books, we focus on the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi. The defending champion Sam Burns is in the field and is the betting favorite on BetMGM at +1000. Burns is one of three golfers making the trip from Quail Hollow to the Country Club of Jackson. Sebastian Munoz (+2800) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+3300) as the other two.

This course favors good ball strikers who can putt and make birdies in bunches. The guys I am targeting in the outright market are a bit chalky, but if the 2021 season proved anything, it’s that chalk will win more times than not. Here are the golfers that I am betting on this week:

Sam Burns (+1000)

Despite the short price for Burns, I’m gladly backing the defending champion. When describing this course, I’ve said it would benefit great ball strikers who can putt and make birdies in bunches. That is precisely what Burns is. He’s one of the best ball strikers in the field. When he played here last season, he gained +8.3 strokes on approach.

Burns looks to have rebounded from his disappointing Tour Championship. Despite not scoring well in the team events, he still played good golf. His game translates well here, and there is a talent advantage over the field. If he plays at the top of his game, he will win. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but he’s a mandatory play at the short price.

Sebastian Munoz (+2800)

The 2019 champion is someone you want to back at a course designed to favor birdie getters. As evidence of his win here, he loves when he can go out to a course and only focus on draining as many birdies as possible. Munoz gains a ton of strokes on approach, and when dialed in, he’s hard to take down. He missed the cut here last season, but that was in the midst of playing terrible golf. He missed the cut in the tournament before and after. His game seems to be in good shape. After all, he was matched up against the United States buzzsaw at the President’s Cup and still won the top International Rookie. He’s probably fourth on my list of guys I want to back this week, but his skill set and win here are hard to ignore.

Sahith Theegala (+1800)

Theegala is slowly becoming one of my favorite golfers. His nonchalant demeanor on the golf course gives me serious Patrick Cantlay or Xander Schauffele vibes. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a massive Schauffele fan. I’m a fan of anyone who makes me a ton of money. Theegala is entering that territory. His price for top-20 and top-40 has drastically gone down, so the value on that isn’t quite as high. It’s the same thing with his outright price. I know that a win for him is near. I honestly want his win to come somewhere like TPC Sawgrass, where his price will be much higher at a course that he could dominate, but I don’t mind him winning us a few bucks this weekend.

Theegala should continue to dominate this course much like he did last season. He’s a bomber who won’t get penalized for his sometimes-wayward tee ball. He’s excellent on approach and can make birdies in bunches. For Theegala, it’s just a matter of time, and he might be a golfer; I bet every tournament this year. His game fits so many courses, so his first win could come just about anywhere.

Davis Riley (+4000)

Hello Mr. Mississippi! The Hattiesburg, MS native will play the part of the local favorite. While he’s probably more familiar with this course than many in the field, he hasn’t had much success here. He’s missed back-to-back cuts here, but I would argue he’s a much better golfer this year than the last two years.

He wasn’t overly impressive at the Fortinet Championship. He lost a ton of strokes, but he’s had two weeks to work out the kinks with his putter. I don’t see Riley struggling with his putter this week, Bermuda grass at a course he’s familiar with. His game makes sense here. He’s a great ball striker; he gains a ton of strokes on approach and off the tee. I’d gladly take my chances on Riley this week.

J.T. Poston (+2000)

Wait a minute Mr. Postman! Do you think I will bet on four other golfers at a birdie fest and not include Poston? It’s not happening. Before building any models, I wanted to bet on Poston because of the course. Despite missing the cut here last season, he has a ton of success here. When looking at a scoreable course, Poston is the guy you want. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Poston is the second golfer in my primary model. Poston fits here. He’s top 10 in birdies or better gained, putting, around the green and scrambling. He makes sense, and he’s a guy you don’t want to leave off your card here.