The PGA Tour is heading back to the mainland.
After a brief stint in the Dominican Republic, the circuit returns to the U.S. for this week's Sanderson Farms Championship. Serving as the Tour's lone annual stop in Mississippi, the Sanderson has crowned a first-time winner each of the last six years while seeing a wide array of players lift the trophy. Anytime you can find a venue where both Peter Malnati (2015) and Cameron Champ (2018) can win, you've definitely stumbled upon a diverse setup and one where scores are usually expected to go low.
Scottie Scheffler is back from his COVID-19 related withdrawal from the U.S. Open and headlines the field as a +1000 betting favorite, followed by last year's runner-up, Sungjae Im (+1300). For the second straight week it's a relatively scant field, with five of the top eight on the odds board in search of their maiden win.
From three players who could fit the first-timers bill to a notable matchup including a former Masters champ, here are a few players and bets to consider for this week's tournament:
To Win (odds via PointsBet Sportsbook)
Sam Burns (+2500): I had him featured in this spot last week, and there's no reason to back off him now. Burns stumbled to a third-round 78 in the Dominican but otherwise put up three solid efforts, including a bounceback 66 in the final round that was one shot off the day's best score. The former LSU product is plenty familiar with golf in the Deep South and putting on Bermuda greens, and he was 16th last season on Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. He finished T-7 three weeks ago in Napa, where he held the 36-hole lead, and it's only a matter of time before he finds a way to string four straight rounds together.
Doc Redman (+3000): Redman is another player who seems to be inching closer to a breakthrough. The former U.S. Amateur champ has finished T-3 in two of his last three starts, at Wyndham and in his most recent start in Napa. Redman has been a pleasant surprise since returning from the break, with six top-30 finishes in 10 starts including a T-29 showing at the PGA Championship. He's is one of the best iron players on Tour (11th last season in SG: Approach) and showed what he can do on Bermuda greens last month at Sedgefield. If the approach play is up to his standard, he's a likely contender.
Luke List (+4000): If a bomber like Champ can win here, then List can absolutely factor. One of the Tour's longest hitters, the 35-year-old has still never won on Tour but did win the first Korn Ferry event back from the pandemic break in June. He's also had a few close calls, including a runner-up finish at this event four years ago when he shared the 54-hole lead. List enters off a solid T-8 finish last week in Punta Cana and should contend if the putter (174th last season in SG: putting) simply upgrades to lukewarm, let alone hot.
Top Finishes (odds via PointsBet)
Sebastian Munoz (+320 top-10 finish): The defending champ at more than 3:1 to get back into the top 10? Sign me up. Munoz went cold after his breakthrough win in Jackson a year ago, but he started to heat up down the stretch last season while qualifying for his first-ever Tour Championship. The Colombian cracked the top 20 in each of the three playoff events, and he made the cut at the U.S. Open in his most recent start. He's 3-for-3 in made cuts in Jackson, highlighted by last year's playoff win over Sungjae Im, and could threaten for a successful title defense.
Byeong-Hun An (+340 top-10 finish): If we're highlighting players who are looking for a maiden win, An has to factor somewhere. The South Korean captured the European Tour's flagship event in 2015 but has yet to win in the U.S. as a pro, despite a number of near-misses including a third-place showing at this event last year. An boasts a trio of high-profile top-25 finishes in his last five starts: the WGC-FedEx St. Jude, PGA Championship and BMW Championship. With An it's always about the putter, but last year showed that he can manage his way around the greens in Jackson.
Davis Riley (+1000 top-20 finish): You can get +1200 for a top-10 finish, but I'd rather sacrifice a fraction of the price and gain 10 extra spots on the local product. Riley hails from nearby Hattiesburg and played this event last year on a sponsor invite, finishing T-39. He's playing this year primarily on the Korn Ferry Tour, where he has already won twice and a third title would earn him an instant promotion. Look no further than Will Zalatoris' recent run to see that some of the top KFT talent can more than hold their own on the big stage, especially at an event like this that combines local knowledge and a watered-down field.
Head-to-Head Matchups (odds via PointsBet)
Rafa Cabrera-Bello (+110) over Sergio Garcia: This is a matchup between the field's lone Spaniards, and while Garcia has a green jacket and more name recognition, the better option is to take Cabrera-Bello at plus-money. Garcia fell to 51st in the world rankings this week on the heels of three missed cuts in his last four starts, marking the first time he's been outside the top 50 since August 2011. Meanwhile, Cabrera-Bello enters off a T-23 showing at Winged Foot where he was one of only a handful of players under par through 36 holes.
Henrik Stenson (-167) over Henrik Norlander: It's a juicy price, but one worth paying to back the correct Henrik. Stenson is making the second of two tournament debuts, coming off a T-21 finish in Punta Cana where he didn't appear hampered by any lingering rust. His accurate iron play should yield plenty of birdie opportunities on the tree-lined layout, while Norlander is still struggling to get things back on track after three straight missed cuts in the wake of a surprise summer run.
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