Sanderson Farms Championship 2021 DFS picks: Our favorite upside plays of the week
We’re back to normal PGA Tour DFS after last week’s Ryder Cup format. Though the Country Club of Jackson isn’t as much of a mainstay as some others on tour, this is the eighth year the Sanderson Farms Championship will be played at the John Fought layout, so we do have a good idea of how to predict success here.
Historically, this is a course that favors distance off the tee without regard for accuracy. Per the RickRunGood.com course model, Driving Accuracy ranked 50 (out of 70 courses) in terms of importance. That means there are 49 other courses where accuracy off-the-tee is more valuable.
Sergio Garcia is making the trip from Whistling Straits to defend his title. He will be joined by Sam Burns, Corey Conners, Sungjae Im and Will Zalatoris at the top of the board. Generally, it will take a lot of birdies to hoist the trophy on Sunday—the average winning score of this event is 19-under par.
Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Sungjae Im ($10,300 DraftKings | $11,700 FanDuel)
We started to see the ball-striking prowess return for Im at the end of last season, gaining strokes off-the-tee in each of his last seven starts while gaining strokes on approach in four of his last five. That resulted in four straight top-25 finishes, highlighted by a third-place finish at the BMW Championship. He finished runner-up at this event in 2019 and T-28 last season, so he obviously likes the course.
Safest Option: Corey Conners ($10,100 DraftKings | $11,500 FanDuel)
Few golfers on tour are as steady as Conners, who has 13 top-25 finishes in his past 18 starts. During that stretch, he hasn’t lost strokes off-the-tee once and has gained strokes on approach in all but two starts. His ball-striking gives him one of the highest floors in the field, and there’s no reason to think it’ll be any different this week.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Cameron Tringale ($9,400 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)
Tringale has a price tag this week that we don’t often see. At $9,400, it’s the third most expensive he’s been in his career. The concerns continue to revolve around his driver, which was one of his weapons to start last season. Unfortunately for Tringale, he’s failed to harness that weapon and has lost strokes off-the-tee in nine of his past 10 measured starts.
Pick To Win: Sam Burns ($11,000 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
Burns is on the verge of a breakout season, and it begins here in Jackson, Miss. He gained at least five strokes on the field in 12.9 percent of his rounds last season, the highest rate on tour, via the RickRunGood.com database. That’s a ceiling that literally no other golfer on tour can match, and now he heads to a course that should suit him perfectly.
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$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Carlos Ortiz ($8,900 DraftKings | $10,100 FanDuel)
Ortiz has gained 2.2 strokes per round in his 10 rounds at the Country Club of Jackson. That’s the best mark of anyone in this field with at least that many rounds. He will need to fix his putter, but if he can get hot on the greens, he can certainly contend.
Safest Option: Kevin Streelman ($8,900 DraftKings | $10,500 FanDuel)
Streelman will be popular, and for good reason, this week in Jackson. He had a decent run of golf at the end of last season, including a T-7 at the Wyndham Championship. On top of that, he has three top-18 finishes in his past four trips to the Sanderson Farms.
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Most Likely To Disappoint: Matthew Wolff ($8,500 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel)
I’ll be taking a “wait and see” approach on Wolff, who continues to struggle with his driver, losing strokes off-the-tee in seven of his last 11 measured events. If he continues to struggle with that club, you’ll see it translate into poor results.
Pick To Win: Seamus Power ($8,800 DraftKings | $10,400 FanDuel)
Power was excellent down the stretch last season, earning top-20 finishes in six of his past eight starts, including a victory at the Barbasol. His advanced metrics indicate that he’s one of the better ball-strikers in this field, so he should be primed to contend.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Joseph Bramlett ($7,900 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
Bramlett (pictured in the first photo) captured victory a few weeks ago at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship and proceeded to make the cut in Napa. Bramlett is a big hitter, ranking 14th on tour in driving distance last season but 155th in driving accuracy. Lucky for him, the Country Club of Jackson won’t be too penal if he misses the short grass.
Safest Option: David Lipsky ($7,200 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel)
Lipsky feels a bit further along than most of the other recent Korn Ferry Tour graduates. Maybe because he’s made 20 starts on tour and has four top 25s in his past nine PGA Tour events. He finished T-22 in Napa, highlighted by his Friday 64, which was the round of the day.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Brandt Snedeker ($7,200 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)
It’s been a struggle for Snedeker, who missed the cut in Napa, making it three MCs in his past four starts. Even more concerning, Snedeker has lost 7.5 strokes on approach over his past three starts, per the RickRunGood.com database.
Pick To Win: Taylor Pendrith ($7,800 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)
Pendrith was a staple on the top of leader boards on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, ending with eight consecutive cuts made and six top-25 finishes. In his first event of this season on the PGA Tour, he finished T-36 in Napa. This is a really good spot for him to make some noise.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: John Augenstein ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel)
The All-American out of Vanderbilt flashed the talent two weeks ago in Napa, finishing T-6 in Napa. He gained 6.17 strokes on approach, the third-highest mark in the field that week. Even more encouraging, he gained strokes in all four major stat categories. If this is what we can expect from Augenstein this season, he’s going to become a fantasy darling in a hurry.
Safest Option: Rory Sabbatini ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel)
Globally, Sabbatini has made five cuts in a row, but the two you might remember are his silver medal at the Olympics and his T-10 at the Wyndham Championship. Combine that with his 12th-place finish at this event last year and his T-20 in 2019, and you’ve got a golfer playing well at a course that should fit his game. There are few guys in this range that can offer what Sabbatini does.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Peter Malnati ($6,500 DraftKings | $8,300 FanDuel)
It’s easy to look back at Malnati’s runner-up finish last year and consider him for this week, but I would tread lightly. He's missed the cut in 13 of his past 17 starts and has gained strokes from tee-to-green in only three of those events.
Pick To Win: Tom Hoge ($7,200 DraftKings | $8,300 FanDuel)
I know he's not in this range, but Hoge at the bottom of the $7,000 range is someone who will be in a lot of my lineups, so I wanted to highlight him here. Hoge has made three cuts in a row, but we’ve learned over the years that he is a true “popper” with the ability to fly up the leader board without much warning. His most recent “pop” was a T-4 at the Northern Trust, an event with a much deeper field than he will see this week in Jackson.
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Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.