Sleeper Picks: Sanderson Farms Championship
4 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
Russell Knox (+175 = Top 40) … It took some scrolling – always the preferred exercise when looking for a golfer – to find him at this value for this finish. All five of the Scot’s paydays in six appearances at the Country Club of Jackson are top-35 finishes. It’s why he has our attention. While he’s fallen out of our favor during a lackluster 2022-23, he recorded one of his three top 25s on the season here last year. He also arrives having cashed in seven of his last eight starts, including a T30 at the Fortinet Championship three weeks ago. That connects better with his baseline profile as a consistent contributor. Because he’s fourth on the PGA TOUR in Greens in Regulation, investors are relying completely on at least a couple of strong days with the putter. The upshot is that his recent form should yield four opportunities.
Hayden Buckley (+200 = Top 20) … So much for residual consternation about his recovery and reconnecting with competitive feels after missing a few weeks with a torn rib muscle. His value for a top 40 is longer than everyone else in his vicinity on the board, so it’s not worth reaching. Everyone is onto him now. In the only start of his return to action, he finished T52 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. His performance was impressive except for the fact that he exhibited rust in his greenside game. Because it felt like he was out for longer than six weeks prior to reappearing for the FedExCup Playoffs, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a week longer than that since his last start in advance of this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship. So, with additional rest and recovery and a 3-for-3 slate at CC of Jackson where he has a T4 (2021) and a T19 (2022), as well as a scoring average of 68.25 in his last eight rounds here, lean into the higher kickback.
Kevin Yu (-135 = Top 40) … He’s in close proximity to Buckley on the BetMGM board, but the 25-year-old PGA TOUR rookie is offered as a test in case you haven’t attached emotion to his possibilities before. Stands out statistically as one of the best tee-to-green, but he’s been limited to just 17 starts after missing over four months to recover from surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. That’s old news but while he qualifies officially for rankings, they still deserve pause. Furthermore, in the seven tournaments since he returned in late June, he’s cashed just three times and only once for a top-35 finish (T6, John Deere Classic). He reclaims attention and confidence this week because he finished T19 in his tournament debut a year ago.
Henrik Norlander (+220 = Top 40) … The 36-year-old from Sweden likely would say that he’s too familiar with having his back against the wall at this time of year. This is his sixth season with a PGA TOUR card but he’s qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs just twice. Yet, both of his strongest records are in tournaments still remaining this fall. The RSM Classic is a failsafe next month but the Sanderson Farms also is a comfort zone. In the last three editions, he’s gone T4-T4-T24 with a scoring average of 68.33. It’s the kind of success you’d expect from the underrated ball-striker, and you should again this week.
Vince Whaley (+125 = Top 40) … It’s amusing at how a couple of strong weeks by a guy who was outside the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking recently can deflate value, but BetMGM wants to stay in business, so it’s also not surprising. After sitting out seven months due to an injured wrist, he’s made 10 starts across two tours but hadn’t connected impressive showings until a T6 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron on the Korn Ferry Tour and a T25 at the Fortinet Championship here in the big leagues. This is his fifth consecutive trip to CC of Jackson, and while his next top 40 on the course will be his first, so will his next missed cut. Marry the form with ample experience and consider multiplying the unit.
Odds were sourced on Oct. 3, 2023. For live odds, visit BetMGM.
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Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.