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The Starter - Sanderson Farms Championship

Sep 27th 2022

Nick DeMott

Updated throughout each tournament week, 'The Starter' will provide key news, notes, and other nuggets prior to the first tee time on Thursday morning. Think of it as an all-in-one resource to help guide you in the days leading up to the start of the tournament, as you prepare your fantasy golf lineups and entries. As soon as we receive valuable news updates on things such as tee times, featured groups, withdrawals and other course reports we’ll be sure to post them all here.

Brief Recap of the Presidents Cup

  • The United States Team won over the International Team 17.5-12.5. In doing so, the U.S. improved their Presidents Cup record to a dominant 11 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie.

  • Jordan Spieth produced a perfect 5-0-0 record, winning all of his foursome and fourball matches playing alongside Justin Thomas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He then also won his singles match on Sunday.

  • Spieth became the 6th golfer in Presidents Cup history to go 5-0-0 in a single week.

  • Justin Thomas, who finished 4-1-0, had a chance to match Spieth’s perfect record but lost to Si Woo Kim in Sunday Singles.

  • Speaking of Si Woo Kim, he ended the week as the highest point scorer for the International Team, finishing with a 3-1 record at the Presidents Cup.

  • Sebastian Munoz did not lose a match for the International side, going 2-0-1 in his 3 matches.

  • Max Homa went 4-0-0 in his Presidents Cup debut, continuing his strong play after winning last week’s Fortinet Championship.

  • Lastly, it’s worth noting that the PGA Tour will return to Quail Hollow Club later this season for the 2023 Wells Fargo Championship.

Sanderson Farms Championship (September 29th-October 2nd, 2022)

  • The Country Club of Jackson - Jackson, Mississippi

  • Event #2 of 2022-23 FedExCup regular season

Since 2013, Sanderson Farms has stood as the host sponsor of this event. The tournament has taken place at The Country Club of Jackson since the 2014-15 PGA Tour season.

Last season, The Country Club of Jackson ranked as the 34th (out of 38) easiest course in terms of scoring difficulty. Sam Burns won at -22 last year; Sergio Garcia won at -19 in 2020; Sebastian Munoz won at -18 in 2019; and, Cameron Champ won at -20 in 2018. Over that span, the scoring average (relative to Par) was -1.22 strokes.

Winner's Profile - How Sam Burns gained strokes on the field in 2021:

  • SG Total: +12.83

  • SG T2G: +14.80 (1st)

  • SG OTT: +6.17 (1st)

  • SG APP: +8.28 (2nd)

  • SG ARG: +0.37 (33rd)

  • SG PUTT: -1.98 (57th)

In 2021, Sam Burns lost nearly 2 strokes putting at this event, which is certainly not a common occurrence for a winner of a golf tournament. In fact, Burns was the only golfer in the top-15 of the event who produced negative putting stats. (Strangely enough, Burns also lost strokes putting at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship, where he finished tied for 3rd.)

Burns clearly overcame his woes on the greens at The Country Club of Jackson with a dominant performance ball-striking. His off-the-tee numbers combined with approach accounted for +14.45 strokes gained on the field. Additionally, Burns' stellar ball-striking led to strong GIR and driving stats:

  • Greens in Regulation (GIR%): 2nd

  • Driving Accuracy: 4th

  • Driving Distance: 10th

Burns used his ball-striking to take advantage of the four par-5's at Sanderson Farms in 2021, shooting 11-under for the week on those holes.

Last season, Burns really emerged as one of the top players on the PGA Tour. Looking back it's almost hard to believe that at the start of the 2021 calendar year Burns was the 158th ranked golfer in the world. Fast-forward 9 months later to Burns winning the Sanderson Farms Championship and becoming the 18th ranked golfer in the world.

Burns of course didn't stop there, winning both the Valspar Championship and Charles Schwab Challenge later on in the 2021-22 season. At one point Burns ranked 9th in the world--now he's 12th and coming off being a captain's selection for a stout U.S. Team at the Presidents Cup.

The Field

  • Cameron Champ and Danny Lee pulled out of the field shortly after it was announced. They were replaced by Harry Higgs, who was the first alternate, as well as William Furr, Vaughn Taylor, and Dylan Wu, who all got in under sponsors exemption.

  • Sebastian Munoz withdrew in the afternoon Monday, with no reason given. Munoz played well in last week's Presidents Cup, putting together a 2-0-1 record for the International side.

  • Martin Trainer replaced Munoz in the field as the first alternate this week.

  • Ben Silverman, Cole Hammer, Quade Cummins, and Alejandro Tosti entered the field Monday via open qualifier.

  • Sam Burns is the only OWGR top-30 golfer in this week's field. This is not particularly surprising coming off an event like the Presidents Cup, in which many of the top PGA Tour players just exerted a lot of energy into a taxing week of golf at Quail Hollow.

  • Sepp Straka, Seamus Power, Harris English, and Keegan Bradley are the other top-50 ranked golfers in the field.

  • Sahith Theegala, J.T. Poston, and Russell Henley are notable names just outside the top-50 in the world who are teeing it up at The Country Club of Jackson. Poston and Henley are making their first starts of the new season.

  • Besides Burns, Christiaan Bezuidenhout is the only other golfer in this week's field who also competed at last week's Presidents Cup. Bezuidenhout went 1-0-1 in limited action for the International side.

Injury Report (as of 9AM ET, 9/27)

Brandon Matthews (OWGR 255th)

  • Brandon Matthews withdrew during the first round of the Fortinet Championship (9/15), citing a back injury. Matthews was 4 shots over Par through 8 holes at the time of his WD. He's listed in the field this week, though we have no updates on his health status.

Horses for Courses

Sanderson Farms golfers with highest “True Strokes Gained” (avg. adjusted strokes gained, min. 10 rounds played) at Country Club of Jackson:

  • C.T. Pan (+1.37)

  • Denny McCarthy (+1.35)

  • William McGirt (+1.30)

  • Sam Burns (+0.98)

  • Henrik Norlander (+0.98)

Cumulatively, Denny McCarthy is +20.31 SG: PUTT over the last 4 seasons at the Sanderson Farms Championship. As a notably great putter year after year, it's no surprise to see that McCarthy has excelled on the greens at The Country Club of Jackson. McCarthy finished T18 or better over those 4 appearances at the Sanderson Farms, with his best finish being T6 in 2020.

Sanderson Farms golfers with highest “True Strokes Gained” (avg. adjusted strokes gained, no minimum amount of rounds played) at Country Club of Jackson:

  • Anderson Albertson (+2.06, 4 rounds played at CC of Jackson)

  • MJ Daffue (+1.97, 4 rounds played)

  • Keegan Bradley (+1.47, 6 rounds played)

  • Nick Hardy (+1.37, 4 rounds played)

  • Stewart Cink (+1.37, 8 rounds played)

These are your smaller sample size golfers who have played well in either their one or two appearances at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Anderson Albertson finished 5th in 2018. MJ Daffue finished 12th in 2020. Keegan Bradley finished 4th in 2020 and missed the cut in 2021. Nick Hardy finished 26th in 2021. Stewart Cink finished 28th in 2019 and 12th in 2021.

Weather Report (as of 9AM ET, 9/27)

I'm no meteorologist, but it seems worth mentioning that Jackson, Mississippi appears to be safely out of harms way of Hurricane Ian going through the southeast U.S. this week.

Tee Times for Round 1 and Round 2