PGA Tour Picks: Sanderson Farms Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Looking for a potential breakout star this season on the PGA Tour? I give you 20-year-old Chilean Joaquin Niemann. I picked him a couple of times to win last season, but he wasn't able to finish the job. On Sunday, at the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, Niemann shot a final round 6-under 64 to finish at 21-under 259 for his first Tour victory in the season opener. No player from Chile had ever won on the PGA Tour previously, and Niemann might have made a compelling case to be one of Ernie Els' captain's choices for the International Team in the upcoming Presidents Cup.
It was quite an interesting first event. Niemann joined Seve Ballesteros and Rory McIlroy as the only players born outside the USA to win on the Tour before turning 21 in the last 95 years. Niemann has played at the Greenbrier three times and has shot a final-round 64 in each. In addition, we had a 59 shot in the second round by Kevin Chappell. That's the 11 th sub-60 score in Tour history and from a guy who missed last season due to major back surgery. I didn't get much of anything right last week. My winner was Robert Streb, but he finished 66th. Streb looked like he might contend after opening with rounds of 69-65 but shot 77-70 on the weekend.
This week, the Tour makes its only stop in Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship. This tournament was a big winner on the new schedule because it had always been held opposite a big-time event, so no good players ever entered. Here are some recent winners to prove my point: Cameron Champ, Ryan Armour, Cody Gribble, Peter Malnati and Nick Taylor. Not exactly a who's who of the Tour.
Since 2014, it had been opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions. It also had been played opposite the British Open, a couple of Ryder Cups and even the Masters back before it was an official event. The tournament has been around since 1968 but an official event since 1994. Because it's no longer an opposite-field event, the purse was jacked up this year and the winner gets all the usual perks of winning a regular Tour event like a spot in the Masters and 500 FedEx Cup points. It's still a pretty weak field this year, though, as any big names playing are doing so at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship.
The Country Club of Jackson hosts for the sixth year in a row and is a par 72 measuring 7,421 yards. Last year, Champ set the course 72-hole record for this event by finishing at 21-under 267 and four shots ahead of Canadian Corey Conners. Champ had blown his four-shot 54-hole lead but then pulled away on the back-nine for his first Tour win. Six of the past seven Sanderson Farms Championship victors have been first-time winners on the Tour. The winner gets an awesome big rooster trophy.
Golf Odds: Sanderson Farms Championship Favorites
Niemann is your +1200 favorite at Bovada to win back-to-back weeks. It's his debut here - it's going to be the debut of a lot of guys, which won't make it easy to handicap.
Sungjae Im, who was just named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year for last season, is +1400 with Brandt Snedeker at +1600. Im missed the cut here in 2018 and was 19th last week. Snedeker hasn't played here.
Byeong Hun An, Lucas Glover and Scottie Scheffler are all +2500 with Champ +5000 to become the first repeat winner of this tournament. Champ had only three Top 10s including that win last season and all were in the fall.
Golf Odds: Sanderson Farms Championship Picks
For a Top 10, go Snedeker (+180), Roberto Castro (+675) as he's been Top 5 his past two trips, and Martin Laird (+550), who was seventh last year. We will roll with Shawn Stefani at +12500 to get his first Tour win. He comes off a missed cut in West Virginia but has been Top 10 here the past two years.
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