Martin Leads The Sanderson Farms Field
Sanderson Farms Championship
Established in 1968, the Sanderson Farms Classic has been moved about the calendar during its 46 year history and was left out of the PGA schedule altogether last season as the Tour moved to its new wrap-around format.
It has generally been staged opposite higher profile events, as an alternative for lower-ranked players, and this year is being held at the same time as the WGC HSBC Championship.
The Country Club of Jackson, Mississippi dates back to 1914, though the current course was created in 1962 and redesigned in 2008. It has hosted five amateur championships, but this will be its first PGA Tour event, and while the traditional parkland lay-out should present no problems, the tricky, small greens may cause a few problems for those who haven’t encountered them before.
In The Bunker
The field for this event looks weak by PGA Tour standards, which explains why five-time Tour winner Nick Watney tops the antepost betting. He has the class and experience to walk away with this event, but it has to be said he doesn’t go into it in the best of shape, having missed the Sunday cut at the McGladrey Classic two weeks ago. At 18/1 there are better value bets in Mississippi this week.
Ben Martin had a taste of the full PGA Tour in 2011, and after finishing second on the money list for last season’s Web.com Tour, he announced his return to the PGA fold by winning his first Tour title in his second event of the new season, at the Shriners Hospitals Open.
He followed that up with a solid effort at the McGladrey Classic last time out and he’s worth sticking with this week at 25/1.
Tony Finau is another young American player to keep an eye on in the coming months. He qualified for the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour in consecutive seasons and has made a good start to his Tour career, scoring three sub-70 rounds at the Frys.com Open to finish twelfth, and following up with top fifteen finishes at the Shriners Hospitals Open and the McGladrey Classic. These weak early-season events often go to a talented rookie and Finau fits the bill at 25/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is another relative newcomer to the PGA, Robert Streb, who showed steady improvement in his first two years on the Tour, but has started this season with a bang. He finished tenth at the Shriners Hospitals Open, before earning his breakthrough win at the McGladrey Classic, shooting a superb final round of 63 and then holding his nerve to win a three-way play-off. In that kind of form, and high on confidence, he’s worth backing at 25/1 this week.