Fresh off team-play competition at the Presidents Cup, it’s back to every man for himself on the PGA Tour. Sam Burns is the only American President Cupper in the mix at the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship, at The Country Club of Jackson, in Jackson, Miss.
He’s also the defending champion, and the odds-on favorite in the event. According to the bookies, Sahith Theegala, who led the Sanderson through three rounds last year, has the next best chance at the title, followed by Denny McCarthy, J.T. Poston, Russell Henley and . . . you get the picture. It’s not the season’s most imposing field.
But it is an opportunity to make some savvy plays.
For that, Andy Lack is here to help. GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator has been busy crunching numbers to come up with his four top wagers for the week.
We’ve outlined them below.
As for our format, we’re keeping it the same by asking our expert prognosticator, Andy Lack, to supply us with his four favorite wagers. And because we like to track public opinion, too, we’re also including data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform (and GOLF.com affiliate) that allows fans to engage with the action through a range of games. You can check out those Chirp stats at the bottom of this page.
On to the event. May the best bettor win!
ANDY LACK’S PICKS
Winner: Davis Riley (45/1)
Odds available at Bet365
Golfers are like stocks: their value swings throughout the season. I always looked to buy them when they’re underpriced. That’s why I’m going with Riley, one of the premiere talents in the field who missed the cut at the Fortinet Championship two weeks ago due to a faulty putter. Otherwise, the 25-year-old was neutral off the tee, and gained 1.5 strokes on approach. He failed to make the weekend only because he lost a combined 8.1 strokes around the green and putting. The final leaderboard can be deceiving, Riley hit the ball better than third-place finisher Taylor Montgomery! I expect Riley to bounce back in Jackson.
Despite his less-than-inspiring course history, my numbers suggest that this venue is actually an incredibly strong fit for the Alabama native. Riley ranks in the top 25 in this field in strokes gained off the tee on long courses, strokes gained approach, birdies or better gained, opportunities gained, strokes gained total in easy scoring conditions, strokes gained tee to green on Bermuda-grass courses, and par-five scoring. I expect Riley to be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon in Jackson.
Top 10: Thomas Detry (+550)
Odds available at FanDuel
While most fans of the PGA Tour might not yet be familiar with Detry, I expect that to change. The 29-year-old Belgian has spent most of his career on the DP World Tour, but through the Korn Ferry Finals, he has earned full status on the PGA Tour for the 2022-2023 season. Mining through Detry’s data from across the pond, it’s abundantly clear that Detry has the modern game to succeed at the highest level. The University of Illinois graduate was one of the most dominant drivers on the DP World Tour last season, and this was on full display at the Fortinet Championship, where he gained 4.8 strokes off the tee in his PGA Tour season debut. I expect Detry to thrive at the Country Club of Jackson, a driver-heavy course where bombers have experienced loads of success over the years.
Top 40: Adam Svensson (+125)
Odds available at FanDuel
Svensson continues to be prominently featured in this column, and I see no reason to hop off now on the heels of his 12th place finish at the Fortinet, where he gained over four strokes ball striking. The young Canadian is a macro buy for me. I’m extremely high on his talent and I will continue to have exposure to him week in and week out. The 28-year-old is one of the best short-iron players in this field, and he ranks fifth overall in birdie or better percentage as well. I have little doubt about his ability to keep up in a birdie-fest. He should finish comfortably in the top 40.
Matchup: Keegan Bradley (+110) over Taylor Montgomery
Odds available at FanDuel
I spoke about buying players at their low point in regard to Davis Riley, and I believe we have the inverse situation with Montgomery. The young Korn Ferry Tour grad is coming off a deceptive third-place finish at the Fortinet Championship, where he gained 11.2 strokes putting. Montgomery couldn’t even muster field average ball-striking, and he would have failed to even make the weekend without a scorching flat-stick. Montgomery is currently one of the most over-valued players in this entire field, and I expect his putter to regress significantly this week.
Bradley, on the other hand, is a great buy candidate for me. We haven’t seen the four-time PGA Tour winner since August, but I love this course for him. The former PGA Championship winner is one of the best drivers of the ball in the field, an excellent wedge player and par five scorer, and he’s even experienced some nice success before on Champion Bermuda greens. The wrong player is favored here. Take the plus money with Bradley.
WHO FANS LIKE TO WIN
The Trifecta game on Chirp calls for users to make three picks: a favorite, a contender, and a long shot. Nearly 500 Chirp users have already made their choices. Here’s a look at the three top vote getters in each category, along with the percentage of support they have received. (Want to play for yourself? Click here!)
Favorites (players ranked 1-20)
Sam Burns (56.50 percent)
Sepp Straka (10.57 percent)
Sahith Theegala (9.67 percent)
Contenders (players ranked 21-60)
Taylor Montgomery (22.96 percent)
Emiliano Grillo (15.11 percent)
Brendan Steele (9.97 percent)
Long Shots (players ranked 61 and higher)
Patrick Rodgers (19.34 percent0
Justin Lower (10.57 percent)
Michael Thompson (9.97 percent)