The Sanderson Farms Championship, which is being held at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss., has been known for its out-of-the-blue winners.
The last four years bear that out.
Last year, Cameron Champ, a PGA Tour rookie, came from back in the pack to win his first title by making birdies on five of his last six holes on Sunday for the victory. It’s his only win on Tour so far and that’s been a pattern around this event.
In 2017, Ryan Armour, a 20-year PGA Tour player, posted his first victory on Tour when he held on to win by a stroke. He’s won $5.3 million on Tour, but has just the one victory.
Then there’s 2016. Cody Gribble, a PGA Tour rookie, birdied five of his last eight holes on Sunday to win his first (and only so far) PGA Tour title.
Before that, it was Peter Malnati’s turn to hit the winner’s circle at this event in 2015 for his one and only PGA Tour victory.
We’re seeing a pattern here. Young or old, this event has celebrated first-time winners. Will this year be more of the same? We think so.
If you’re looking to make a name for yourself on the PGA Tour, no matter if it’s just two weeks, the week after the win and then the next year returning as the defending champ, the point is this is a great event to break into that win column. Just ask the last four winners.
Add in the fact that this will be the first time the winner receives 500 FedEx Cup points instead of 300 and there’s a little more incentive.
Maybe it’s the golf course. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. Maybe it’s just dumb luck. But whatever the reason or reasons, we’re going to ride it and go with players who haven’t won on Tour yet.
Perhaps it’s because they were in a rookie class, but that’s apparently O.K. as Champ, Gribble and Malnati have shown us that experience may be overrated. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, maybe it’s because of years of experience and finally getting that one chance to break through as in Armour’s case.
But whatever the reasoning we like the chances there will be a first-time winner this week. One thing is certain: the guy we are going to pick has to be coming into this event playing well.
And that guy is Scottie Scheffler at 25-1. He’s another one of these guys coming off the Korn Ferry Tour who just looks ready to win right now.
In fact, he was in the mix this past week at the A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier event. Making his first start as a PGA Tour member, he set a blistering pace in the first two rounds.
He just came onto the PGA Tour after having been the Korn Ferry’s man to beat for the year. Now he’s taking his talents to the PGA Tour.
Like Michael Wolff and Collin Morikawa who both won in the early weeks of their PGA Tour careers, this week it could be Scheffler’s turn.
He was the talk of the tournament last week until Kevin Chappell’s 59 took the headlines away. Scheffler finished an impressive T7 in that debut and he will be right back at it fighting for a title. Maybe even this week.