Tour’s Fall wraparound slate cranks up

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The wattage on the PGA Tour’s spotlight gets turned up a little more this week at the Sanderson Farms Championship which will be held at the Country Club of Jackson, MS.

The field is still without the high-power voltage of anyone in the top 10 in the official world rankings, but some of the higher-profile names are coming back into the picture. A few top-50 players like Sungjae Im (24th), Scottie Scheffler (30th) and a couple of others are getting back into action and gearing up for the fall portion of the wraparound season — including the Masters.

This week there are six players ranked in the top 50 in the world playing compared to last week’s tournament that featured just one player in the top 50. And that brightness will keep growing and glowing in the coming weeks as Las Vegas steps into the picture.

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Vegas will be the PGA Tour’s home for the following two weeks with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open next week followed by The CJ CUP at Shadow Creek (originally scheduled for Korea). If players can’t have fun playing golf for big money for two straight weeks in Vegas (even with the coronavirus restrictions), they’re not trying hard enough.

But first, we’ve got to turn our attention to this week’s event. Sebastian Munoz is the defending champ. Raise your hand if you knew that. Also, raise your hand if you had money on him to win.

Really? Well, here’s your chance to follow that up as he will be one of our picks this week, just not our top pick.

Munoz basically came out of nowhere to win his first event. That win propelled him to a spot in the golf world that many other first-time winners didn’t handle well as some previous first-time winners have simply fallen off the face of the earth.

But not Munoz. He hasn’t won since last year’s victory, but that’s beside the point. He played well enough to get into the Tour Championship and had stellar performances throughout the three FedEx Cup events.

He started this wraparound season at the U.S. Open with a pair of solid rounds on the first two days but a 77-82 weekend showing dropped him down to T-59 status and has us just a little hesitant. But we’re not hesitant enough to keep him out of our picks altogether. As the defending champ, he should have great confidence when he hits the first tee.

The lack of top-10 players certainly opens the door for those who are still looking to make themselves a household name on the PGA Tour. And that’s why we’re looking at Im at 14-1 to get back in the winner’s circle. After all, he could just as easily be the defending champ as he lost in a playoff here last year to finish second.

He had couple of bad weeks starting off the FedEx Cup playoffs (certainly not like him) with a MC at The Northern Trust followed by a T-56 at the BMW Championship. But he had played well enough throughout the year to make it into the top 30 and earn a spot in the Tour Championship where he finished 11th.

He started the 2020-2021 wraparound season with a 22nd place finish at the U.S. Open despite almost missing the cut after a second-round 75. But now, after a rare tournament week off to work on whatever he feels may need a little tinkering, it’s time for him to be a factor again. After all, if a day ends in ‘Y’ there’s a good chance he’s on the golf course and an even better chance that he’s on the first page of a leaderboard.

We’re hoping he’s ready to go low. And with the Tour’s bigger guns still taking a little time off this looks like the perfect spot for him to pick up that second Tour victory.

About the Author

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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