This week, we have the privilege of two PGA Tour events! The Asian Swing’s final event is the WGC HSBC Champions held at Sheshan GC in China. This is yet another limited 78-player field with no cut. Sheshan is a course that will yield low scores as long as the wind does not blow. This course favors bombers significantly as it allows them to attack the par 5s and also carry some of the bunkers off the tee on the par 4s. I fully expect the winner this week to be a long hitter who is able to have a great all-around driving week.
The other event is the Sanderson Farms, which is back stateside in Mississippi. This is the fifth year of the event, and it has given us plenty of longshot winners. Each of the last four winners was 80/1 or worse to start the week. The field is comprised of middle of the road veterans and young guns looking to make a name for themselves. This is a very important week for Web.com grads as a solid week here can put a player in good shape for the first reshuffle (after the RSM in less than a month). I would also look towards players who excel more at accuracy than length.
Xander Schauffele $8,100
Schauffele is a big game hunter. He plays best in the biggest of events. He has won the Tour Championship and has had top-5 finishes at the Open, U.S. Open and Players Championship. The best part of his game is his driving, so this course should suit his game very well. At $8,100, he is about $1,000 too cheap considering the upside that he brings.
Emiliano Grillo $7,500
Grillo is ready for a breakout on Tour. He has been knocking on the door the last few years and is due for a victory in a big event (only win at 2015 Frys.com). Grillo is an elite ball striker who is very good at finding fairways off the tee. He finished runner-up two weeks ago at the CIMB but faltered to a 55th-place finish last week. Grillo mentioned that last week’s struggle was primarily on the greens. I can ignore that struggle since those are some of the toughest greens to putt on all year, and he now heads to Sheshan GC which has much easier greens. He finished 11th here in his last appearance in 2016.
Sam Burns $7,400
Burns, the Shreveport, Louisiana native played golf collegiately at LSU. He should feel a bit at home this week as the course is a mere 3 hours from both Shreveport and LSU’s campus, so he should have many family and friends out supporting him this week. Burns has immense upside, and I expect him to be a star on Tour. He broke out last year when he played extremely well when paired with Tiger at the Honda Classic. He made his pro debut here last year and finished 43rd. It would be fitting for it all to come full circle and to capture his first PGA Tour title this week.
Jonathan Randolph $6,600
Randolph is a member at the CC of Jackson, the host course of the Sanderson Farms. He finished 3rd here a year ago. He has struggled over the past year, but at this cheap price we can’t overlook the fact that he has the home course advantage.
With a limited field and another very juicy purse with over $1.6 million going to the winner, here are two players to consider:
Finau has been a model of consistency yet still provides upside for a win or high finish. He has finished inside the top 10 in 13 of his last 32 events. He made his debut here last year and finished 11th. His scary combination of length and accuracy off of the tee will allow him to attack this course and contend.
Bradley is known as one of the best overall drivers on Tour. He comes into this event still riding the confidence from his victory in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He is a sneaky pick this week to contend if you don’t want to use one of the top players.
With this being an opposite field event, the purse is small and nearly all of the players we wouldn’t consider using at any other event. Here are two solid choices for this week:
Glover is looking to rebound from a less-than-stellar 2018 season, which saw him struggle on and off the course. His accurate ballstriking suits this course well as shown by his 5th-place finish in his last appearance here in 2016.
Malnati won this event in 2015 and now comes here after playing very well in the Web.com playoffs.