You will have noticed I didn’t bother with a Ryder Cup article last week and in my opinion, sensibly so, with little or no chance of calling who will or won’t play well in such strange circumstances, and much as I hate to say it, the only sensible bet from the start was the odds on for an American win.
This week we return to something akin to normal, heading off to Jackson, Mississippi, for the Sanderson Farms Championship, now a fully-fledged event with 500 Fed Ex points and the little matter of $7,000,000 in prize money on the table – and you though football was money mad!
We can expect some pretty low scores here this week – it isn’t overly long by modern standards at 7,461 yards and a Par 72, and the course is pretty flat with some generous fairways – even I might get round without losing too many balls here. Yes there are tress, but they aren’t woods as much as the odd one here and there and you would have to be pretty unlucky to end up blocked out by one as a professional (famous last words).
The weather is, as always, the great unknown and the slightest rain will slow the greens down considerably, but that will make it easier to hold your approach shot so no excuses I’m afraid, and I confidently expect a winning score of 19 to 22 under par – if only I could find a bookmaker willing to take that bet.
Selections with reasoning:
***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around – and make sure you only partake non-runner no bet – covid has seen last minute withdrawals all season and we don’t want to be throwing money away. DO shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.
1pt each way Peter Malnati 80/1 Boyle Sports, top 10 places (130.0 Betfair)
Let’s start with an outsider shall we? Probably not a player all of you will have heard of, and certainly not one of the superstars that regularly populate this article. Now aged 34, its about time he made the leap from also ran to big tournament winner in my view, and this may be his best chance yet. He has played here six times with fairly mixed results, winning in 2014 and runner-up here last season – but out with the washing in the four tournaments in between. He has been quietly backed all week (150/1 when I started looking, isn’t that typical) and wasn’t disgraced when 22nd at the Fortinet Championship two weeks ago. He clearly plays the course better than most when on his game (the big question), and is available at bigger prices elsewhere – but without the top ten option.
1pt Each Way Mito Perreira 33/1 William Hill top 8 places (38.0 Betfair)
I am never sure why they don’t give him his full name in the betting forecasts (Guillermo Mito Perrerira), but as long as we back the right player, all is good in the world. We are talking 33/1 about a player in great form of late with four top six finishes in his last six tournaments, and we aren’t talking the local crazy golf either. A third at the Olympics was followed by a third in the Fortinet so we are not talking about “gimmees” here, and there is every chance that good run can continue. Long drivers have done well here in recent years, opening up some of the par fours to short approach shots, and he ranks 20th on the tour on current driving stats, which suggests he is in with a better chance than his long odds imply.
1pt each way Will Zalatoris 20/1 William Hill top 8 places (24.0 Betfair) I think most of us will agree it is when not if the 25-year-old wins a Major, let alone a tournament of this magnitude. At six feet two he has the build to make it to the very top providing he can avoid injury, and his Masters second will live long in my memory. Naturally, he hasn’t been able to repeat that form since, but he is reported to have been working hard on his putting recently and we can expect to see some improvement here. Although we are at the start of the new season, he currently ranks first for greens in regulation which is a huge plus, as well as 10th for scoring average and 19th for driving distance – he just needs to sort out the little anomalies in his game. Of course that is a big ask (we all know golf, improve one aspect and worsen another at the same time), but he has youth on his side and the best coaches in the business at his disposal, and I for one will be watching him this week with more than a financial interest