Scottie Scheffler returns from his COVID-19-mandated break from action as the betting favorite for this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.
Scheffler was in excellent form entering the U.S. Open three weeks ago with the second lowest score at the season-ending Tour Championship and T4s at the PGA Championship and The Northern Trust in his previous four starts.
Then came a positive test for COVID-19 that knocked him out of the year’s second major.
Scheffler returns this week as the +900 favorite by SportsBetting.com and the +1000 favorite by PlaySugarHouse.com, among others.
The owner of the most recent 59 shot on the PGA Tour at The Northern Trust, Scheffler has shot up to No. 30 in the world rankings with a recent run that includes six consecutive top-25 finishes since missing three consecutive cuts.
He has been sidelined for three weeks, but Scheffler will also be teeing it up against a modest field this week.
The only higher-ranked player in the field is Sungjae Im. The 24th-ranked South Korean lost in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship last year. Im also has shown good form of late, with a solo 12th at the Tour Championship followed by a solo 22nd at the U.S. Open.
It’s rare to see Im, already a renowned grinder in just his third year on the PGA Tour, take a three-week break. He’s -1200 at PlaySugarHouse.com.
An Overlooked Ferry Tour Player on a Roll
A significant amount of action is also flowing in on Will Zalatoris. Between the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour, Zalatoris has 13 consecutive top-10 finishes.
He’s playing for the fourth consecutive week as Zalatoris closes in on special temporary Tour status through the end of the 2020-21 season and followed up a T6 at Winged Foot with a T8 as one of the pre-tournament betting favorites in the Dominican Republic last week.
While Zalatoris is +1600 at SportsBetting.com, he has longer odds at +2000 at PlaySugarHouse.com, where there is a big gap between Scheffler, Im and the rest of the field. Scheffler was second with six percent of the total outright winner bets at DraftKings as of Wednesday, with Zalatoris at four percent and Im at three.
Leading the way was Doc Redman, who was responsible for seven percent of the bets and 11 percent of the total handle. Redman (+2500 by PlaySugarHouse.com), has a pair of T3s sandwiching a missed cut at The Northern Trust in his past three events. A streaky player, Redman has missed three of his past six cuts overall, but also closed with a Sunday-best 62 at the Safeway Open.
As with last week when Hudson Swafford won just his second career Tour title, the lack of marquee players in the Sanderson Farms Championship field provides opportunities to find veterans working their way back into form ahead of the Masters and up-and-coming players poised for breakthroughs.
PGA Tour Odds: Any Chance Bruns Grabs His First?
Sam Burns (+2200 at PlaySugarHouse) has yet to break through for his maiden Tour victory, but has been a fixture near the top of the leaderboard during the early 2020-21 season events.
After opening 64-65 at the Safeway Open, he faded to T7 with two weekend rounds in the 70s. He had three rounds in the 60s last week, but a third-round 78 left him with a T28. If Burns can put four solid rounds together, he should be in the mix come Sunday.
Sebastian Munoz (+2500) is another player teeing it up for the first time since the U.S. Open as he defends his lone Tour title to date. He posted top-20 finishes in each of the three FedEx Cup Playoff events.
Mixed in with the rising youngsters is a bevy of veterans with multiple Tour victories. Chief among them are former major champions Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia.
Johnson (+2500) is coming off a T8 at the U.S. Open. He finished T14 in this event a year ago and has 12 career PGA Tour wins under his belt.
Stenson (+4500) has dropped to 44th in the world after taking an extended break during the coronavirus pandemic. He finished T35 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude before missing the cut at the year’s first two majors. Working on his form ahead of next month’s Masters, Stenson finished T21 last week and playing in consecutive weeks for only the second time since January.
Garcia has fallen on tough times as he has slipped to No. 51. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship, failed to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs and has missed the cut at the Safeway Open and U.S. Open in his past two starts.
The 2017 Masters champion is making his first start in the Sanderson Farms Championship as he attempts to find some momentum ahead of Augusta, but is a +5000 long shot by PlaySugarHouse.com.
That’s still ahead of the likes of Swafford, who is +9000 despite coming off victory.
Swafford was the only player in last week’s field to post four rounds in the 60s, and his 69 on Sunday helped him climb past third-round leader Adam Long. Long’s 75 on Sunday saw him slip to a solo fifth-place finish, but he has fairly short odds at +3300 with a recent T13 at the U.S. Open as well.
A Trio of Longshots Worth Taking a Look and One Super Long Shot
Also being offered at +3300 by PlaySugarHouse.com are Ben An, Corey Conners and Brian Harman.
A finished solo third in last year’s Sanderson Farms Championship, and the 29-year-old South Korean continues to chase his first PGA Tour victory. An is a streaky player who is often on the first page of the leaderboard when he putts well.
Conners was in a rare featured pairing last week, only to miss his second straight cut, while Harman finished T38 at the U.S. Open in his most recent event.
With only a handful of household names in the field, PlaySugarHouse.com is also offering some interesting prop bets.
One is predicting a 1-2 finish precisely, with +17500 odds leading the way with Scheffler and Im finishing first and second, or vice-versa.
The next shortest odds are Scheffler winning with Zalatoris runner-up (+2500), or the same odds on Zalatoris claiming his first PGA Tour win ahead of Scheffler.
Scheffler is also the +2500 favorite to be the leader after the first round, followed by Im (+2800), Zalatoris (+4000) and Johnson and Doc Redman at +4500.
–Field Level Media