Sanderson Farms Championship: Flores to flourish at Jackson

Martin Flores is worth an each-way punt at 66/1
Martin Flores is worth an each-way punt at 66/1

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and tips for the third event of the 2016/17 PGA Tour season - the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson...

"With his card regained, this has to be a good chance for him to throw in a big performance as he’s played well at the Country Club of Jackson before."

Main Bet: Back Martin Flores @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Martin Flores e/w @ 66/1

Let's make this clear from the start, this is not an easy week!

If Jerry Kelly is considered a 28/1 chance (fifth favourite), it's pretty obvious that it's a field made up of journeymen, newbies and those whose careers have dipped. Which is what you'd expect for a Fall Series event held opposite a WGC tournament.

It's hard to find many patterns although it is noticeable that those with southern connections feature prominently when looking at recent results.

That makes sense given that we're in the south this week and, as you'd expect, the course - the Country Club of Jackson - features Bermuda grass.

So, good luck locating the winner this week and I won't be taking anyone at too short a price.

My main pick is going to be Martin Flores.

Born and raised in Texas and still a resident in the Lone Star State, Flores went to the University of Oklahoma so has the full set of southern connections.

He came through as the 8th-ranked qualifier from the last year after an impressive close to the season.

Flores won the Lincoln Land Charity Championship in July, took sixth at the Price Cutter Charity Championship in August and clinched his place with third place Iast month's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Ohio.

With his card regained, this has to be a good chance for him to throw in a big performance as he's played well at the Country Club of Jackson before.

That was 12 months ago when he shot 67-72-67-69 to take tied 12th spot. He finished just five shots behind winner Peter Malnati so it was a pretty impressive effort.

"I'm very, very happy with my ball-striking," said Flores in Ohio last month and the stats show that he's a much better putter on Bermuda greens that he is on other surfaces.

Put everything together and he's worth a play at 66/1.

Next Best: Back Cody Gribble e/w @ 100/1

Cody Gribble is another Dallas-born player (went to University of Texas) but he won't ring too many bells with most golf punters.

However, he comes with a pedigree as he was part of the team that won the 2012 NCAA Championship. Also on that team was a bloke called Jordan Spieth.

After failing to win his PGA Tour card in 2105 by what amounted to a couple of thousand dollars, he gained it this time and made an excellent start by finishing T8 in the Safeway Open two weeks ago.

That followed on from the fifth place he took in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Ohio, a result that punched his ticket to the big time.

Looking at his performance in the Safeway Open, Gribble shot 67-69-70-68 and finished 7th on the All-Around and 11th for Greens In Regulation. In his previous start he'd finished second for Putting Average so everything appears to be working.

The left-hander was also good enough to finish T21 in the US Open two years ago so if he can do that on his debut in the majors then he clearly has the potential to shine and contend in an event like this.

The three-figure odds certainly appeal.

Of the other new boys, Grayson Murray is the shortest in the betting at 33/1.

The 23-year-old won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship having finished third in the previous week's Boise Open after closing with a pair of 64s.

He's clearly a name to look out for but he's a third the odds of Gribble and that after missing the cut at the Safeway Open where Gribble made the top 10.

Final Bet: Back David Toms e/w @ 40/1

It could be wise to put a veteran on the team and David Toms would probably best fill that role.

He's a southern boy and, of course, won his major in Atlanta when capturing the 2001 PGA Championship.

The former Ryder Cup star, now 49, has teed it up in both editions at the Country Club of Jackson and thrived both times.

He opened 68-66 to take the halfway lead two years ago before slipping back to T9 after twin 72s on the weekend.

Last year he was the 54-hole leader after starting out 67-69-66 but he just got beaten into second place despite closing with a decent Sunday 69.

He actually had to play 27 holes that day due to interruptions and that would probably have counted against him.

Reflecting afterwards he said: "Yeah, I really like this golf course. Being wet wasn't the greatest thing in the world for me. Patton was hitting it 30 and 40 yards by me all the time. I look forward to coming back next year when it's a little bit firmer and having another good week."

He'll certainly have better weather. Toms loves playing in the heat and the forecast in Jackson shows sunshine, temperatures in the high 80s and not a hint of rain.

Toms actually first played the course many moons ago, revealing: "It started way back when I had a good junior event here. I played here as a junior golfer. I played here as a college golfer. A lot of history around this place, even though the golf course has been redone."

He isn't going to have the same consistency these days but he'll be sharpening himself up for the Champions Tour and he's still a force at certain venues and this has to be one of them.

Toms could work out to be a nice each-way proposition at 40/1.

The other player that came close to a bet was Whee Kim at 60s.

He was third at the John Deere Classic, ninth in his latest event and a promising T13 in the Safeway Open.

The young Korean also has impressive recent Greens In Regulation figures.

So far so good but he's actually played at this venue for the last two years and missed the cut both times.

It was just enough to put me off but he could still play a prominent part.

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £1150
Returned: £1048.75
P/L: -£101.25

(After the CIMB Classic)

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