5 players to watch at the Sanderon Farms Championship

College football is back in Mississippi, but the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels have to share the spotlight this weekend.

It’s time for some golf in the Magnolia State.

The PGA Tour takes its annual trip to the Country Club of Jackson for the Sanderon Farms Championship, which tees off Thursday through Sunday.

The grounds in Jackson will be bare and void of spectators due to safety measure amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but sit down by a TV or your computer and watch these five golfers try to get their 2020-21 season off to a quick start with a win.

Scottie Scheffler during the third round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Scottie Scheffler

Scheffler could be lucky No. 7 this week.

The past six champions of the Sanderon Farms Championship – Nick Taylor, Peter Malnati, Cody Gribble, Ryan Armour, Cameron Champ and Sebastian Munoz – were all first time winners.

A 24 year old out of the University of Texas, Scheffler knocked on the winners’ circle door multiple times during his PGA Tour Rookie of the Year season this past year. He had seven top-10s and finished fifth in the FedEx Cup standings.

Scheffler finished last season with a stretch of three top-5s in a span of four tournaments. He had T4 results at both the PGA Championship and the Northern Trust. After testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the U.S. Open at Winged Foot earlier this month, Schefller could come out hungry at the Sanderson Farms.

Louis Oosthuizen plays his shot from the fourth tee during the final round of The Northern Trust at TPC Boston on August 23, 2020 in Norton, Massachusetts

Louis Oosthuizen during the final round of The 2020 Northern Trust at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Louis Oosthuizen

Speaking of the U.S. Open, Louis Oosthuizen finished third. He only missed two cuts last season while registering two top-10s and four top-25s.

Oosthuizen is one of the most accomplished players in the field. He has 14 world-wide professional wins, including his seven-shot victory at The Open Championship in 2010.

Oddly enough, though, that’s Oosthuizen’s only PGA Tour victory.

Oosthuizen has runner-up finishes at all three of the other majors. He has nine European Tour victories, his most recent coming at the South African Open in December 2018.

Look for Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings at No. 16, to flip the script on first-time winners at the Sanderon Farms Championship and add to his stellar resume.

Henrik Stenson during The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club – Dunluce Course. (Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports)

Henrik Stenson

The 44th-ranked player in the world, Henrik Stenson didn’t play a whole lot on the PGA Tour after the restart in June. He only played in the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship.

Stenson has already played twice in September, though. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished tied for 21st at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship last week.

Like Oosthuizen, Stenson has had a successful career world-wide. He has 21 professional wins including his triumph over Phil Mickelson in the 2016 Open Championship.

It’s been over three years since the 44 year old Swede has won. But like Oosthuizen, he has the talent to turn back the clock and break the streak of first-time winners at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia during the third round of the 2020 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia

Simply put, Sergio Garcia is a legend of the game.

Garcia brings 35 world-wide professional wins to Jackson, including 10 on the PGA Tour. His 2017 Masters victory over Justin Rose in a playoff was his biggest, and it was also his last.

Garcia isn’t going into the Sanderon Farms in good form, either. He has missed the cut in both PGA Tour tournaments he has played in during the month of September, including the U.S. Open.

Just his presence is enough to keep an eye on though. He’s also one of just six players in the field who are ranked in the top 50 in the world. Garcia is bound to return to form at some point. Maybe it’s this week.

Zach Johnson during the first round of the Honda Classic. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Johnson

Sticking with the theme of accomplished veterans, how about another who finished with a top-10 at the U.S. Open? Zach Johnson willed his way to an eighth-place finish at Winged Foot.

Johnson didn’t have a banner year in 2019-20, missing six cuts in 12 tournaments. But he made five of six cuts to finish the season and added another top-10 to his resume with a seventh place finish at the Wyndham Championship.

The two-time major winner and 26-time world-wide winner appears to be coming around. The Sanderson Farms Championship is an opportunity to prove it.

Honorable mention

  • Stewart Cink: The 47 year old picked up his 7th PGA Tour victory at the Safeway Open earlier this month.
  • Will Gordon: A Vanderbilt graduate, the SEC native is a candidate to keep the streak of first-time winners at the Sanderson Farms alive.
  • Sebastián Muñoz: The defending champion at the Sanderson Farms finished the 2019-20 season with two T8 finishes in a row at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.

Contact Tyler Horka at thorka@gannett.com. Follow @tbhorka on Twitter.

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