Both Will Zalatoris and Sam Burns broke into stardom on the PGA Tour last season, with Zalatoris finishing second at the Masters while Burns won his first career title at the Valspar Championship. Those performances led to this weekend, where the two 25-year-olds share the honor of being co-favorites at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.
Burns and Zalatoris will join defending champion Sergio Garcia in a field that may lack superstars the week after the Ryder Cup, but makes up with it in intriguing storylines.
Zalatoris, Burns shine in 2020-21 season
Zalatoris won the PGA Tour rookie of the year honor for the 2020-21 season, despite the fact that he wasn’t officially a full tour member. His results in the US Open and other tournaments earned him special temporary member status, which he parlayed into a fantastic year that featured eight top-10 finishes.
The one thing Zalatoris didn’t accomplish last season was getting a win on the PGA Tour. That could change at the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the youngster comes in as a +1800 pick to win the title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Sanderson Farms Championship Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Sam Burns: +1800||Will Zalatoris: +1800|
|Sungjae Im: +2000||Sergio Garcia: +2000|
|Corey Conners: +2400||Si Woo Kim: +2800|
|Cameron Davis: +3100||Charley Hoffman: +3100|
|Mito Pereira: +3200||Keegan Bradley: +3200|
While Zalatoris captured more attention last season, Burns (+1800) arguably had the better year. Not only did he capture a win, but he moved up to 25th on the Official World Golf Ranking, and even qualified for the Tour Championship. While that’s a tough act to follow, it also leaves plenty of room for the Louisiana native to grow.
“Really just trying to kind of build on last year, kind of the things I did well, what I need to improve on, trying to find those areas and just trying to fine-tune my game,” Burns said, via USA Today. “So that’s kind of the goal coming into this week and this year, just to continue to try and get better and improve in those areas.”
Garcia returns to defend Sanderson Farms Championship title
Then there’s Garcia, who became the winningest player in Ryder Cup history last week despite Europe’s lopsided loss to the United States. Yet the 41-year-old Spaniard still made time to play in the Sanderson Farms Championship again. He gave a very simple reason for playing again this week.
“Well, it’s quite simple. I try to defend my titles every time I can,” Garcia told reporters. “I haven’t been able to do it every single time, but I love to do it every possibility I have.”
Garcia comes in just behind the favorites, with FanDuel rating him as a +2000 pick to take down the title. That makes him the joint third choice in the Sanderson Farms Championship alongside Sungjae Im (+2000).
Garcia says he’s looking forward to his return to Mississippi, and a course he believes suits him well.
“It’s the kind of golf course that makes you think a little, but it’s not tricked up or anything like that,” Garcia said. “It’s just a solid golf course and a great tournament and I am excited to be back.”