Let’s take a look at what the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship was up against this First weekend in October. Major League Baseball Playoffs, NCAA Football, NFL Football, and a lingering Ryder Cup Hangover. Just can’t imagine what would draw anyone’s curiosity to sit in front of their TV to watch some players they never heard of playing golf.
After last weekend’s Ryder Cup and the early morning wake up calls, trying to get yourself back into weekend PGA Golf Tournaments was probably at the bottom of your list of things to do this weekend. Besides, didn’t the PGA TOUR wrap up its season with the FedEx Championship in Atlanta, Georgia the last week in August? Sounds like something ended, but surprisingly, no one has bothered to tell the PGA that’s it’s time for the fall sports to grab all the headlines and major TV coverage.
Let’s take a quick look at just what was going on in Jackson, Mississippi this weekend at the Sanderson Farms Championship Course. This second event on the FedExCup Fall Tour, after bouncing around to various courses, has found a home at the 27-hole Sanderson Farms Course since 2014. The course is a combination of the Dogwood and Azalea courses and plays to a par 72 at 7,400 yards.
Some of the 144 golfers in the field are looking to make the top 125 on the FedExCup List to earn full status for 2024 season. While all of them had their sights set on the $8.2 million purse, with $1.476 million to the winner. The champion will also receive 500 FedExCup points.There are five fall tournaments left, after this week, before the List becomes final.
A number of top players entered into this week’s tournament found themselves heading back home Friday night. Here are eight big names who missed the cut, which came in at 5-under 139. Mackenzie Hughes -4 (defending champion), Sam Bennett -4, Charley Hoffman -3, Jason Dufner -3, Ryan Moore -2, Emiliano Grillo -1, Davis Reilly E, and Keith Mitchell +5.
The final round found Rookie Ben Griffin on the top of the leaderboard, with another bogey free round on Saturday, and a 6-under 66. He is currently at -20. Griffin told reporters after today’s round,”I got myself out of position on some holes but feel like one of the strengths of my game is scrambling, and I had to do that on a few holes. Otherwise, I pretty much hit my targets all day.”
The other players near the top of the leaderboard were 2nd Carl Yuan -17, 3rd Luke List -16, Henrik Norlander -16, and Scott Stallings -16. 6th Cameron Champ -15, and Zecheng Dou -15. Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, who was the only player in the field that played in the 2023 Ryder Cup, was tied for 8th place at -14.
Sunday’s round was greeted with sunny skies and the high around 75F. Winds were out of the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. The fairways were dry and giving extra length to most drives, but the undulating greens were playing lightning fast causing players to be a little over cautious with their birdie putts.
There was very little change to the leaderboard on the front nine, but the early pairing were making they presents felt on the back nine. This was the leaderboard as the final pairing headed to the 10th tee. 1st Griffin -19, 2nd Norlander -18, 3rd Yuan, Stalling, List, and Aberg -17. At this point in the championship, it looked like this one was there for the taking!
Carl Yuan eagled the 17th hole with a 2nd shot that flew straight into the cup to move him to -18 and a tie with 4 other golfers for 2nd place but made a bogey on the 18th to move into 6th Place. Ben Griffin also had a bogey at the 18th hole, moving him from 1st Place -19 to -18 and a 5-way tie for 1st place. Headed to a 5-player playoff.The 5 players in the playoff were Ludwig Aberg, Henrik Norlander, Ben Griffin, Luke List, Scott Stallings.
Luke List sank a 60+ foot birdie putt on the 1st “Sudden Death Playoff hole” to win the Sanderson Farms Championship. He also picked up a check for $1.476 million and 500 FedEx Points to go along with it. This is Luke’s 2nd PGA TOUR victory. He also won the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open where he picked up his biggest paycheck for $1.512 million dollars. The other four golfers will split the 2nd through 5th Place checks and the FedEx Points that go along with those 4 places.
When Luke was asked by Golf Channel’s reporter Cara Banks, “With your family here watching, what a moment this was. You didn’t even think that this was a possibility. You gave your hat away to a spectator. Describe what the last 20 minutes have been like.” He responded, “It’s been a full roller coaster. You know, I mean, I thought I played really well all day and just hung in there and I didn’t think it was gonna be enough, but here we are so I’m so happy to be here and with my family. Gosh, it’s been a crazy 20 minutes so my heart rates going pretty good right now. Been a crazy 20 minutes, a crazy year as well.”
Cara then asked Luke, “What’s gonna be the most important thing that you take from this considering you came into this week 119 in the FedEx Cup.” He replied, “Yeah, safe in my own bed in April is always a good thing. So going back to that, playing in the Masters again would be amazing. Just anytime you can kind of test your skills and test your perseverance, I’m really happy to obviously be the winner here.”