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The PGA Tour returns to action for the 2023 Sanderson Farms Championship, and if it is anything like the first event of the FedEx Cup Fall, we could be in for a doozy. Five players who finished inside the top 50 of the FedEx Cup standings are set to make an appearance at the Country Club of Jackson as defending champion Mackenzie Hughes leads the way in the fall rankings.

Slighted after not making the 2022 Presidents Cup team, Hughes used this as fuel in Jackson and defeated Sepp Straka in a playoff. Now ranked 51st in the FedEx Cup standings, Hughes is well positioned to qualify for the first two signature events of 2024. The Canadian will have eyes on more than qualifying for a pair of tournaments as a win in the FedEx Cup Fall secures major championship exemptions. This will be top of mind for the likes of Adam Svensson, Eric Cole and Tom Hoge, all of whom are already in the field for next year's signature events. It will also be on the radar for Ludvig Aberg.

The biggest name in the field, Aberg arrives off a 2-point performance at the 2023 Ryder Cup and a win on the DP World Tour. The 23-year-old looks keen on carrying this form onto the PGA Tour as he ranks 136th in the FedEx Cup standings. While Aberg has full status for the 2024 season through the PGA Tour U, he still has reason for playing this week.

With the top 125 in the FedEx Cup gaining entry into the Players Championship, Aberg is on the outside looking in for the PGA Tour's flagship event. The world No. 80 has also not earned his invitation for the Masters. Either a win or ascending inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings by the end of the calendar year would grant Aberg a trip to Augusta National in April.

2023 Sanderson Farms Championship schedule

Dates: Oct. 5-8 | Location: The Country Club of Jackson — Jackson, Mississippi
Par: 72 | Yardage: 7,461 | Purse: $8,200,000

2023 Sanderson Farms Championship field, odds

  • Ludvig Aberg (11-1): Will fatigue be a factor for the 23-year-old? That is the big question as Ryder Cup teammate Nicolai Hojgaard withdrew from the tournament just as Europe was kicking off the celebrations. Aberg did not, and for his commitment, he finds himself as the favorite to win. It is a rightful spot at the top as he arrives having just won the European Masters and holding the 54-hole lead at the BMW PGA Championship. His statistics are sound, his meddle beyond his years, and if energy levels are up, Aberg has a real chance to secure his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
  • Stephan Jaeger (18-1)
  • Eric Cole (20-1): The Cole train continued to roll at the Fortinet Championship as the former mini tour legend grabbed a solo fourth-place finish. It was yet another notch on the belt for the presumed PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Cole's iron play has been stellar, ranking fourth in strokes gained approach over the last three months. Paired this with sold performances on the greens, the win should be coming soon.
  • Emiliano Grillo (25-1)
  • Keith Mitchell (28-1): Mitchell endured one of the more disappointing seasons after many projected a breakout campaign for the long hitter. After putting together his best statistical season in 2022, Mitchell took a step back in 2023 and struggled with his iron play and short game. Despite this, he was still able to collect three top-five finishes with the most recent coming at the 3M Open. For whatever reason, Mitchell hasn't been able to figure out CC of Jackson in three trips as he has been a weekend omission each time.
  • S.H. Kim (30-1)
  • Beau Hossler (30-1): Hossler finds himself narrowly inside the top 10 of the FedEx Cup Fall and with work to do if he is to remain in place. The former Texas Longhorn has quietly been playing great golf since the beginning of July and rattled off three top-20 finishes including a T6 at the Barracuda Championship. He started his fall with a T30 at the Fortinet Championship with a well-rounded effort.
  • Lucas Herbert (35-1)
  • Adam Svensson (35-1)
  • Davis Riley (40-1)

2023 Sanderson Farms Championship expert picks

Winner (35-1): Sam Burns' success at CC of Jackson has paved the way for long drivers and streaky putters, and Herbert checks both of those boxes. A proven winner on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, the Australian arrives off a strong start at the Fortinet Championship. Herbert ranks 18th in strokes gained off the tee and second in strokes gained putting over the last three months. If his iron play cooperates, Herbert has the upside to factor for his second trophy stateside.

Contender (45-1): Thompson's rookie campaign fell off a cliff after his duel with Jon Rahm at The American Express, but his game is now making strides. The Georgia Bulldog has collceted four top-35 finishes in his last five starts while making consistent gains off the tee where he ranks eighth among those in this field. His iron play is simmering, and he should be comfortable in SEC country after securing weekend tee times in both of his previous appearances at CC of Jackson.

Sleeper (65-1): The 25-year-old has been hit-or-miss since returning to action in June. Playing in seven tournaments, Yu has missed four cuts but did contend at the John Deere Classic with a T6 effort. The catalyst for his success will be the putter as he ranks 10th in strokes gained tee to green, 14th in strokes gained off the tee and 20th in strokes gained around the green. Yu found success in his Sanderson Farms Championship debut last season with a top-20 effort despite shortcomings with the flat stick.

Who will win the Sanderson Farms Championship, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard and best bets, all from the model that's nailed 10 golf majors and is up more than $9,000 since June 2020.