Hometown favorite Jonathan Randolph remains in contention through two rounds of the Sanderson Farms Championship after shooting rounds of 68 and 70 for a 6-under par total.

After struggling through much of the second round, the Brandon native and former Ole Miss Rebel holed lengthy birdie putts on holes 16 and 18. His 41-footer from across the green on No. 18, directly in front of the Sanderson Farms hospitality suite, brought a roar from the hometown crowd.

“It’s funny, I shot a 68 yesterday that could have been a 64 or 65 and then I shot a 70 today that could have been a 72 or 73,” Randolph said. “Overall, I feel good about it. I am very comfortable out there.

“I hit a lot of really good putts on Thursday and early in the round today that could have gone in,” Randolph continued. “It was a big lift to get those two to go on 16 and 18. It makes a huge difference.”

Randolph, a rookie who earned his PGA Tour card by winning nearly $200,000 on the Web.com Tour last season, went immediately to the practice area to work on his driver.

“I wasn’t hooking or slicing it, just pulling it and pushing it,” Randolph said. “I fine-tuned a couple things and feel like I corrected it. I am looking forward to the next two days.”

•••

Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson, the man who saved Mississippi’s only PGA Tour event by providing title sponsorship four years ago, is looking forward to the next two days as well.

“This is what we’ve been looking for,” Sanderson said of the warm, sunny temperatures. “This is what fall weather is supposed to be like in Mississippi.”

Sanderson Farms has committed to sponsor the $4.1 million tournament, which has a history of weather problems, through 2026.

“We would take this sunshine every year,” Sanderson said.


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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.