PGA: Hot Picks for The Palmetto Championship at Congaree

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There was no shortage of drama at The Memorial Championship last weekend. Defending champion Jon Rahm walked off the 18th green with a six-shot lead on Saturday afternoon to find out that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be forced to withdraw from the tournament.

Heartbreak for one golfer opened the door for one of the most exciting Sunday finishes golf has had to offer over the past few years with Patrick Cantlay outlasting Collin Morikawa in the first hole of a playoff. Now the PGA Tour heads back to South Carolina for the Palmetto Championship at Congaree, a golf course that has never been seen before on the PGA Tour.

This week is typically reserved for the RBC Canadian Open, but with COVID-19 restrictions, that tournament venue opted out this season. The field is very light this week with the U.S. Open next week at Torrey Pines, so it could be the perfect opportunity for a longshot to steal a rare victory on Tour.

Course Breakdown and Weather
Congaree is roughly a 7,700-yard, par-71 layout that features virtually no rough, a lot of sand, and trees/marshland that can cause issues for those struggling off the tee. The course should benefit long hitters off the tee who can keep the ball in the fairway. The great ball strikers with a solid history of getting hot with the putter on Bermuda greens are the golfers worth targeting in this tournament. There will be plenty of weather to possibly play a factor over the weekend, with scattered thunderstorms expected on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Favorites

The favorite this week is world No.1 and South Carolina native Dustin Johnson (+800). Right behind him is Brooks Koepka (+850) who will be playing for the first time since finishing tied for runner-up at the PGA Championship. There is always a chance for one of these two powerhouses to win a golf tournament when they are in the field — but with the U.S. Open next week, these two guys will be working on shoring up their golf games for the major more than they’ll be concerned with winning this tournament.

Tyrell Hatton (+1400) is the next golfer down the odds board, but at 14-1 with only one tournament played in the last six weeks, he is not worth a bet. Fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick (+1600) is right behind him, but with missed cuts in two of his last three starts, there is nothing to suggest he can win this week. Sungjae Im (+2200) is intriguing at his price, but missing five of his last eight cuts is a major concern.

Instead, Tommy Fleetwood (+2500) is the only golfer near the top of the odds board worth a bet to win the Palmetto Championship. This is a rare start in a weak field on the PGA Tour for a golfer who typically plays in only elite PGA Tour events.

Fleetwood finished tied for 14th at the Wells Fargo before missing the cut at the PGA Championship, but he was hardly the only golfer who struggled at that vaunted course. He has yet to pick up his first win on the PGA Tour, despite having several wins on the European Tour. Surely he remains very eager to get his first win on this side of the pond. Back Fleetwood at 25-1 to break through at Congaree this weekend and get that elusive first PGA Tour victory.

MyBookie Pick:
Tommy Fleetwood

Best Value Plays

There are plenty of intriguing options in the middle tier this week with Harris English (+3000), Ian Poulter (+3500) and Harold Varner III (+3500) among those leading the way in this group. However, the first golfer worth a bet in this range is Alex Noren (+3500). Noren has made six straight cuts, including a tie for 13th place at The Memorial last week.

Noren does not own any PGA Tour victories, but he has 11 international victories that prove he can finish the job when in the lead late in contention. Noren has yet to finish in the top 10 this season, but he has found himself near the top of the leaderboard a couple times and this is the week he can quite possibly finish it off against a weaker field. Brandt Snedeker (+5500) is the next golfer worth a bet in this range. Snedeker has nine career PGA Tour wins, but has not had a victory in the last three years. He has top-20 finishes in three of his last five starts, so the recent form has been there to get that 10th PGA Tour title.

He has won three of his nine victories in the PGA Tour in the Southeast region, so he is familiar with the terrain. He is not going to return to the top-tier golfer that he once was, but he is capable of getting that elusive 10th victory in a field like this. At 55-1, he is worth a bet to get it done.

MyBookie Pick:
Alex Noren
+3500
Brandt Snedeker
+5500

The Longshots

This tournament is the perfect spot for a longshot to find a victory against a weaker field with a major next week. The first golfer in this range is Doc Redman (+7000) to win his first PGA Tour victory. He has already collected three top-10 finishes this season, including a ninth-place finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson last month. Redman is not a model of consistency, but there is no question he has the raw talent that can win at the highest level and at 70-1 he is worth a bet to get it done.

The next longshot to take a look at is Luke List, who happens to own the course record at Congaree, according to Golf Digest.

That did not occur against the same quality of competition he will face this week, but with no one else experienced on this course it provides him some advantage. He ranks third in strokes gained off the tee this season. List has struggled mightily with his putter throughout his career, but he has gotten hot with his putter on Bermuda greens at times, including at Corales Golf Club earlier this season, another course created by Tom Fazio. He deserves a bet at 70-1 to get his first PGA Tour victory.

MyBookie Pick:
Doc Redman
+7000
Luke List
+7000

Top-10 Play of the Week

The best bet for a top-10 finish this week is Harold Varner III (+250) to compete at Congaree this week. Varner’s last two starts in the Palmetto state were a T-7 finish at the Wyndham and a T-2 finish at the RBC Heritage. He fits the mold of who to bet on this week as an elite ball-striker who does not yet have a win on Tour yet because of his inconsistent putting.

Bermuda greens have allowed him to get streaky on the greens in the past and if he can get hot with the flat stick this week he will be able to collect yet another top-10 finish in South Carolina.

The longshot top-10 bet worth a look is Satoshi Kodaira (+1100). He has been inconsistent in the past year, but the former winner on Tour has finished 13th or better in each of his last two events. He has been putting great of late and this tournament is there for the taking. At 11-1, he is worth a bet to find himself in contention and collect a top-10 finish.

Bovada Pick:
Harold Varner III Top-Ten Finish
+250
Satoshi Kodaira Top-Ten Finish
+1100

Matchup Play of the Week

The matchup play of the week is Vincent Whaley (-115) over Tom Lewis. Whaley has collected four top-30 finishes in a row in tougher fields than he will be going up against this week. He has been solid, but has not shown that he can find victory on the PGA Tour yet. Lewis has missed three of his last four cuts and has not displayed any consistency in the past two months. Back Whaley to finish inside the top 30 and bank on Lewis to be unable to match that.

Bovada Pick:
Vincent Whaley Over Tom Lewis
-115

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie and Bovada.

Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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