This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
Palmetto Championship at Congaree Betting Preview
We're off to South Carolina for a third time this season, as Congaree Golf Club will host a one-time event in place of the RBC Canadian Open with the pandemic keeping events stateside. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson headlines the field, although with many players participating in U.S. Open qualifiers ahead of next week's major at Torrey Pines, this week's tune-up event has a below-average field.
Ranked as the best new course of the last decade, players will get an enjoyable test at Congaree Golf Club. It plays as a par-71 at just under 7,700 yards, making it one of the longest venues to host a Tour event this season. New golf courses always present a challenge for handicappers as we lack much prior data to rely on, so targeting players that excel at the long game and/or striking the ball is a great starting point. Course designer Tom Fazio has other Tour venues that can be looked at for comparison, including Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo Championship), PGA National (The Honda Classic) and Corales Golf Club (Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship). Players that have had success in-state at Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) can make for quality targets as well. It's also important to note the length on the scorecard may end up a bit overstated, as firm and fast conditions could make the track play shorter than listed.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 8:30 ET Tuesday.
In the Right Form
The following five players gained the most strokes, on a per-round basis, off the tee and on approach combined over their last 20 rounds:
Koepka tops the list by a wide margin, and that's in large part due to the weakness of the field and the poor form the other top betting choices have shown of late. He was most impressive in his most recent start at the PGA Championship, gaining over 10 total strokes off the tee and on approach combined. Koepka has been feast-or-famine this year: he has recorded three top-2 finishes and four missed cuts. If he's on, he provides good value in this field at 17-2 odds. A player you may be surprised to find on this list is Dufner, who has struck the ball much better recently than his results would indicate. He's been held back by his short game, which has cost him 0.97 strokes per round to the field over his last five appearances. A high finish can be expected from Dufner this week if he shores up that part of his game, making him a sneaky low-cost option in DFS contests.
Ian Poulter (28-1)
Of the players in the field this week, it's difficult to find many in better form than Poulter. After a slow start to the season, he missed only one cut over his last seven events and posted a T3 at Colonial two weeks ago. He's a good pivot off the top betting choices, as the Englishman should be keen on playing the links-style venue.
Harold Varner III (35-1)
Varner's best result this year came in-state at the RBC Heritage, where he finished runner-up at Harbour Town. Statistically he's underperformed compared to his results: Varner's gaining strokes on the field in every category and ranks 29th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. With a lot of the top options potentially looking ahead this week, this looks like a prime spot for Varner to pick up his first Tour win.
Doc Redman (75-1)
Redman has had his share of struggles this season, but he has also had some near-misses, as the 23-year-old has recorded three top-5 results since last August. He's shown some better form recently with a T9 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson three starts ago and two made cuts since. This should be a good spot for Redman to elevate his game, with all of his career top-10s coming in below-average fields.
C.T. Pan (5-1)
Pan is another player that's in good form, with three consecutive made cuts, including a top-20 at Quail Hollow. His most recent appearance in a weak field was at The Honda Classic at PGA National – remember, another Fazio design – in which he finished T3. His lone Tour win came in South Carolina in 2019 at Harbour Town.
Henrik Norlander (9-1)
We've seen Norlander spring to life at times this season, as he's recorded a pair of top-5s, including a runner-up result at Torrey Pines in February. Norlander's ball striking has been in good form this season, but he's been held back by his short game, losing 0.87 strokes per round up close. A weaker field could be what he needs to post another high finish.
Hank Lebioda (10-1)
Lebioda hasn't had a ton of starts this year while playing on limited status, but he's played well when given the opportunity, notching a pair of top-20 finishes over his last three starts. He's a great iron player, ranking 30th in SG: Approach this season, and is solid under-the-radar option this week.
Although Kizzire's hot streak ended with a missed cut in Ohio last week, it's difficult to believe this is a pick'em matchup considering how much better he's played than Kisner this season. Apparently the oddsmakers like Kisner playing in his home state, but I don't like that he's only made one of his last six cuts and lacks a top-20 result this season. I'll take the superior approach player that's in much better form.
It's hard to find a weakness in Hatton's game, and he's one of the best iron players on Tour, which should came in handy in order to hold the firm greens. Fitzpatrick doesn't seem like his typical self lately, having lost strokes on approach in five of his last six tournaments, including dropping 2.1 per round last week while missing the cut by one.
I don't usually go with this big an underdog, but Hoag is too heavy a favorite for my liking, as the former Ohio State Buckeye's 13th-place result last week came at a Muirfield Village track he's very familiar with. Hubbard has made three cuts in a row – always a good thing for head-to-head wagers – and his driving accuracy should be helpful on a track with waste areas surrounding the course.