The Palmetto Championship Picks, Odds, Preview: Stats Say to Target Ian Poulter at Congaree
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Poulter.
After a controversial finish to the Memorial Championship, the PGA TOUR makes a brief stop to South Carolina to play the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. The event is a one-time replacement for the RBC Canadian Open, which was forced to cancel due to Canada’s COVID-19 policies.
Congaree Golf Club is a 7,655-yard par 71 and features bermudagrass greens. The 128-year-old classic is the second oldest course in the United States. The Tom Fazio design has unique green surfaces and should play firm and fast.
The Palmetto Championship at Congaree is a full 156-player field event, and the commitment list is rather weak, which will surprise no one considering it’s the week before a major championship that will be played on the other side of the country.
Some notable golfers in the field include Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Sungjae Im.
5 Key Stats For Congaree Golf Club
Let’s take a look at five metrics key for Congaree Golf Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee will be a major factor this week. While the fairways are wide. missing them could be costly for golfers. With sandy areas lining the fairways on many holes, it will be important to be long and straight.
SG: OTT Over Past 24 Rounds
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+19.5) (+1600)
- Jhonattan Vegas (17.6) (+6000)
- Brooks Koepka (+16.2) (+900)
- Keith Mitchell (+14.3) (+4000)
- Luke List (+14.2) (+8000)
2. Strokes Gained: Approach
The green complexes at Palmetto Golf Club are going to be quite challenging. I actually expect this event to be more difficult than many would presume, and the firm and fast conditions will put an emphasis on precise approach play.
Strokes Gained: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Patton Kizzire (+28.0) (+4000)
- Hank Lebioda (+19.1) (+15000)
- Tyrrell Hatton (+17.8) (+1400)
- Russell Knox (+17.4)(+6000)
- Matthew NeSmith (+15.4) (+8000)
3. Driving Distance
I am placing an added emphasis on distance this week. There are some extremely long par 4s on the course (holes 3-5 will be absolute brutes), and the course has some hole setups where there is trouble that needs to be avoided with carry in the air. The fairways are pretty wide, so the bombers may have a distinct advantage this week.
Driving Distance Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Will Gordon (+20.1) (+30000)
- Jhonattan Vegas (+19.8) (+6000)
- Ryan Brehm(+19.1) (+40000)
- Luke List (+16.6) (+8000)
- Andres Romero (+16.1) (+50000)
4. Strokes Gained: Around the Green
The course will almost certainly play extremely firm and fast provided there aren’t large periods of rain later in the week.
With little rough around the green locations, the golf course’s best defense will be tightly mowed run-off areas. A strong around the green game is a must at Congaree, and I envision a plethora of “Texas Wedges” being used this week.
Strokes Gained: Around the Green Over Past 24 Rounds
- Tommy Fleetwood (+16.8) (+2500)
- Seamus Power (+13.7) (+10000)
- Fabian Gomez (+13.4) (+40000)
- Danny Willett (+12.9) (+6000)
- Lucas Glover (+11.9) (+4000)
5. Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) (Fast)
Ben Hogan used to go to Congaree Golf Club to practice his putting and around-the-green work to prepare for The Masters. As long as it stays dry, the course could play as firm and fast as we see on tour.
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)(Fast) Over Past 24 Rounds
- Patton Kizzire (+24.0) (+4000)
- Johnson Wagner (+22.1) (+40000)
- JT Poston (+21.8) (+10000)
- Greg Chalmers (+18.7) (+50000)
- Richy Werenski (+18.6) (+10000)
The Palmetto Championship at Congaree Model Rankings
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: OTT (24%), SG: App (24%), Driving Distance (17%), ARG: (17%), and SG: Putting Bermudagrass (17%).
- Brooks Koepka (+900)
- Dustin Johnson (+800)
- Jhonattan Vegas(+6000)
- Vincent Whaley(+8000)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+1600)
- Harold Varner III (+5000)
- Luke List (+8000)
- Keith Mitchell (+4000)
- Joseph Bramlett (+15000)
- Tommy Fleetwood (+2500)
Best Bets for the Palmetto Championship at Congaree
Ian Poulter (+3500)
Ian Poulter is heading to Congaree in excellent form, coming off of back-to-back solid performances.
The Englishman finished 30th at a difficult PGA Championship and followed it up with a third-place finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He gained an impressive 3.9 strokes on approach and 6.3 strokes tee-to-green at Colonial.
Poults has the excellent around-the-green game to compete at what may be a difficult course to get up and down at with steep run-off areas and firm and fast greens.
He ranks eighth in the field in his past eight rounds and seventh in putting, with bermudagrass being his preferred putting surface.
In addition to the excellent form, Poulter is highly motivated to notch a win and make a strong case to join the European team in the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. In a week full of uncertainty, my headline bet is a fiery competitor who is certain to fight for my money at Congaree.
Vincent Whaley (+8000)
Although Whaley is yet to actually contend on tour, he is playing too well to ignore.
In his past eight starts, he hasn’t finished worse than 36th and has been remarkably consistent.
In his most recent start at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Whaley gained 5.4 strokes on approach, which was a career best. He hits the ball pretty long and is a good putter on bermudagrass, making him a nice fit for this week.
With sandy waste areas surrounding the course, it’s also to his advantage that he’s sixth in the field in sand saves in his past 12 rounds. The 26-year-old is worth a shot in what is shaping up to be a very weak field.
Satoshi Kodaira (+12500)
Satoshi Kodaira is historically an absolute wildcard from week to week. However, he has been somewhat consistent of late with his past two finishes being an 11th at Wells Fargo and a 13th at the Byron Nelson.
A previous winner on the TOUR, the Tokyo, Japan, native has what it takes to claim the trophy in a weak field if he finds himself in contention on Sunday. His most recent strong finishes have been powered by a very hot putter, gaining 6.5 and 4.2 strokes in his past two starts, respectively.
He has also been quite solid from tee-to-green in which he has gained strokes in his past four events. If Kodaira can continue his steady play and put together another great putting week, he has a shot to win a tournament that is completely up for grabs.
Joseph Bramlett (+15000)
Bramlett is a golfer who fits the profile of the type of golfer I am looking for this week. He is extremely long off of the tee, ranking eighth in the field in driving distance.
With some mammoth par 4s on the course, it will be a major advantage to be able to get the ball out there at Congaree.
While not a great putter, Bramlett is very good around the green, gaining close to a stroke per round on the field in his past five events. He missed the cut in his most recent event but had his best TOUR start to date in his prior tournament, finishing seventh at the Byron Nelson.