This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Palmetto Championship at Congaree
Course: Congaree Golf Club (7,655 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,300,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The Palmetto Championship will be a one-time event on the PGA Tour, as it replaces the RBC Canadian Open and its traditional date the week before the U.S. Open. This will be the second year in a row that the RBC Canadian Open will not be played due to challenges presented by COVID-19. Rory McIlroy won the last edition of the Canadian Open played back in 2019 at Hamilton by seven shots. This week at Congaree Golf Club will mark the third PGA Tour event in South Carolina over the last couple months, after the RBC Heritage and Hilton Head and the PGA Championship at Kiawah. South Carolina native and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will headline the field in Ridgeland. Brooks Koepka will be making his first start since finishing runner-up to Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship. All in all there will be just 10 players ranked inside the top-60 in the OWGR this week, as many are electing to skip and head straight to Torrey Pines to prep for the U.S. Open. Congaree will play at the longest par-71 on Tour at nearly 7,700 yards. The 2017 Tom Fazio design was recently announced at No. 39 in Golf Digest's 2021 "America's 100 Greatest Golf Course" rankings. The course is a mix of tall oak trees combined with sandy waste areas. Temperatures will extend into the low-90's throughout the event, but winds are expected to be light and shouldn't have much of an impact. A thunderstorm or two is likely to hit the course at some point throughout the four days of competition, which should soften the course a bit.
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- SG: Around-the-Green
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Off-the-Tee
Congaree was built with the sandbelt courses in Australia in mind. There is almost no rough, but large basins of sand sweep directly up to the edges of the fairways and many of the greens. This course is designed to be played more on the ground with firm fairways, but with the potential for some storms and very little wind, players should have no issue being able to hit the ball high. Both the fairways and greens are all Bermuda grass. One look at the property and you can tell that this is a scrambler's course. With all the closely mown areas and sandy areas around the greens, it lends itself to the best short game players being able to separate themselves from the field in terms of scrambling and SG: Around-the-Green numbers. For the most part there is plenty of room off the tee and the sandy areas won't be too bad as far as hitting approach shots. With some lengthy par-4's on the card, distance will certainly help this week to set yourself up with the best chances for birdies. As it does most weeks, however, approach play should tell the story as far as who is contending late Sunday afternoon.
FanDuel Value Picks
Tyrrell Hatton ($11,800)
Hatton is easily one of the most attractive options in this weak of a field. He ranks top-30 this season in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, and proximity to the hole. The Englishman is also 25th in putts per round and 10th in sand save percentage. Hatton only played once in May due to a positive COVID-19 test at the Valspar Championship, so he is as fresh as anyone at this time of the year.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($11,700)
This course seems like it should fit a grinder like Matt Fitzpatrick. He is in the mix of perhaps his best season as a professional. The Englishman ranks 14th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 39th in SG: Around-the-Green, 19th in SG: Putting, and 18th in SG: Total. Fitzpatrick is also 15th in driving accuracy and 26th in birdie average. He has finished inside the top-25 in seven of his last ten starts.
Patton Kizzire ($10,400)
Kizzire was slowed up a bit by Muirfield Village last week, but in the two weeks prior to that he scored consecutive top-3 finishes at the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Charles Schwab Challenge. Kizzire ranks 12th in SG: Putting, 34th in GIR percentage, and 22nd in birdie average this season. His ball-striking just keeps getting better, as he ranked fifth in SG: Approach and fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green in his T3 at Colonial.
Alex Noren ($10,300)
After an inconsistent start to the season, Noren is starting to put it all together. The Swede has made his last seven cuts in a stretch that includes a total of five top-25 results. His best of the bunch came just last week at the Memorial where he scored a T13. Noren ranks top-50 this season in SG: Around-the-Green, SG: Putting, proximity to the hole from the sand, and one-putt percentage. He's one of the few players in this field that has put together a lot of consistent results as of late.
Longer Shots with Value
Lucas Glover ($9,900)
Nobody in this field will know this course more than Glover, who is a Professional Ambassador at Congaree. The 41-year-old has put together some pretty solid results this season, making 15-of-22 cuts with six top-25s. Glover is coming off a T8 two weeks ago at Colonial. He ranks 43rd in SG: Off-the-Tee, 42nd in SG: Around-the-Green, and 45th in SG: Tee-to-Green. Glover has strong value here in shallow field as one of the only players that has ever seen this course before.
Harold Varner III ($9,700)
It has been a bit of an up and down year for the East Carolina product. Varner has gone 13-for-20 with six top-25s, including a T2 at nearby Harbour Town. The putter has always been an issue for Varner, but the ball-striking is never in question. This season he ranks 42nd in SG: Approach, 32nd in SG: Around-the-Green, and 29th in SG: Tee-to-Green. Varner is also sneaky long, which may help him carry a few of the sandy areas and set up better angles to greens.
Russell Knox ($9,400)
Knox may very well be the best iron player in this range. The Scot ranks 27th in SG: Approach, seventh in GIR percentage, and 14th in proximity to the hole. He is also 32nd on Tour in scrambling. Knox has gone just 13-for-24, but does have eight top-25s. If the putter starts to heat up at all he should be in for a solid week, and unfamiliar greens for the whole field should help his cause.
Vincent Whaley ($9,200)
Whaley very quietly has no finished outside the top-36 in any of his last nine starts. If you look at his numbers it makes sense. While he doesn't have any one particular area of his game that sticks out, there are also no red flags. Whaley's short game has been probably the most impressive, which will be needed around Congaree, as he ranks 53rd in sand save percentage and 42nd in scrambling.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
In this shallow of a field, I don't think that taking Dustin Johnson, who continues to search for his game, or the injury-prone Brooks Koepka makes much sense. In all honestly, if you go below $9,000 in this field at all there will have to be some serious dart throwing. That's why I think the play is to really balance it out and not reach too far in either direction. That should give you the best chance of getting five or six players to the weekend, and hopefully a couple of them contending. With a course that almost all of the field will have never seen before, I think it's best to go heavy on recent form this week and hope the trend continues at Congaree.