Palmetto Championship betting preview: All aboard the Sungjae train
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Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina is set to host its first PGA TOUR event ever, with the Palmetto Championship acting as a replacement tournament for the canceled Canadian Open.
No course history and little information on how the course will play makes betting on the event even trickier than normal. When you add in the fact that the field is rather weak due to most big names taking the week off, this is a good tournament to scale back your exposure.
- 7,655 yards, par 71
- Tom Fazio design
- Bermudagrass throughout
- No rough on the entire course
- 130 acres of sandy waste areas
- Resembles courses in the Australian Sandbelt
Dustin Johnson is the favorite at +800, followed closely by Brooks Koepka. Both players typically play well and contend the week before a major championship, but neither is a value option at their short prices. If forced to choose between the two, Johnson is the play because Koepka is likely trying to preserve energy and take it easy on his knee ahead of next week's U.S. Open.
Sungjae Im is the most intriguing of the favorites. More on the South Korean in a bit.
The next tier
|Harold Varner III||+3300|
The field and odds get ugly real quick after the short list of favorites.
Ian Poulter finished tied for third in his most recent start and should feel comfortable on the Congaree layout. His +2500 price is short but may drift closer to +3000, which is much easier to stomach, as Thursday approaches.
Kevin Kisner at +4400 is worth a look. The South Carolina resident, who recently compared Congaree to Kiawah Island, should feel comfortable on the Bermudagrass and possesses the style of game that should find success under firm and fast conditions.
Finally, if you want to take a shot at upside and talent, look no further than Garrick Higgo. The 22-year-old South African is ranked 54th in the world and has two victories on the European Tour in his last four starts. He also had a respectable showing in his first major at the PGA Championship two weeks ago.
This tournament feels completely wide open, giving long shots a great chance to come out of nowhere and steal a victory, just as K.H. Lee did before the PGA Championship.
Here are a few to consider:
- Keith Mitchell (+5000): He should have no issue with Congaree's length due to his distance off the tee. Mitchell finished third three starts ago at Quail Hollow and tends to play well on Bermudagrass.
- Luke List (+6500): He held the course record at Congaree as of last month, according to Golf Digest's Stephen Hennessey. List has also gained strokes tee-to-green in eight straight starts.
- Rafa Cabrera-Bello (+7000): He's gained over four strokes tee-to-green in two of his last three starts and should thrive on the links-style layout at Congaree.
- J.J. Spaun (+27500): He was the first-round leader in his most recent start at the Byron Nelson and finished tied-for-18th in the start prior at Quail Hollow.
Sungjae Im (+1600)
Im is the main selection of the week at +1600.
The South Korean put on a display at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, which is in the heart of the Australian Sandbelt. If Congaree plays anything like the courses in the Land Down Under and produces firm and fast conditions, you have to like Sungjae's chances even more.
Im also played solid at Kiawah Island, another long links-style course in South Carolina. He gained strokes in all four categories for a top-20 finish at the PGA Championship - the best result in his last five starts.
Then there is the Bermudagrass angle. Im's only career win came on Bermudagrass, which is by far his preferred choice of putting surface. Five of Im's nine top-five results on the PGA TOUR came on Bermudagrass.
Yes, it would be nice to see the former Rookie of the Year in a little better form heading into the week, but he only recorded one top-10 result in his five starts prior to his lone win at the 2020 Honda Classic. Maybe solid lead-in form isn't a prerequisite for a Sungjae win.
Doc Redman (+6500)
We're keeping the picks at two this week and opting for Doc Redman as the second choice if Im can't get it done.
Redman has turned things around with his iron play - an area that's now made him a contender multiple times in his young career. The 23-year-old gained strokes through approach shots in eight of his past 12 rounds and made three straight cuts as a result.
He's also shown the ability to contend in weak fields. All four of his career top-five finishes have come in tournaments with a field strength of 325 or less. This week's event has a field strength of 200.