The field this week is set at 156 players. The Palmetto Championship is a full field event and will be a one and done-type stop for the PGA Tour in 2021. The event is replacing the Canadian Open, which was unable to take place this year due to COVID-19 protocols, but that will be back on the schedule next year. With the US Open taking place next week on the other end of the country in San Diego, the field here doesn’t have a ton of elite talent with just seven top-30 players in attendance.
The good news is Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are among those in attendance, both of which are huge draws and will have a clear talent advantage over the rest of the field. For Koepka, this will be the first time he’s playing since the PGA Championship, where he finished T2 and then gave one of the most memorable final round interviews of recent memory. Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton are also playing, but neither have performed well in recent events and will look for a spark heading into Torrey Pines next week. The cut this week will have the top 65 and ties making the weekend after Friday’s round.
Refer a friend and get $20 DK Dollars! Head to the DraftKings Playbook Promo page for more details!
Congaree Golf Club—Ridgeland, South Carolina
Par 71, 7,655 yards; Greens: Bermudagrass
Congaree is a long Par 71 that is located in the lower part of South Carolina, not far from the lower Georgia border. The venue is shockingly new by PGA TOUR standards, created in 2018 by noted designer Tom Fazio, who has also had a hand in several other PGA courses (design and redesign) — Quail Hollow, Conway Farms and the Seaside Course at Sea Island being his most significant.
Congaree is a flat course that is built around a lot of natural hazards on a big piece of land. It’s nearly the complete opposite of what we see at many classic venues where old trees and small greens make for a claustrophobic experience. There are some older trees that Congaree is built around, but many of the holes are sprawling and fairways run off into natural sandy waste areas with little rough. There’s also a decent amount of water sprinkled around the course that the holes are built around. Visually, its best comparison might be to Pinehurst No. 2, which was last seen at the US Open in 2014 and is also located nearby in North Carolina.
The venue’s length is intimidating since the course features plenty of long holes, including three Par 4s on the front nine that will play well over 500 yards. The eighth hole normally plays as a Par 5 for amateurs, and that change to a Par 4 for this week may help keep the players from reaching absurd under-par scores. Despite some longer holes, it does appear like there will be some birdie opportunities since the natural waste areas likely won’t deter players from hammering their driver on most holes, and the venue doesn’t feature a ton of doglegs. Two of the Par 5s look reachable for a lot of the field, and there will be two Par 4s that play significantly under 400 yards and could be drivable for a lot of the field here.
Conditions will obviously play a factor, especially when it comes to green speeds which apparently are often set at +12 or above on the Stimp. Still, I’d expect the sprawling venue to challenge players’ creativity more than anything, especially around the greens where sharp runoffs may make chipping well off tight lies a huge must. Like some of the newer venues we’ve seen on TOUR of late (TPC Craig Ranch, Trinity Forest) I wouldn’t be shocked if this played slightly easier than its yardage indicates, especially given the lack of rough for the players to deal with. Look for strong approach play and putting to be most vital thing to target here, much like it was at the longer TPC Craig Ranch just a few weeks ago for the AT&T Byron Nelson.
2021 outlook: The weather this week could play a factor with a lot of early-week rain expected. That’s likely going to mean a somewhat wet golf course, which the players could be able to take advantage of. Highs are expected to be in the high 80s to low 90s, which may help dry things out quickly. Those temperatures aren’t likely to be accompanied by a ton of wind, which should also keep things pretty simple for the players. Gusts aren’t expected to reach over 10 mph for any of the four days of play, and we’ll likely only have to keep an eye out for random thunderstorms stopping play this week. It’s hard to know how this new course will play out, but added precipitation will likely make the quick fairways and greens here easier to hold, and put a bigger emphasis on approach play and putting again.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Alex Noren ($8,900; T13-T55): Obviously we don’t have a huge number of high-profile players in the field this week, so Noren gets top spot here on the basis of consistency. He has made eight of his last nine cuts now and finished T25 or better in four of his last five PGA starts. He’s top 20 in both SG: Putting and ATG stats in this field over the last 50 rounds and actually looks decently priced here considering the field and late WD’s we’ve had.
2. Ian Poulter ($9,200; T3-T30): Poulter is also playing very consistent golf right now, coming in off a T3 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Overall, he’s landed T30 or better finishes in three of his last four starts and has also been a maestro on greens, where he’s gained over +4.0 strokes putting now in four of his last five starts. For consistency alone, he’ll likely be a favorite target of many here.
3. Brooks Koepka ($11,100; T2-MC): Koepka certainly could have been ranked much higher here, but his lack of play since the PGA Championship is slightly concerning. He is still trying to rehab his surgically repaired knee that was operated on in March. Koepka gained +11.4 strokes tee to green at the PGA Championship, though, and certainly is capable of breaking the slate this week on a long golf course against a weaker field.
4. Vince Whaley ($7,700; T20-T26): Whaley has been the darling of DFS junkies over the past month or so, and he’s been paying off for those who have stayed loyal to him, even when his salary dipped down close to the minimum. He’s now made nine cuts in a row, finished inside the top 30 in five straight starts and seems likely to again get lots of ownership, even with the big price increase on DraftKings (he was $6,100 in his last start).
5. Doc Redman ($8,000; T42-T49-T9): Redman has put together a decent, if unspectacular, stretch of golf lately. He comes into this event having made the cut now in three straight starts, which is a big improvement over his earlier form which saw him miss the weekend in three of five events. Redman has really improved on the greens of late, gaining over +1.9 strokes putting in four straight events. If his irons keep showing improvement, don’t be shocked if he makes a bigger move here.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Pay up for single-digit favorite Dustin Johnson
Johnson enters this week mired in one of the deeper slumps of his amazingly consistent career. But he’s still driving the ball well, gaining +2.0 strokes or more OTT in each of his last three starts now. On this longer course in Johnson’s home state, I wouldn’t be afraid to pay up for him, especially with his odds to win at just +800 to win on DraftKings Sportsbook. Targeting some players in the $8K range will make it easier to roster Johnson. Harold Varner III ($8,500) and Brandt Snedeker ($8,400) are two I wouldn’t mind paying up for. Varner has been consistent of late, and Snedeker is a player who is likely to handle these tricky green complexities better than most. Snedeker was a solid T9 at the 2014 US Open played at Pinehurst No. 2, another trick Carolina venue. Some other names to consider for this week include Vince Whaley ($7,700) and Adam Schenk ($7,100).
Tournaments: Fitzpatrick a prime bounce-back candidate
We obviously don’t have a ton of big names to choose from here, so everyone has to be considered. Matt Fitzpatrick ($10,400) looks overpriced based on the fact he’s coming off a bad missed cut at the Memorial, where he lost strokes on his approaches. Still, the No. 21 player in the OWGR had five top-12 finishes in his last 10 starts on TOUR and was T23 in South Carolina at the PGA Championship just a few weeks ago. He seems certain to have the lowest ownership of all the players priced over $10K this week. Kevin Kisner ($8,700) is another name you could see grab low ownership. He finally broke a five event missed cut streak at Colonial, and he’s a South Carolina native who typically excels on Bermuda courses and has won on the Fazio designed Seaside Course. Some other potential big-field GPP targets: Harris English ($9,900 – see below), Henrik Norlander ($7,100 – see below), Matthew NeSmith ($7,800), Tom Lewis ($7,300), Sean O’Hair ($6,400) and Sebastian Cappelen ($6,300).
MY PICK: Harris English ($9,900)
English may not look too flashy from a recent-form standpoint, but he has picked things up a bit after a mid-season slump. The now three-time winner on TOUR has made the cut in six of his last seven starts and has had some decent moments in recent events, including a round of 63 in round three at the Byron Nelson just a few starts ago. His start at the PGA only produced a T64, but he did gain over two strokes on his approaches at Kiawah, which was a significant uptick in performance since he’d lost strokes to the field in all three prior starts in that area.
English grew up close to Congaree (South Carolina) in Georgia and has had solid results in this part of the country, including success at some other Tom Fazio designs in this area, like Seaside course at Sea Island where he trains often. When you also factor in English tends to peak well at majors of late and previously grabbed a win at the now defunct FedEx St. Jude Classic — which used to take place on this weekend before the US Open — I think you have to like his chances at popping for a big week here. He’s a good pay-up target for me in this weaker field, especially at under $10K.
MY SLEEPER: Henrik Norlander ($7,100)
Norlander started 2021 in great form, recording a T12 at The American Express and a T2 at the Farmers. He has always been a streaky player, with his form dipping in the middle of the season when he missed four cuts in a row. Norlander’s last few starts have been more promising, though, and he looked sharp with his irons and on the greens at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where he only finished T50 but gained +4.0 strokes on his approaches.
While he missed the cut badly at the Memorial, Norlander is a player who has shown the ability to pop in these weaker field events and also has some good results at Fazio-designed venues. He’s finished runner-up and T5 at the RSM Classic (Sea Island) and also has a T16 to his name at Quail Hollow (2013). With his approach game rounding into form — he ranks ninth in the field in SG: Approach stats over the last 50 rounds — and this field devoid of any real depth, I wouldn’t be shocked if Norlander found some confidence early and potentially rode it into another big week. He’s due for a bounce back and makes for a good GPP target here in a very watered-down field.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.