The Palmetto Championship at Congaree GC is a new tournament and new venue this week in place of the RBC Canadian Open, which was canceled and moved to the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns.
Congaree GC features characteristics akin to courses we see in Australia, Texas and desert golf: Dry and hard-turf conditions with multiple runoff areas around the greens (which we’ll get to in a little bit). One of the first things you notice when looking into the course is the distance. At 7,655 yards, Congaree GC is the longest Par 71 on TOUR. There are 13 holes where water comes into play, and the average green size is 6,150 square feet, which is roughly an average size on TOUR. Sand and native areas (similar to what we saw at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in the same state) replace where the rough “should” be this week, with little to none of it around the course. A wayward tee shot or a mishit with an approach will end up in questionable areas, which means this course could present some issues this week if the conditions stay dry. Keeping the ball on the ground or close to it, as we see in desert-style courses, should be the way to be successful here.
This week is the first year of the tournament, so there are no past winners. With the U.S. Open right around the corner and with the unknown of this tournament, our betting cards may be slightly smaller this week.
What Poulter lacks in Off-the-Tee, he makes up in approach, ranking 26th over the previous dozen rounds. We need to shy away from the stats a touch when considering Poulter and realize this is a Ryder Cup year — a competition tailor-made for the Englishman — which could mean considering him on a more regular basis. His recent finishes read 26th at the Masters, a top 30 at the PGA Championship and a top three at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Poulter appears to be rounding into form and ready to make his presence known on TOUR and to Padrig Harrington, Captain of this year’s European Ryder Cup team. A lot of his recent success is from a hot putter, but as mentioned in the DraftKings Preview article, Poulter’s ball-striking on courses of this length and of similar setup is top-notch.
It’s tough to bet him outright pre-tournament with some question marks about his driving, but he has the game do well here, even though the course doesn’t seem to set up well for him. Looking over the past 24 rounds on courses over 7,400 yards, Knox ranks 30th in fairways gained and first in Greens in Regulation gained, proving he’s got the game to match up with the longer hitters on longer courses. An 18th at Quail Hollow last month also supports his ability on these longer tracks. Much of his success comes from his ability to keep the ball out of trouble off-the-tee and be elite with his long irons and his overall approach game, ranking amongst the best in this field (fourth) in Opportunities Gained over the last two dozen rounds. If this week becomes a birdie fest, then Knox may find it a tad difficult to keep up, which is why considering his top 10 or top 20 number could be the way to go before the tournament starts.
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