Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, June 9
Cutoff time for this event is June 10 at 7:00 AM EST.
Streaming Subscribers: Watch on Sky Sports Golf Channel in the UK Sports group or the Sky Sports Group beginning at 4:00 PM EST on Thursday and every day thereafter.
This may or may not be our last look for a long time at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeville, SC although those that have seen it have intimated that it could become a PGA TOUR regular. Those who fear that modern golfers are able to simply over-power real estate will be pleased – Congaree plays an astonishing 7,655 yards for its Par 71, with three gigantic Par 5s (up to 620 yards) and three Par 4s that measure over 500 yards.
Lucas Glover, a regular at the venue, has made some interesting observations. He believes that even shorter hitters can prevail if they play clever bump and run style shots, and there are a number of Links style analogies to be made with the firm and fast conditions. The Bermuda greens will run at 12 on the stimpmeter – weather allowing, and there are numerous hazards around including some sizable lakes and ponds. Here’s a unique touch – Congaree doesn’t have rough but instead features stacks of sandy waste areas, and the emphasis will be on avoiding those. Wayward drives will be gobbled up by water hazards, of which there are many. Factor in the speed of the Bermuda greens, the shaved edges and the humidity (which will add distance and make shot judgment harder), and Congaree might not be the pushover it appears on paper.
Should the rain fall as expected, the course will play even longer, and the beastly Par 5s and even some of the Par 4s – 520 yards and counting – will become a nightmare for those unable to send their ball 300+ yards off the tee. With a quasi-Links and Australian type feel to proceedings, we might see an unusual leaderboard – aided by a scarcity of the game’s big names. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka will look to find form and fitness ahead of the U.S. Open, but they and Tyrrell Hatton are the only players inside the world’s top 20 in the field. Conditions are ripe for a ‘surprise’ winner then, so let’s see if we can nail one.
To Win Outright: These are played at BET365 because of their cashout option.
Danny Lee 150-1
We were keeping a close eye on Danny Lee at Muirfield Village last week – an opening round of 80 was not exactly what we had planned to see. He had struck the ball beautifully from tee to green at Colonial the week prior, and so a continuation of that was expected. Alas, a missed cut duly followed, but we think that back on Bermuda and at a course where shot shaping is a priority, Lee should not be discarded so readily despite the evidence on show in Ohio (Risking 0.2 units to win outright and 0.2 units for a Top-5 finish)
Tyler McCumber 175-1
At a bargain bucket price, Tyler McCumber is an interesting proposition this week. He is massive off the tee, and yet T22 at TPC Sawgrass for the PLAYERS Championship proves that he has some nuance and feel in his game too. McCumber has enjoyed plenty of success in South America both on the Tours down there and on the Korn Ferry Tour’s outings to the continent, and one thing that is guaranteed in Latin America is heat and firm, fast conditions. At 175-1, there’s certainly enough interest to take a shot on him. McCumber ranks 16th ON TOUR in Driving Distance, 38th in Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders and 54th in Approaches from 200-225 yards (Risking 0.2 units to win outright and 0.2 units for a Top-5 finish)
Vincent Whaley 90-1
Picking a pro that is yet to win as a professional might seem like a rash move, but the consistency of Vincent Whaley’s game is remarkable. Fantasy players take note. Since the Puerto Rico Open in the spring, he hasn’t finished any lower than T36 – that’s a span that includes quality events like the Valspar Championship, the Wells Fargo and the Charles Schwab. In his last five events, Whaley has finished 29th, 29th, 26th, 26th and 20th respectively. He’s made 10 cuts in a row and he’s very much under the radar. In this wretched company that is particularly eye-catching, and a graduate of the Texan youth scene alongside Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler, Whaley won’t mind if Congaree plays firm and fast (Risking 0.2 units to win 18).
Head-to-head Matchups for the Palmetto Championship
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP below is for 72 holes:
Lucas Glover -113 over Ian Poulter (Pinnacle)
There are three matchups we found with Lucas Glover. There’s this one at Pinnacle Sports and also at Pinny is Lucas Glover +106 over Alex Noren. The other one is at Bet365 where Glover is a pick’em against the red-hot Patton Kizzire. It has been an excellent season for Patton Kizzire so far, with 17 cuts made from 21 starts and five top-10s so we’ll pass on that but what we found very interesting is that Pinnacle has Noren -123 over Kizzire. It therefore makes sense to suggest that Glover over Kizzire or Poulter is the best play.
There is, occasionally, the willingness to overplay how much a ‘local’ advantage can be once the players cross the white line of battle, but there’s more to Lucas Glover than just a Congaree membership, and his top-10 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in his penultimate start was a timely reminder of his talents. A sublime driver of the ball, Glover is comfortable through the bag from long irons to short wedges, and that will stand him in excellent stead this week. Glover knows this course inside and out. He’s probably played it 100’s of times and if that’s not a massive advantage, then color us ill-informed. Glover over Poulter is a steal and it’s also worth noting that Poulter is headed to the US Open next week so this might be more like a glorified tune-up for him (Risking 2.26 units to win 2.00).
Doc Redman +100 over C.T. Pan (Pinnacle)
C.T. Pan has missed the cut in nine of his past 15 events. He made the cut last week at the Memorial Tournament but a final round of 77 pushed him backwards to finish at +7 for the event and we’re not going to trust him to snap out of it here.
If there were ever a week for a young talent to break through, it’s in a field like this one. Redman fits the mold of a player who has been on the cusp of that inaugural TOUR win, but has yet to get it done. Doc Redman graduated from Clemson, which is in South Carolina, thus, it’s safe to assume that he’s played this course dozens of times. He comes into the week off three straight made cuts, including a top-10 finish at the Byron Nelson a few weeks back. He seems to have found something with his biggest weakness, the putter, over the past several weeks as he has gained 1.9 strokes or more on the greens in four straight tournaments.
This 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion figures to feel at right at home back on the bermudagrass of Congaree Golf Club. At 70-1 to win outright, he’s worth a bet but we’re going to play him to beat C.T. Pan (Risking 2 units).
Joseph Bramlett -121 over Brian Stuard (Pinnacle)
Brian Stuard ranks 200th on TOUR in driving distance. He ranks 114th in putting and ranks 102nd in SG: Approach. Now take a course that rewards long drives and Approach Stuard doesn’t fit the bill. He’s a 38-year-old vet that is from Michigan so chances are strong that he’s not played this course before and only signed up this week only because the field is weak and he sees a chance for a payday.
By contrast, we’re expecting a big step up from Joseph Bramlett sooner or later. Dude is starting to deliver the consistency needed on the PGA TOUR – making seven cuts from 11 this term – and is starting to enjoy bigger paydays too, with T13 at the Corales Puntacana followed by T7 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. An excellent ball-striker with a long old drive, Bramlett doesn’t mind sultry conditions and instead seems to thrive when the heat is on. You could do worse at 140-1 but make sure you get this wager in if your sportsbook offers it (Risking 2.42 units)
Others to consider for DFS or to win Outright:
Sung Kang 140-1
There was a much better tee-to-green showing from Sung Kang at Muirfield Village last week, and a cold putter prevented him from building on his T32 return. A hapless season thus far is starting to give way to green shoots of recovery, with a solid T47 at the Byron Nelson preceding a middle 36 holes at the Charles Schwab Challenge that were played in -9. But it’s fast Bermuda layouts where Kang tends to come to the fore, as evidenced by his victory at Trinity Forest back in 2019. It seems the faster the better for the Korean, who has set home in Texas – he knows a thing or two about these slick Bermuda surfaces.
Keith Mitchell 45-1
The king of Bermuda should really fancy his chances this week at a course that will suit his big bombs off the tee. It’s amazing how Keith Mitchell comes alive on Bermuda greens, but the facts speak for themselves – case in point, weeks of nothingness followed by T3 out of the blue at the Wells Fargo in May. His season-long stats make for dismal reading, but give Mitchell a Bermuda-laid track where he can free his arms off the tee and he often comes up with the goods.
Harold Varner III 50-1
Harold Varner III – a player whose mastery of irons and wedges is still yet to be truly rewarded on the TOUR. His time will surely come, and Varner’s prodigious length and comfort approaching from 200 yards or 50 is why he appeals on unknown Congaree layout. Here’s a fun aside too – Varner’s sole senior win came in the Australian PGA Championship, and there are those (including Tom Fazio himself) who describe Congaree as being influenced by the classic Aussie sandbelt courses. That is food for thought, certainly.
Total risk is 7.68 units and we'll update this once the event is officially over.
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Palmetto Championship (Risking 7.68 units - To Win: 0.00)