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Palmetto Championship Tips: Four selections for South Carolina

Palmetto Championship Tips: Tyrrell Hatton features in Jamie's selections this week
Palmetto Championship Tips: Tyrrell Hatton features in Jamie's selections this week

Palmetto Championship Tips

Tyrrell Hatton 14/1 – 1/5 8 places (William Hill) – 3 pts ew

Keith Mitchell 45/1 – 1/5 8 places (Betfred) – 1.25 pts ew

Martin Laird 60/1 – 1/5 10 places (Boylesports) – 1 pt ew

Hank Lebioda 150/1 – 1/5 8 places (Paddypower) – 0.75 pts ew

Huge drama last week at Muirfield Village as Patrick Cantlay saw off Collin Morikawa in a playoff to win the Memorial Tournament. That wasn’t the most dramatic moment of the week though, as Jon Rahm was told immediately after sauntering to a six shot lead in his third round, that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and therefore had to withdraw from the event. An unprecedented situation that was always the worry after the game returned from the initial suspension last year.

Onto the final stop before the US Open, the one-off Palmetto Championship at Congaree. Another course that has come to the rescue for the PGA Tour during the Covid pandemic, due to the cancellation of the Canadian Open.

Only established in 2018, South Carolina’s stunning Congaree Golf Club has already received plenty of acclaim and many are excited to see it in action this week. It debuted in Golf Digest’s list of  “America’s 100 Greatest Courses” in 39th position this year. 

Designed by Tom Fazio, the course is a tree-lined par 71 measuring a huge 7655 yards, with wide fairways and large, difficult Bermuda greens. There is plenty of water in play on the course, though you won’t find much in the way of rough, with the fairways lined with sandy waste areas instead. It is set up to play firm and fast with tightly mown run off areas around many greens, meaning a premium on precision iron play or else you’re going to have to bring a quality short game.

It possesses a real mix of tough and attackable holes. Three absolute monster par 4s measuring 510 yards+ but also a fair few scorable ones including a couple at 360 yards, in which the players will be looking to give themselves clear birdie chances.

Another PGA Tour event and another week with plenty of rain in the forecast before and during the event. Which may mean we won’t get the firm and fast conditions that the course is intended to be played in.

The field is weak outside the top few in the betting. World #1 Dustin Johnson is the headliner, along with Brooks Koepka. As well as the English trio of Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick. Many of the game’s top names instead choosing to get ready for the US Open at Torrey Pines next week. 

 

Golf betting tips
Tyrrell Hatton - Each-Way 8 places
14/1
Odds correct as of 2021-06-08 10:20 Odds subject to change.

Tyrrell Hatton 14/1 – 1/5 8 places (WilliamHill) – 3 pts ew

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka head the market but at single figures are easy enough to leave alone here. Instead, my main selection of the week is the man who comes next in the betting, Tyrrell Hatton, who I believe represents value in this weak field.

Last time we saw Hatton in the PGA Championship, he finished a solid 38th at Kiawah Island, a course which may be a good comparison to this week’s new venue. Both are in South Carolina, both are long, second shot golf courses and both have natural sandy areas hugging the fairways. His iron play was solid that week, where he ranked 28th, though not quite up to his seasonal numbers, where he’s the 11th best player on tour in approach. He also scrambled well, ranking 14th. Two things I expect to be hugely important this week.

He’s got a recent third place finish at another Tom Fazio design, Shadow Creek, in the CJ Cup last year. Even though Congaree is regarded to be quite different to Fazio’s other designs, Fazio himself has described Congaree as a “Low country version” of the Shadow Creek course. It’s reasonable to suspect there will be some similarities in how they will play.

He’s not contended much over recent months but continues to play solid golf in a light schedule. Still with just the one missed cut this year, coming in THE PLAYERS Championship. He’s developed into one of the most relentless winners in world golf over recent years and rates as the best bet this week over the two short market leaders.

Keith Mitchell - Each-Way 8 Places
45/1
Odds correct as of 2021-06-08 10:25 Odds subject to change.

Keith Mitchell 45/1 – 1/5 8 places (Betfred) – 1.25 pts ew

I put up Mitchell a few weeks ago in the Byron Nelson, where he struggled to get anything going before a final round 66 jumped him up into a 26th place finish. I think that was a decent performance on the face of it, after being well in contention the week before when finishing 3rd at the Wells Fargo and surely a little spent mentally. He followed the 26th at the Byron Nelson with a missed cut at Colonial two weeks ago but I’m not too concerned about that, as it’s a course that doesn’t really suit this big hitter’s game. 

As mentioned in the Byron Nelson preview, his game has taken a step in the right direction in recent months. He’s driving the ball well and putting up consistently impressive approach numbers. His long game should be a real asset this week and though he can have the odd shocker on the greens, is putting solidly for the most part, with the bonus of his only PGA Tour victory in the Honda Classic coming on Bermuda greens. 

He’s had a couple of weeks off since the missed cut in the Charles Schwab Challenge and should enjoy getting back out there on a long, firm course, much like the test he excelled so well in at the Wells Fargo just a few starts ago.

Martin Laird - Each-Way 10 Places
60/1
Odds correct as of 2021-06-08 10:30 Odds subject to change.

Martin Laird 60/1 – 1/5 10 places (Boylesports) – 1 pt ew

My next selection is Scotsman, Martin Laird, who’s recent results are solid if unspectacular. 

If his results are unspectacular, the same can’t be said about his recent approach play, where he’s put up some quality performances in his last few starts. Including a field leading performance in his 23rd place finish at the PGA Championship two starts ago.

He’s a good driver of the ball, solid around the greens and even though his putting isn’t an asset, he has won two events on Bermuda greens on the PGA Tour: the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Valero Texas Open.

A little underwhelming in his 53rd place finish at the Memorial Tournament last week, he’ll have to bounce back here but as a recent, proven winner at this level I feel he’ll fancy his chances in this field. If he does return to the kind of iron play that saw him to that 23rd in the PGA Championship, he should be a danger this week.

Hank Lebioda - Each-Way 8 Places
150/1
Odds correct as of 2021-06-08 10:35 Odds subject to change.

Hank Lebioda 150/1 – 1/5 8 places (Paddypower) – 0.75 pts ew

Hank Lebioda has hit some good form of late, with a couple of top 20s in his last three starts and is the final selection this week.

His recent, quality form has been achieved predominantly on the back of some excellent iron play, ranking 30th for the season in that respect, including being 10th and 6th in approach in his last two events.

Also an excellent scrambler, where he ranks 6th for the year. He’s not renowned for putting but has definitely improved that area of his game this year, where he’s currently ranked inside the top 100, after being outside the top 150 in the previous two years.

He’s still young at 27 and was a good amateur, where he reached a high of 22nd in the amateur rankings, so has plenty of scope for improvement. I think quality iron play and good scrambling will be the key around here this week, so hopefully he can continue to play excellently in those aspects of his game and take advantage of the lack of depth in this field.

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