The PGA Tour returns to South Carolina for the sole edition of the Palmetto Championship and Steve Rawlings has back the lowdown.
Steve says: “Of the market leaders, Brooks Koepka is the one I came closest to backing. He finished second to Phil Mickelson last time out in the USPGA and he also finished second at the aforementioned Concession Club in February.
“Koepka tends to find his form at the time of the majors, winning and placing either side of previous championships, and if his post-op knee doesn’t trouble him I can see him contending, provided he can keep his mind on the job in hand and not his childish feud with Bryson DeChambeau.”
“Although I’m a big Tyrrell Hatton fan, and that this venue will suit him, I’m not convinced he’s playing well enough to side with at around 15.014/1 and I’m very surprised to see fellow Englishman, Matt Fitzpatrick trading at not much bigger given he’s yet to win on the PGA Tour. It’s not the strongest of fields but he looks very short.”
After last week’s headline bet, Patrick Cantlay, took victory at 20/1, Dave Tindall seeks more profits with three tips for the new PGA Tour event at Congaree.
Dave says: “Poulter has already qualified for the US Open on world ranking and comes to Congaree on the back of a third place finish in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial following a decent top 30 in the PGA Championship.
“His putter is hot. He was 1st for SG: Putting on the Bermuda greens at Hilton Head and has continued to roll it well, ranking in the top dozen for SGP at both Kiawah Island and Colonial.
“The 45-year-old is 21st Around The Green and 7th for Putting while all that sand could further play into his hands: Poulter is 29th for Sand Saves.
“The timing of the event could also help. Poulter won the Houston Open the week before the 2018 Masters and has plenty of good results in Scottish Opens held ahead of the Open Championship. There seems plenty to like at 40/1.”
Dave’s bet: Back Ian Poulter E/W @ 41.040/1
Who’ll make a fast start at Congaree on Thursday? Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be first round leader at the South Carolina course including one from the neighbouring state.
Dave says: “Doc Redman knows all about golf in this region having gone to famed Clemson University and he’ll have plenty of Tigers fans cheering him on.
“The 2017 US Amateur champion, who now lives in North Carolina, hasn’t been having a great season but showed some much better signs last month when finishing tied ninth in the Byron Nelson Championship.
“He’s since made cuts at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Memorial Tournament. What bumps him up our thinking is that he’s shown his best form in opening rounds.
“Redman burst out of the blocks with a 64 at the Byron Nelson to sit third after 18 holes and he also opened with 68s at the Valspar Championship and the Charles Schwab. Last July he was the FRL in another summer event, July’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.”
Dave’s bet: Back Doc Redman E/W @ 61.060/1
The Tom Fazio-designed Championship Course at Congaree Golf Club makes its PGA Tour debut this week so Andy Swales has the info and form stats.
Andy says: “Three of England’s top-five ranked pros are in attendance – Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood – as they contest their final ‘warm-up’ event ahead of the US Open at Torrey Pines.
“Yet it may be another Englishman, Ian Poulter, who could emerge as a stronger contender at Congaree.
“The 45-year-old has performed solidly over the past couple of months and, on a course no one has ever tested under ‘exam conditions’, Poulter’s scrambling skills could prove vital.
“Perhaps not as the eventual champion, but certainly from an each-way perspective, with Poulter teeing-up full of confidence having stood on the podium at the Colonial event two weeks ago.”
Steve goes in-depth with his preview of the Scandinavian Mixed and backs a player from neighbouring Denmark.
Steve says: “The weather forecast suggests that Saturday is going to be a blustery day and we might witness quite a bit of change on the leaderboard prior to Sunday’s finale. If the number of ladies progressing is as low as the market suggests it might be, that could be the day the hole lengths are altered, and an advantage is created.
“Keeping an eye on the early score should soon tell us whether there is an advantage and if there is, backing a few ladies a little nearer to the lead could create some decent positions going into Sunday.
“Caution is most definitely advised though. The unique nature of the event has resulted in poor market liquidity and that won’t improve on Sunday when the tournament concludes at the same time as England play Croatia in their opening Euro 2020 game.
“I don’t know enough about the ladies game to have a strong opinion on the contenders but given the 2020 LET Order of Merit winner, Emily Kristine Pedersen, is the 5/1 favourite with the Sportsbook to end the week as the Top Female Player, I was more than happy to take 50.049/1 about her winning the tournament.
“A general 33/1 chance on the High Street, the 25-year-old Dane won three events in-a-row in November and she arrives in Sweden on the back of a reasonable tied 23rd at the U.S Open last week.”
Back Emily Kristine Pedersen @ 50.049/1
Matt Cooper has three each-way selections for the Scandinavian Mixed with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places.
Matt says: “Jack Senior’s record book shows a real fondness for another modern heath/moorland layout – Spey Valley.
“That Highland track witnessed a Brooks Koepka victory in 2013 and, within days he also qualified for the Open at Sunningdale, saying that the Scottish warm-up had been ideal prep for one of the greatest heathland venues of all (Sam Walker won in Spey then Open qualified at Sunningdale 12 months earlier).
“Senior has always liked the Scottish resort, finishing fourth in 2014, fifth in 2017, T14th in 2018 and winning there in 2015.
“He is also yet another expert at Open Qualifying, although in his case via seaside courses – but that does reiterate that running golf is his thing, as you might expect of a Lytham Trophy winner in his amateur days.”
Matt’s bet: Jack Senior each-way @ 56.055/1
History will be made on Thursday when players from the European Tour and Ladies European Tour compete in the same tournament. Andy assesses the stats…
Andy says: “Among the female entries, there are plenty of golfers who have enjoyed a strong start to the Ladies European Tour (LET) year.
“One such player is Helsinki-born Sanna Nuutinen who has registered top-10 finishes in all three tournaments staged on Tour during 2021. Experienced South African Lee-Ann Pace, 40, is the standout player this week.
“The 10-time winner on Tour triumphed at last month’s South African Open, and arrives in Sweden after playing all four days of last week’s US Open in California.
“And Annika Sorenstam makes a competitive return to the LET, having retired from competition in 2008. The 10-time major winner, now 50, played a one-off tournament on the LPGA Tour earlier this year, finishing 74th, after rounds of 75-71-79-76.”