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PGA DFS Picks: The Palmetto Championship

In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a monster payday at the Palmetto Championship and helping you find some winning teams!

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Full but weak field (because of U.S. Open next week at Torrey Pines) of 156 golfers
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 65 and ties play the weekend
  • First-time (and one-time) PGA Tour stop – replacing Canadian Open this year due to COVID restrictions
  • The course: Congaree Golf Club (Ridgeland, SC)
    • > 7,600 yards, Par 71 – Tom Fazio design (2018)
    • New course in lower SC near Georgia border
    • Bermuda Greens with runoff areas and tight chipping lies, wider fairways that could help longer hitters a bit
    • Flat course with natural hazards and sandy areas, not many trees or heavy rough
    • Long but playable, so low scores are possible
    • Layout resembles Ross’s Pinehurst No. 2 but some Fazio course comps can be found (Seaside Course at Sea Island, Conway Farms)
  • Focus Stat Categories (with no data to draw from, standard areas of ball-striking focus make sense): SG: Approach, SG: OTT, SG: Tee to Green, SG: Putting (Bermuda), SG: Around the Green, Par 4s: 450-500,

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,400) – While DJ has not played his best golf lately, he’s a South Carolina guy on a course down near the Cackalacka/Georgia border, he’s playing a new course with coastal/links characteristics that he seems to prefer, and he’s the most talented golfer in the field (with Brooks Koepka a close second). His SG:APP and SG:OTT numbers are still in the Top 30 on the tour and he’s No. 13 in SG: T2G. If DJ can keep the putter going on what should be a fast course, there’s no reason he can’t lap the field and run away with this tournament.

Brooks Koepka (DK $11,100) – Koepka seems to be recovered from most of his knee woes and is having a great time playfully feuding with Bryson DeChambeau, but I still can’t trust him at this price in cash games. He’s totally fine for GPPs, but without too many quality value options below the $7K mark (don’t worry – we’ve got a couple in there for you), he might not make as many rosters as you’d anticipate with such a dramatic difference in ability between the top two and the rest of the field. I’d steer clear of overexposure with him, but he’ll be mixed into a few of my GPP lineups for sure.

Matt Fitzpatrick (DK $10,400) – It’s going to be tough to find anybody we feel safe rostering in the $9K to $10K range, but Fitzpatrick makes for a fine GPP play on a course where he should feel at home despite the lack of history. He likes these putting surfaces and these speeds, and he’s one of several English golfers who should be in contention this week. His SG: OTT and putting numbers are excellent, and like Joel and Sia, I feel like there’s progression coming in his SG: APP metrics.

Tommy Fleetwood (DK $9,500) – Fleetwood is a risky play this week, and he’s not a guy I’d normally consider given his current mediocre form. His best 2021 result so far is a T5 at the WGC Match Play event, with his best stroke play finish a T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With no PGA tour victories to his credit in his young career, he shouldn’t be too popular. That said, he’s going to win on the PGA Tour eventually (just like Fitzpatrick will), and a weak field event on a links-style course like this could be the breakthrough.

Also consider: Tyrrell Hatton, Harris English (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Ian Poulter (DK $9,200) – Sharps are loving Poulter’s recent form and while he’s proven to be maddeningly inconsistent from week-to-week in the past, there’s not a lot of competition in this range. The fourth English golfer I’ve mentioned (and that doesn’t even count the guy actually named English), he’s the best in that group with the putter (7th on the PGA Tour in SG: Putting) and riding a hot streak heading into an unknown venue – a good sign when we don’t have a lot of data to work from.

Patton Kizzire (DK $9,100) – I don’t mind paying a premium for Kizzire on a course where he should play really well. I love playing the big galoot on courses with wider fairways where he doesn’t have as much trouble keeping it in the short stuff, and he’s made significant improvements in his approach game to match his elite putting metrics. I’ll be overweight on Kizzire in all formats and he’ll be a core play on my single-entry builds.

Lucas Glover (DK $8,600) – He’ll likely be chalky, as the former Clemson Tiger is actually one of Congaree’s “Professional Ambassadors” – and someone with intimate knowledge of the course and its pitfalls. This course is also seemingly tailor-made to fit his strengths. The price is okay and for that reason, I’ll likely be ahead of the field in GPPs and he’ll be a core play on my single-entry builds.

Harold Varner (DK $8,500) – Once again, I’m with Sia in hating when Varner gets chalky, because that’s precisely when he seems to disappoint. Still, he’s from SC and shouldn’t have too many problems scoring well at Congaree. His T2 at the RBC Heritage points to an ability to notch a top 5 when his game comes together, and the price seems fair considering his upside in a field of this lesser quality.

Brandt Snedeker (DK $8,400) –He’s not the best ball-striker (or even a good one), but Sneds is a putting demon and the pressure could be off a bit with his driver since it’ll be easier for him to hit fairways. The tour veteran has made every cut since the Players Championship (with three Top 20s), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him threatening the lead this weekend. He’s always a bit risky, but that risk is mitigated a bit at Congaree.

Martin Laird (DK $7,800) – Laird isn’t a super exciting play, but he grades out well for this golf course (at least for what we think we know about this golf course) and he’s made seven of his last eight cuts. The wily Scot was T23 at the PGA Championship, and has a solid all-around game T2G, but does struggle with the putter. That might not be as much of a problem on these fast surfaces and green complexes. He’s worth a look in GPPs.

Vincent Whaley (DK $7,700) – Whaley makes sense in all PGA DFS formats, and he’s one of the safer plays once we get under $8K. Since a missed cut at the Waste Management Open, Whaley has put together a pretty impressive string of made cuts (T50-T15-T36-T28-T34-T29-T26-T26-T20). While he didn’t appear at either of 2021’s major championships, he’s not tanking anybody’s PGA DFS lineups at this price point if he continues to grind out Sunday paychecks for himself.

Ben Martin (DK $7,600) – Martin has sloughed off the nagging back problems that stymied his career in 2017-18, when he was forced to take a leave of absence from the PGA Tour, and he’s another Clemson alum from South Carolina who’s seen a resurgence in 2021. He missed the cut at the RBC Heritage but has posted four top 35 finishes (including a T11 at the Wells Fargo and a T9 at the Corales Puntacana) among his last five tour starts.

Also consider: Garrick Higgo, Alex Noren, Kevin Kisner, Jhonattan Vegas (GPP), Scott Stallings (Cash) Luke List (GPP), Pat Perez (GPP), Sepp Straka, Rory Sabbatini

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Bo Hoag (DK $7,500) – Hoag missed six straight cuts in March and April before squeezing into the weekend at the birdie-forward AT&T Byron Nelson and finishing T13 at the Memorial last week. Still – that’s a good trend going into a golf course that plays to his strengths and where there are no sure things. That uncertainty should keep the masses off him at this elevated price, and he’s a perfectly sound risk-reward upside play at the Palmetto Championship.

Bronson Burgoon (DK $7,200) – I love deploying Burgoon on venues that could turn into birdie fests, and he’s a bigger hitter who may have been waiting to play this course, since his last start was a T13 at the Byron Nelson. He’s got plenty of PGA DFS bust potential as well, but the looming latent boom is what I’m focusing on, as he’ll come in at low ownership and be a fine value play in GPPs.

Joseph Bramlett (DK $7,100)Bramlett collected the second top 10 of his PGA Tour career at the Byron Nelson, racking up 20 total birdies and two eagles. He’s probably not safe for cash games or single-entry, but I love the value in large-field GPPs and I’ll be coming in around 20% ownership in my 20-max entries.

Hank Lebioda (DK $6,900) – Hammerin’ Hank checks a lot of the SG:APP boxes this week and fared well (T13) at the Byron Nelson, his most PGA Tour recent appearance. His last two starts before that yielded a T13 (Valspar) and a T51 (Wells Fargo), but he’s a volatile golfer who might be hard to trust in single-entry. Sia likes the sneakiness and I don’t disagree; I’ll have plenty of shares in large-field and 20-max GPPs, though.

John Pak (DK $6,900) – The 22-year-old Pak is playing in his first event as a pro, and it’s a debut where the field doesn’t have any advantage in terms of course history. That puts him squarely on my radar as a solid unknown bargain GPP play and a guy I’ll have lots of exposure to. He’s got plenty of game and the college accolades that go along with it, and we’ve seen players of his pedigree make the switch to professional golf without much of a learning curve. Giddyup.

Chesson Hadley (DK $6,700) – Hadley is an excellent putter who takes advantage of scoring opportunities – which really interests me at this price point. He’s had his struggles in 2021 but seems like a poor man’s Snedeker who can get hot with the flastick and get in the mix. At such a huge discount on a venue where he could easily find his game and make a run on the weekend, I’m buying.

More value golfers to consider: Seamus Power (GPP), Erik van Rooyen, Richy Werenski, Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy, Tom Lewis, Henrik Norlander, Roger Sloan, Cole Hammer, Chez Reavie, Will Gordon

Longshot Punts PGA DFS (DK $6,500 and under):

Aaron Baddeley (DK $6,500) – The $6,500 and under range at a weak-field event is usually bad, but this group doesn’t have a whole lot of upside. Baddeley, however, with his solid putter and grinder mindset, seems like a viable punt play. Nobody down here is worth more than 5-10% exposure in GPPs, but I’m hitching my wagon to the Aussie as one of the guys I’ll use at that limited rate.

Kristoffer Ventura (DK $6,400) – Once again, I’ll include Ventura considering just how good he is with the putter, a factor that could weigh more heavily this week on a course that not too many of these guys have played. I’ll stay south of 10% in my GPP exposure, but I do like his upside this week.

Additional GPP punts: Hudson Swafford, Brian Gay, Chris Baker, Bo Van Pelt, William McGirt

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