I’ve been betting golf for quite awhile, and this was the only time where having the second best player on the course paid off for me.
We cashed Patrick Cantlay at the Memorial after his playoff win over Collin Morikawa. It came about thanks only to Jon Rahm’s positive COVID test, which forced him to withdraw after building a six-shot lead through 54 holes. Rahm was at least -1000 on every book through three rounds and pretty much had the thing wrapped up.
We’ve seen that lead disintegrate on occasion. Notably, Dustin Johnson blew the same lead in China in 2017 and Greg Norman lost that exact cushion to Nick Faldo at the 1996 Masters. But those instances are few and far between.
So we’ll take the money and live in fear of whatever vengeance the golf betting gods have in store for the future.
Now we’re on to a tournament we’ve never had before on a course we’ve never seen before at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina. This event takes the place of the Canadian Open on the schedule, which couldn’t be held because of COVID travel restrictions in the country. With no history here and a major coming up next week, this seems like the time to get a winner from out of nowhere.
The Tom Fazio design can stretch out to over 7,700 yards for a par 71. The course has basically no rough. It’s mostly sand, marshland or trees waiting if players get wild off the tee.
Fazio has a couple of designs we’ve seen this year, including Quail Hollow, Corales and Shadow Creek, but none of those courses really seem like what we’ll encounter this week.
If the bombers can keep it in play, they’ll definitely have the edge this week. But they won’t be able to just spray it widely, or could find tree or water troubles.
I’ll instead keep my focus on guys who tend to stay out of trouble and tend to catch hot putters on Bermuda.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka opened as favorites, but Johnson is listed at +775 on DraftKings as of Monday night with Koepka at +925. Johnson is riding a rare rough patch in form, having failed to register a top-10 in his last eight starts and coming off a missed cut at the PGA Championship last month. Koepka is in much better form but has been known to mail in these lower-tiered events with a major looming.
The only other guys below +2000 are Tyrrell Hatton at +1400 and Matthew Fitzpatrick +1800, both at bet365. It’s been a few months since either finished inside the top 20. Hatton has only played the PGA Championship in the last six weeks, where he finished 38th, while Fitzpatrick has missed the cut in two of his last three starts. Nothing suggests either will be super focused on this event either and given the form of both, they don’t do much for me in the outright market.
Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Harris English close out the range.
If Im was in any kind of form, I’d consider him at +2000, but he’s missed five of his last eight cuts. Fleetwood hasn’t been seen much recently, only making one cut in three starts over the past two months. English hasn’t really done much either since cashing in a win in Hawaii to start the year. He’s finished inside the top 20 just once in four months.
There really isn’t much this week that catches my eye. But we’ll start here with Harold Varner III at +5000 on PointsBet. Varner is the type of guy who can do everything well, but it’s never lined up for him all in the same week. In the past four months, he’s had events where he’s gained at least four strokes off the tee, on approach, around the greens and with the putter. It’s really just a matter of time before things all click for him in the same week. The North Carolina native should be relatively comfortable in the state’s southern neighbor. He was 2nd his last start there at Harbour Town.
|[Bet Harold Varner III at PointsBet.]|
We’ll also go with Doc Redman at +7500 on DraftKings. Redman is another guy with some local ties, playing college golf at Clemson. He’s gained on approach and with the putter the last three tournaments and got a taste of contention a few weeks back at the Byron Nelson. The driver has been having some trouble lately, but this course appears to be a little more forgiving off the tee than Colonial or Muirfield Village were.
|[Bet Harold Varner III at PointsBet.]|
I’ll close out here with Luke List at +8000 on bet365. List’s two best results the past nine months have come on Fazio designs, sixth at Quail Hollow and eighth at Corales, so that’s the angle with him. He’s usually going to strike the ball well, but we never know with the putter. But we’ll take a chance with the bomber on a 7,600-yard track.
|[Bet Luke List at bet365.]|
It’s probably not the worst idea just to pepper this range with a few guys given all the unknowns this week.
I’ll keep it fairly limited down here though with Hank Lebioda at 150/1 on PointsBet. He’s gained over 10 strokes on his approach shots over the past two events combined, so the iron game appears to be in a good spot. When he’s got the putter going with that iron play, it’s led to a couple of top 20s in his last three starts.
|[Bet Hank Lebioda at PointsBet.]|
We’ll close with a flier on Wilco Nienaber at 175/1 on DraftKings. Wilco is another guy who just bombs it. He also got a win on the Challenge Tour last month, so the game is in a spot where he could be successful if this long course suits his eye. He’s at least worth a look as a top-20 play.
|[Bet Wilco Nienaber at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]|
The Palmetto Card
- Harold Varner +5000 (.66 units)
- Doc Redman +7500 (.44 units)
- Luke List +8000 (.41 units)
- Hank Lebioda +15000 (.22 units)
- Wilco Nienaber +17500 (.19 units)
Total Stake: 1.92 units