Palmetto Championship Each-Way Tips: Poulter can solve Congaree puzzle

England's Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter can flourish at Congaree

After last week's headline tip, Patrick Cantlay, took victory at 20/1, Dave Tindall seeks more profits with three tips for the new PGA Tour event at Congaree...

"Poulter's 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."

Back Ian Poulter E/W @ 41.040/1

Main Bet: Ian Poulter each-way @ 41.040/1

With COVID-19 making it too problematical to host the Canadian Open, the PGA Tour heads to South Carolina for a one-off replacement event - the Palmetto Championship.

Given that the tournament takes place just a week before the US Open, it's attracted some big names even though this will be a very different test to Torrey Pines.

So what do we know? Congaree Golf Club is a lengthy 7,655-yard par 71 designed by Tom Fazio and has Bermuda greens. It's situated not too far from Hilton Head. Plenty of the yardage is gobbled up by two very long par 5s and it'll likely play shorter than its maximum length.

John McNeely, the Managing Director for Congaree GC, says: "We have generous landing areas off the tee. But up around the greens, you'd better miss the ball to certain places."

There's also an awful lot of sand. McNeely adds: "We really don't have rough to speak of. It's unusual to have a course where you don't really have much rough. The sand is kind of our rough.

"The successful guys are going to manage and miss the ball to the proper place and do a good job of pitching."

It's ranked 39th in Golf Digest's annual list of America's Greatest Golf Courses so is clearly a good one.

Lucas Glover, who is a Professional Ambassador for Congaree, adds that the course could suit either short or long hitters but being able to shape the ball and having a bit of imagination helps.

The puzzle is made harder by lots of this week's field taking part in US Open qualifying. Due to rain at one of the sites, Ohio, many won't finish until Tuesday so that could lead to plenty of withdrawals.

In short, it's not an easy week!

Overall, it sounds like a place where a some craft rather than just bomb and gouge is the requirement so I'll start out with a punt on Ian Poulter.

Hilton Head may not be a bad starting point and the Englishman has made all 11 cuts there, reeling off four top 15s in his last five visits.

He's 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.

Poulter's 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.

Next Best: C.T. Pan each-way @ 71.070/1

At 70/1 I'll take a punt on C.T. Pan.

Again, some regional form comes into the equation as the man from Chinese Tapei won the 2019 Heritage at Hilton Head by a shot.

That was the 29-year-old's only win so far on the PGA Tour so South Carolina clearly holds some happy memories for him.

"My wife and I, we love this place. We love coming back here," he said of Hilton Head last year so hopefully he'll enjoy the different vibe here too.

Pan, a former World Amateur No.1, represented the International Team in the 2019 Presidents Cup. Interestingly, that was at Royal Melbourne and Fazio's design at Congaree certainly nods to those sandbelt courses.

That's good news for Poulter who has an excellent record in Australia.

It was a pretty good week for Pan at the Presidents. He won two of his three matches among all the sandy stuff and a check of the PGA Tour's Sand Save stats shows him a healthy 41st, i.e. in the top 20%.

He'll enjoy the room off the tee at Congaree and is a good wedge player so generally comes across as a good fit.

As for current form, Pan was third at the Honda Classic in March, tied 18th at Wells Fargo, tied 32nd at Colonial and also made the cut at Memorial.

At the Honda he said: "I always play better the second half of the season. Last year my health was clearly sub-par. It wasn't great, so, not COVID-related, but just, just in general, just everything was kind of sub-par and just happy to get it back and my game feels great."

I couldn't find him in US Open qualifying so hopefully he'll come here fresh and can thrive on a course that should be in his wheelhouse.

Final Bet: Camilo Villegas each-way @ 101.0100/1

Again, I'm trying to join the dots here but there could be scope for having a punt on Camilo Villegas at a three-figure price.

The Colombian has shown some decent form again this year and, sparked by a tied eighth at the Honda Classic, he reeled off four top 25s in five starts.

That included a tied 11th at the Valspar. Those two events are reminders that he's one to watch on Bermuda greens and he ranked third for SG: Putting on those surfaces at Hilton Head where he was tied 25th.

As for the sand element, there are some positives there too. He ranks 16th for Sand Saves this season and going back through his record he was a regular visitor to Australia.

Villegas boasts a tied 10th at Royal Melbourne and a tied eighth at Victoria Golf Club - another sandbelt track.

Add in three top 10s at Hilton Head and I have a sneaky feeling that Villegas will relish this test compared to the general sameness of needing to blast it long on perfectly-manicured PGA Tour courses.

The stats support that idea. His weaknesses are driving and putting. At Congaree he'll have room off the tee and he putts much, much better on Bermuda.

He's 26th Around The Greens, 53rd on Approach and, as mentioned, one of the best bunker players.

Again, he appears to have skipped US Open qualifying so 100/1 seems a decent wager given the various positives.

A cursory mention of the top of the leaderboard: Dustin Johnson is the 15/2 favourite ahead of 8/1 Brooks Koepka while English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick come next at 14s and 16s respectively.

They all have a chance because of who they are but I don't want to be taking such short prices at a venue with no past course form.

Dave's 2020/2021 P/L

Staked: £1020.00
Returned: £2002.12
P/L: +£982.12

2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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