The Palmetto Championship First-Round Leader Tips: Redman can race to top spot

American Doc Redman
Doc Redman can fly out of the traps

The PGA Tour heads to a new venue, Congaree, and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at the South Carolina course...

"Crowds are also back so I'm going to go for a trio of local players who should be spurred on and will be used to the very humid weather conditions."

Back Doc Redman E/W @ 61.060/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Congaree Golf Club: It's going to be hot and humid, with temperatures peaking in the mid-90s in the afternoon although it could actually feel hotter than that. There's also the chance of rain and perhaps the wind is just a little up in the afternoon although it's only around 8mph.

First-round leader history at Congaree:

None!

Strategy: The complete lack of course form gives us an immediate problem so we're looking to the weather to provide an edge.

Here's some Thursday comments from local man Bryson Nimmer, who says he's played the course around half-a-dozen times.

"We have got a lot of rain in the area recently, as everybody in the area noticed, and this place is usually super firm, super fast, greens are very, very quick, and it's kind of what makes the place the way it is. So it's very different right now, soft conditions, greens are spinning a lot more. I wouldn't be surprised at all if come Thursday it's firm and fast, but right now it's pretty soft, so we're getting ready for that."

As for the weather, he adds: "It's hot. Everyone around here knows, June, July in South Carolina is hot, humid, sticky. I mean, it's going to be a test for a lot of these guys. I already heard it on the range, guys hit balls for 30 minutes and they got to go take a break. It's just different. I love it."

Crowds are also back so I'm going to go for a trio of local players who should be spurred on and will be used to the very humid weather conditions. Perhaps the morning starters have a slight edge so I'll go for a 2:1 early wave split.

Put trust in Doc

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.

A couple of other things to note. He's not the best driver of a ball but Congaree has ample room off the tee.

There's also sand everywhere - course designer Tom Fazio gave a nod to the Aussie sandbelt courses when designing the par 71 - and Redman is a fine bunker player. He's 27th in Sand Saves.

Finally, shot shaping is a plus here and that will suit him. Redman showed those skills with middle rounds of 66-65 at another local track, Harbour Town, last June.

An early tee-time of 07:11 gives him a chance to attack a likely softer course so have a bet at 60/1.

Make it Martin

Ben Martin has the full house of local connections.

He lives in nearby Greenville, was born in Greenwood and, like Redman, is also a Clemson Tiger.

Also like Redman, his season was looking flat but he made the top 10 in the Corales Puntacana and two May starts produced tied 11th in the Wells Fargo Championship and tied 26th in the Byron Nelson.

In the latter, Martin was quick out of the gate with a 65 and he was also in the top 20 after day one at Wells Fargo.

The 33-year-old also seems to have a habit of starting fast in his native South Carolina.

In 10 appearances there across PGA Tour and Korn Ferry events, he's held one first-round lead, been in the top five twice and also twice ended tied ninth after the opening lap.

With his longer game showing improvement, hopefully this strong putter (37th for SG: Putting) can roll in some early birdies and give us a run at 66/1.

He's an afternoon starter at 13:32.

NeSmith can nail low one

I'm add a second morning starter and take Matthew NeSmith. The 27-year-old tees off at 08:39.

NeSmith lives in South Carolina and went to the University of SC.

As with Redman and Martin, I'm hoping he's played Congaree before but, even if not, he'll be attuned to these extreme June weather conditions.

NeSmith has already held a first-round lead this season after firing a 63 on day one of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He's been patchy since but I'm encouraged by his history of round-one scores in South Carolina events: two 66s and a 68 in four attempts.

NeSmith ranks a highly-impressive 9th in SG: Approach this season so I'm hoping he'll find some familiarity in these Bermuda greens as his putting stats aren't good.

He has at least recorded positive SGP numbers in two of his last four events and they can all knock them in on any given day.

Give him a go at 60/1.

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