The Daily Spin – Palmetto Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 9, 2021 06:45

The Daily Spin – Palmetto Championship

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RECAP

It is never fun when one of your Thursday morning golfers does an immediate swan dive into the rocks. Keegan Bradley had been so good these past few months that I did not hesitate to use him again last week, but he quickly blew up in the first round and though he showed a little fight on Friday, he eventually fell apart again with some silly mistakes and missed the cut by a significant margin. Typically, it is his putter that lets him down, but there were plenty of mistakes in all parts of his game last week and perhaps he was thinking more about trying to qualify for the US Open on Monday and Tuesday and just lost focus. Whatever the case, it was a disappointing result in what has otherwise been a strong 2021 for Bradley.

Some weeks it is nice to just be done in cash games on Friday and Emiliano Grillo made sure that I would not need to be checking my DK scores often over the weekend. He played well on Thursday and started with a second hole birdie on Friday, but then fell apart and posted five bogies over the next six holes and then caved in late again on the back nine, finishing with a double bogey to put the finishing touches on a round of 78. It was a disappointing result for Grillo who has played well this season and usually performs well at Muirfield.

The rest of my team made the cut, but most were fairly inconsequential. Charley Hoffman took a big step back. Hovland underperformed. Streelman and Oosty were both solid, but it was not nearly enough in a short field.

My biggest regret for the week was that I did not drop down in cash to play Kyle Stanley at 6200. He did not have an amazing finish, but at such a low salary, he would have really opened up my options up top, though it is likely that I still would have landed on Keegan, Grillo or both as I was very high on each of those players for cash games last week so it might not have mattered. In any case, a missed opportunity as I had capitalized on a similar situation the week prior with Vincent Whaley.

Course

  • Congaree Golf Club
  • Par 71
  • 7,600 yards
  • Bermuda greens

The course is listed at 7,600 yards, but I have heard estimates that it will play somewhere around 7,400 for the week. It should somewhat resemble Kiawah which is not that far away, though it is not likely to play nearly as tough. Off the tee the fairways seem to be pretty wide open with limited to non-existent rough which should give the bombers a nice advantage. The greens are large and Bermuda grass though I have read different things about how fast they will play. Given the large size of the greens, proximity play becomes very importance as well as lag putting as we are likely to see players having to cover a lot of ground even when hitting a green in regulation. There are a lot of long, waste bunkers throughout the course, similar to what players dealt with at Kiawah, but they should not be too problematic as players will be allow to ground the sand. Since I am not entirely sure how the course will play out, I used a mix of courses this week for comps. I think the other long, Bermuda green tracks work, the two other Tom Fazio designed courses and a couple of the courses with wide fairways, very little rough and large greens.

Course Comps

  • Concession
  • Quail Hollow
  • Corales
  • Sea Island
  • Albany
  • Kapalua
  • Houston

Field

This is likely the softest field that we will see all season. In addition to being played the week prior to a major, this event was originally scheduled to be the Canadian Open, but had to be rescheduled due to COVID travel restrictions in place up in Canada. This will essentially be a one off event held at this course so much of the field is unfamiliar with it. Further weakening the field is the fact that qualifying play for the US Open was held on Monday and Tuesday so many mid level players opted to skip Palmetto entirely while others that had intended to play here, but then qualified for the US Open opted to withdraw in order to rest and get out to Torrey Pines early. Since this event is being played in South Carolina and the US Open is out on the west coast next week, it creates lengthy travel in trying to play in both events. There are a couple of big names in the field for the tournament, but it is always really tricky to know what sort of mindset those players will be in coming into an event like this. I tried to look back over the history of Brooks and DJ this week in the week prior to a major tournament and it is a real mixed bag. Both have had some great finishes leading up to majors and both have also looked disinterested as well. These two are particularly vulnerable to looking past events like this one and on to a major tournament so you’ll really need to consider who you are paying up for this week. I think it will be another tournament where if they start out playing well, then either one could contend, but if they get off to slow starts then the pilots can get the jets ready to go on Friday night to be in San Diego before midnight. This is a week where I tend to tread a little lighter than normal with my bankroll. While I do think our edge is still there, the field is huge this week at 155 golfers so with the T65 cut rule in place and not a lot of middle or upper tier talent, there is likely to be a lot of volatility among which players make or miss the cut even at the upper price range. My gut tells me that there likely will not be very many 6/6 lineups getting to the weekend.

Weather

There is not too much to report on for weather this week. Winds are expected to run between 7-12 mph on Thursday. On Friday, the winds are expected to be a little gustier around 7-12 mph with gusts up to around 20 mph all day. I have not been able to spot much of an edge at this point for either wave so at this point, I will not have a heavy weighting to either side, though the weather could certainly change before lineup lock.

Local Connections

  • Dustin Johnson
  • Lucas Glover
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Doc Redman
  • Ben Martin
  • Matthew NeSmith
  • Bryson Nimmer

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Scrambling: 10%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Proximity: 10%

 

Cash Game Strategy

Sungjae Im 9700
Ian Poulter 9200
Patton Kizzire 9100
Alexander Noren 8900
Lucas Glover 8600
Harold Varner III 8500
Brandt Snedeker 8400
Doc Redman 8000
Rafael Cabrera Bello 7800
Vincent Whaley 7700
Ben Martin 7600
Keith Mitchell 8800
Jhonattan Vegas 8300
Luke List 7900
Matthew NeSmith 7800
Pat Perez 7700
Richy Werenski 7400
Adam Schenk 7100

 

Upper Tier

Sungjae Im – This is a tricky spot for me to recommend Sungjae as he’s hit a few pot holes with his recent play, but getting back to a course on Bermuda grass that favors his game should help to get the previously steady cut maker back on track. A longer view of his stats show that for the most part, his game has been good outside of some inconsistent iron play. This should be a course where he can get back on track and much of the rest of the field up top is not really catching my eye. Sungjae is still at the point where he will not overlook this tournament.

Ian Poulter – Poulter is not a real flashy player, but he’s solid when it comes to making the cut. He’s made the cut in five of his last six starts and finished 30th at Kiawah and 3rd at Colonial. He is generally accurate off the tee, but it is his short game that has really been exceptional as he ranks 1st among this field over the last 24 rounds in SGShort.

Patton Kizzire – This should be a course where Kizzire can continue his recent run of strong play. He’s had three Top-10 finishes in his last seven starts and it has been powered by incredible iron play and a hot putter. He ranks 1st in SGAPP and SGP over the last 24 rounds among this field. Usually, I worry about Kizzire’s wildness off the tee, but with the wider fairways, he should be in better position than usual after his drives this week so he should again be in good position to score.

 

Middle Tier

Alex Noren – Between 2015-2018, Noren won seven times on the European Tour and seemed poised to break through on the PGA Tour at some point. While he has not been able to lock up a win in the US yet, he’s been playing very well in recent weeks having made the Top-25 in five of his last six starts. Over the last 24 rounds among this field, Noren ranks 5th in SGTOT. If the field continues to soften up, this could be the week where we finally see him in contention again.

Lucas Glover – Glover went to school at Clemson so he’s one of a few ‘hometown’ favorites this week. He’s made the cut in nine of his last ten starts and has been striking the ball extremely well of late. He ranks 5th in SGTG and 4th in SGTOT over the last 24 rounds among this field and his putter has been really solid, a key in helping him to elevate his play.

Harold Varner III – HVIII should be a decent play this week. He’s got Carolina connection, albeit North Carolina, but from the region at least and should have some familiarity with this style of course. With the wide fairways, HVIII should be in good shape as he is a big hitter off the tee, but not known for his accuracy. Over the last 24 rounds, he ranks 4th in SGTG and 6th in SGTOT. He’s played well in Florida this year and also looked good in both SC events, finishing in 2nd place at the Heritage. He’ll blow up from time to time, but he does have six Top-25 finishes this season which is solid for this field.

Brandt Snedeker – Though he was not great over the weekend at Colonial, Sneds has been playing well in recent starts and looks like he might be finding his form at just the right time. He ranks 10th over the last 24 rounds among this field in SGTOT and his irons have been much better during that time to complement his always strong short game.

 

Lower Tier

Vincent Whaley – Whaley has been our premier value play to make the cut and he’s done it with some upside. He’s now made nine straight cuts, most of which have been Top-30 finishes. Over the last 24 rounds among this field, he ranks 14th in SGTG and 8th in SGTOT. This is a great price for Whaley, especially if the field drops off before lineup lock on Thursday.

Pat Perez – Pat Perez has made five straight cuts and eight of his last nine overall. He ranks extremely well on the comp course tool this week gaining over 1.5 strokes per round over sixteen career starts. Over the last sixteen rounds, he ranks 17th in SGTG and 11th in SGTOT. He’s also much better on Bermuda grass than other surfaces by over .2 strokes per round.

Ben Martin – Quietly, Ben Martin has been playing well with strong finishes at Puntacana (9th), Wells Fargo (11th) and Byron Nelson (26th). Over the last 24 rounds among this field, Martin ranks 26th in SGTG and 13th in SGTOT. He’s been playing good golf going back to the Korn Ferry Tour last summer and into the fall so this could be the type of event where someone like Martin comes seemingly out of nowhere to get the win.

 

GPP

CORE – 25-40%

Brooks Koepka 11100
Sungjae Im 9700
Ian Poulter 9200
Patton Kizzire 9100
Alexander Noren 8900
Lucas Glover 8600
Harold Varner III 8500
Brandt Snedeker 8400
Doc Redman 8000
Rafael Cabrera Bello 7800
Vincent Whaley 7700
Ben Martin 7600

 

Brooks Koepka – I had the funds available for either DJ or Brooks this week and reluctantly ended up with Brooks. If you like, you can spread the funds to more players in the high value range and skip the upper range entirely, but Brooks makes for a good GPP play as his game should either translate to a complete whiff or him being in contention. He looked good at Kiawah and has had a couple of weeks off to rest up. His rolling stats put him at the top of the field over the last 16 rounds and he’s a better putter than DJ on Bermuda so he gets the edge for me this week.

Doc Redman – Let’s take a shot with Redman who is a Clemson alum and has started to turn his game around lately after a rough stretch. He’s made the cut in five of his last six starts with two Top-20 finishes. He’s accurate off the tee, his irons have been really strong and he ranks 11th in SGP over the last twelve rounds among this field.

Rafa Cabrera Bello – Rafa has now made three cuts in a row which is not much, but just enough of a sign of life for me to pay attention. Over the last 12 rounds among this field, he ranks 10th in SGTG and 12th in SGTOT. At one point in his career, he was one of the most trustworthy players when it came to making the cut on a regular basis. If he’s found his game, this is a good price for him in this weak field.

 

SECONDARY – 15-25%

Keith Mitchell 8800
Jhonattan Vegas 8300
Russell Knox 8200
Scott Stallings 8000
Luke List 7900
Matthew NeSmith 7800
Sepp Straka 7700
Pat Perez 7700
Richy Werenski 7400
Adam Schenk 7100

 

TERTIARY – 0-15%

David Lipsky 7400
Peter Uihlein 7300
Bronson Burgoon 7200
Henrik Norlander 7100
Hank Lebioda 6900
Xin-jun Zhang 6800
Michael Gligic 6500

[/membership]

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 9, 2021 06:45

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