A new course and new event on the PGA TOUR this week as Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina hosts the Palmetto Championship. The 2017 Tom Fazio-design has received rave reviews and will challenge the pros with its distance at nearly 7,700 yards on the par 71 layout. Firm and fast conditions with expansive basins of native sand that sweep up into the edges of fairways and greens are part of the test this week.
With just seven golfers from the top-35 of the world golf rankings competing, led by Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as the golf odds favorites (+800), there should be some longer shots that can challenge this week.
Here are three dark horse picks to win the Palmetto Championship and challenge for a top finishing position on Sunday.
3 Darkhorse Picks to Win Palmetto Championship
3. Luke List (+7500)
Luke List is top-5 on tour in driving distance and his sub-par accuracy may not be as damaging with more forgiving fairways at Congaree. His tee-to-green game is top-5 in this field over his last 50 rounds, and his ball-striking is even better. HIs approach play is top-15, and his proximity numbers hitting closer to the hole are good from mid-to-longer ranges. List's weakness of putting will determine his finish. That's let him down in three straight events, but was solid along with the rest of his game to finish top-10 at the Wells Fargo Championship on a tougher course last month.
2. Harold Varner III (+4000)
Harold Varner can be an even worse putter, and it's his flat stick and short game problems that continue to hold him back from better results. But, the North Carolina resident played well to finish 2nd in April at nearby Harbour Town, and his tee-to-green game is No. 2 in this field and he’s top-10 in a number of strokes gained stats over his last 36 rounds including off-the-tee, ball striking, around the green and total. His proximity to the hole numbers are good with his best from 150-175, and his overall game is in a good place to move up this week.
1. J.T. Poston (+9500)
J. T. Poston is being let go at much longer odds and fits a strong stat model this week with a custom fit using strokes gained: tee-to-green, approach, putting, ball striking, plus opportunities gained, 3-putt avoidance and distance proximity. He’s top-10 in this field over his last 50 rounds in strokes gained: total, and his putting is a real strength, especially on very fast greens. Poston's surface stats and most recent results have dropped him off the radar, but he finished T-26 last month on the course at Quail Hollow. Poston can outperform his long odds and could bounce back and contend.
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