Horses for Courses: Palmetto Championship at Congaree

Not bad for a substitute teacher!!!

It has been a spring of high visibility in the Lowcountry as the PGA TOUR returns for the third time in three months to the state of South Carolina.

As we saw last week with Jon Rahm’s positive COVID-19 test, the pandemic is not fully behind us. This week provides another reminder as Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, will be the one-time replacement host for the RBC Canadian Open. Canadian authorities cancelled the event and the TOUR pivoted to Congaree to play host the week before the US Open at Torrey Pines.

RELATED: Power Rankings | Expert Picks

Tom Fazio’s 2017 design stretches 7,655 yards (Par-71; 36-35) on the former 3,000 acre rice plantation. The course has been described as homage to the great Australian Sand Belt tracks.

After 24 acres of fairway at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, there’s plenty of room to swing it off the tee this week as 58 acres of fairway are available. Errant shots can be penalized with oaks and pines shaping the holes plus 130 acres of sandy areas. Sharp edges and the absence of rough won’t stop balls from finding those areas so keeping the golf ball under control is paramount. With excellent drainage conditions it should be able to play firm and fast this week so the yardage on the card won’t seem as daunting.

The track is wall-to-wall Bermuda and Champion Bermuda is the choice on the greens. Averaging just over 6,000 square feet in size, the greens entering year four should be mature enough to handle any speed asked for this week. There’s no need for over-seeding this time of year either so those surfaces should be slick and true. Perched above the fairways, hitting them will be a premium this week. Less than accurate shots will fall off or run through and then scrambling becomes the next challenge.

Tom Fazio has already had plenty of time in the spotlight this spring. His work at Augusta National is well documented and so is his work at Quail Hollow Club. Stretching back to the fall, Shadow Creek in Las Vegas was “seen” for the first time by many as the one-time host of THE CJ CUP AT SHADOW CREEK. Although all courses are different, the design elements can translate.

This season we have also had five brand-new tracks added or being used as one-time replacements. I’ll also point out that most major championships are on tracks where the pros don’t get too many reps so I’m looking in that direction this week as well. I’ll have the top finishers from those events below instead of course data and history that we don’t have.

It’s not a perfect solution but it’s angle to explore this week!

On the line this week is a $7.3 million prize pool with $1.34 million and 500 FedExCup points for the winner.

Recent Fazio Performers This Season (entered this week)

THE CJ CUP2021 Masters TournamentWells Fargo Championship
Shadow Creek Golf ClubAugusta National Golf ClubQuail Hollow Club
Bentgrass GreensBentgrass GreensChampion Bermuda Greens
03 Tyrell Hatton12 Si Woo Kim03 Keith Mitchell
10 Harris English18 Tyrrell Hatton06 Luke List
12 Matt Fitzpatrick21 Harris English11 Satoshi Kodaira
12 Ian Poulter26 Ian Poulter11 Ben Martin
17 Mark Hubbard34 Matt Fitpatrick11 Scott Piercy
17 Si Woo Kim38 Martin Laird14 Tommy Fleetwood
21 Danny Lee46 Tommy Fleetwood18 Russell Knox
21 Robby Shelton 18 CT Pan
28 Tyler Duncan 18 JJ Spaun
28 Brooks Koepka 26 Pat Perez
28 Richy Werenski 26 JT Poston
42 Byeong-Hun An 26 Vince Whaley
45 Sungjae Im 26 Nick Taylor
45 Kevin Kisner 26 Kyle Stanley
51 JT Poston 37 Sean O’Hair
59 Tommy Fleetwood 37 Patrick Rodgers
61 Nick Taylor 37 Brian Stuard
75 Sung Kang 37 Richy Werenski
76 Alex Noren 43 Jason Dufner
  43 Harris English
  43 Peter Malnati
  43 Andrew Putnam
  43 Scott Stallings
  43 Jhonattan Vegas
  51 Kramer Hickok
  51 Hank Lebioda
  54 Hunter Mahan
  54 Seamus Power
  54 Sepp Straka
  58 Michael Gligic
  58 Patton Kizzire
  58 Matthew NeSmith
  58 Johnson Wagner
  58 Roger Sloan
  65 Jonas Blixt
  65 Bo Van Pelt
  72 Kevin Tway
  72 Jimmy Walker
  76 DJ Trahan
  77 Beau Hossler

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes Gained: Approach the Green
Rank Player
9Matthew NeSmith
11Tyrrell Hatton
16Brooks Koepka
26Cam Percy
27Russell Knox
29Dustin Johnson
30Hank Lebioda
32Scott Stallings
40Roger Sloan
42Harold Varner III
43Chez Reavie
51Patton Kizzire
53Camilo Villegas
61Chase Seiffert
63CT Pan
64Luke Donald
65John Huh
66Doc Redman
68Martin Laird
70Tyler Duncan
3Ian Poulter
4Scott Stallings
6Hank Lebioda
9Fabian Gomez
10Si Woo Kim
11Andrew Putnam
13Ben Martin
15Harris English
18Scott Piercy
19Bo Hoag
20Brice Garnett
24Pat Perez
26Aaron Baddeley
28Scott Brown
32Russell Knox
34Adam Schenk
36Vaughn Taylor
37John Huh
38Bill Haas
Strokes Gained: Putting
7Ian Poulter
8JT Poston
10Kris Ventura
12Patton Kizzire
14Chesson Hadley
16David Hearn
17Hunter Mahan
19Matt Fitzpatrick
21Austin Cook
24Andrew Putnam
25Brice Garnett
28Brooks Koepka
32Vaughn Taylor
34Rhein Gibson
36Harris English
37Ben Martin
38Sungjae Im
39Brandt Snedeker
41Kevin Kisner
42Ryan Armour
45Alex Noren
49Peter Malnati

New Course Performers (entered this week)

ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPVivint Houston OpenWGC – Concession AT&T Byron Nelson
Sherwood CC (Nicklaus)Memorial Park Houston (Doak)The Concession (Nicklaus)TPC Craig Ranch (Weiskopf)
BentgrassMini Verde BermudaTifEagle BermudaBentgrass
14 Kevin Kisner02 Dustin Johnson02 Brooks Koepka03 Patton Kizzire
17 Alex Noren05 Brooks Koepka11 Matt Fitzpatrick03 Scott Stallings
26 Matt Fitzpatrick05 Sepp Straka22 Tyrrell Hatton07 Joseph Bramlett
28 Tyler Duncan07 Tyrrell Hatton28 Sungjae Im07 Troy Merritt
28 Harris English11 Patton Kizzire37 Erik van Rooyen09 Seamus Power
28 Tyrrell Hatton15 Russell Knox41 Kevin Kisner09 Doc Redman
35 Byeong-Hun An15 Harold Varner III44 Tommy Fleetwood09 Jhonattan Vegas
35 Satoshi Kodaira20 JT Poston48 David Lipsky13 Bronson Burgoon
41 Mark Hubbard20 Erik van Rooyen54 Dustin Johnson13 Luke Donald
41 Sungjae Im24 Scott Brown59 Rafa Cabrera Bello13 Harris English
57 Tommy Fleetwood24 Austin Cook66 Harris English13 Satoshi Kodaira
57 Richy Werenski29 Charley Hoffman 17 Hank Lebioda
T63 Nick Taylor32 Padraig Harrington 17 Brandt Snedeker
72 Danny Lee32 Scott Piercy 21 Rafa Cabrera Bello
 32 Fabian Gomez 21 Alex Noren
 32 Troy Merritt 26 Ryan Armour
 38 Will Gordon 26 Ben Martin
 38 Satoshi Kodaira 26 Keith Mitchell
 38 Nate Lashley 26 Rob Oppenheim
 44 Brandt Snedeker 26 Sepp Straka
 44 Jhonattan Vegas 26 Vince Whaley
 48 John Huh 34 Scott Brown
 50 Greg Chalmers 34 Mark Hubbard
 50 Mark Hubbard 34 Adam Schenk 
 50 James Hahn 34 Roger Sloan
 50 Brice Garnett 39 Russell Knox
 50 Brian Stuard 39 Sean O’Hair
 58 Kramer Hickok 39 Pat Perez
 58 CT Pan 39 Brian Stuard
 61 Kevin Chappell 39 Johnson Wagner
 61 Doc Redman 47 Brice Garnett
 64 Kris Ventura 47 Michael Gligic
 64 Scott Harrington 47 Sung Kang
 67 Sean O’Hair 47 Nelson Ledesma
   47 Patrick Rodgers
   47 JJ Spaun

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