It always feels good in golf when you’re betting the week after picking the winner, but I also realize I was extremely fortunate that Patrick Cantlay won the Memorial. Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw from the event with a six-shot lead after the third round because of a positive COVID-19 test. Rahm would’ve had to completely blow up to lose the event on Sunday, which seems unlikely after he put together a marvelous performance on Saturday before hearing the bad news. I ended up betting Collin Morikawa when he and Cantlay entered a two-man playoff to guarantee a profit. It’s something I do every time I bet on a player in a two-man playoff and I wasn’t going to change that strategy this past week.
Now the PGA TOUR heads to South Carolina for the Palmetto Championship. This is a new event played at a course that hasn’t hosted a professional tournament. This event was created because the Canadian Open had to be replaced on the schedule due to border restrictions.
Congaree Golf Club is the course for this week and the official scorecard for the event indicates it’s a long par 71 course at 7,655 yards. This is also a week before a U.S. Open across the country in California, so it’s one of the weaker fields in recent memory. I usually have a lighter betting card the week before the major, as I expect the top players to use this event as a tuneup.
Note: I will tweet out my official bets when I place them before the event. I discussed my early golf thoughts and other sports betting topics on Stadium’s newest podcast, Sharp Lessons. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Here is how I’m approaching the betting board this week and my early thoughts for the U.S. Open:
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka headline the field. I have no interest in betting either player because these are two guys that might just be working on certain aspects for their games before they head to the San Diego area for the U.S. Open.
The name that stands out for me right behind the top two players is Tyrrell Hatton. I was very excited about betting on Hatton at the Valsapar Championship at the end of April, but he withdrew before the event with a positive COVID test. Instead of betting on Hatton before this tournament, I will likely wait until after the first round to see if I can get a better number on the Englishman.
There are some other names that interest me, but their numbers are too short to consider betting on. Instead I’m going to target longer shots that I have targeted in betting and fantasy games recently and hope I get lucky.
Garrick Higgo (45/1)
This is a real gamble on a player with a lot of upside. Higgo just turned 22 and has recently won two events in the Canary Islands on the European Tour. He made the cut at the PGA Championship in his first event on American soil. Maybe he was just beating up on bad fields in Europe, but I’m willing to take a risk on talent.
Keith Mitchell (45/1)
Mitchell is a big hitter who has some good results recently, including a tied for third place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship. That was played at a course that is similar in length to this week and he putts his best on bermuda greens.
Martin Laird (85/1)
Laird had a successful week last time he played in South Carolina at last month’s PGA Championship. He finished tied for 23rd, but led the field in strokes gained approach. Maybe he can find that iron play at another long course and putt like he did last week at the Memorial.
Early U.S. Open preview
I’ll be away next week, so I wanted to share my early U.S. Open thoughts. The tournament will be played at Torrey Pines in San Diego. The PGA TOUR makes an annual stop at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open in late January so there’s some course history to look at even though the USGA will certainly setup the course to challenge the players.
Jon Rahm has established himself as an 8/1 favorite to win the event. His play through three rounds at the Memorial justifies his price and being on a tier above the other top players. Rahm is still seeking his first major, but has played some of his best golf of his career in California. He recorded his first PGA TOUR win as a 22-year-old at Torrey Pines in 2017. There’s a lot to like with Rahm, but it’s not my style to bet on a player in majors at the price. I’ll monitor to see if there’s a drift in his price throughout the week and after the tournament begins.
The only U.S. Open ticket I have so far is Tony Finau at 40/1. Finau also has a strong track record of finishes in the state of California, but is still seeking a break-through win. He lost in a playoff at the Genesis Invitational last time he played in Southern California earlier this year. He also has a top-five finish in all four majors and has finished in the top 10 of a major 10 times in 20 attempts. It’s just a matter of time for Finau, who has finished in the top six or better in four of the last five years at the Farmers Insurance Open.