Congaree Golf Club is once again hosting a PGA Tour event, though this time it's not the Palmetto Championship but rather THE CJ CUP in South Carolina.
The last (and only) time we saw Congaree on the PGA schedule was in June of 2021, so we'll have a good bit of guesswork to do with how the course will play in October -- and if any of that matters for this week's field.
Speaking of that field, it's substantially better than what we saw in 2021. It's headlined by Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, and Jordan Spieth.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Congaree Golf Club Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,655 (long: ~320 yards longer than the average par 71)
Fairway Width: 51.4 yards (78th of 80 courses)
Average Green Size: 6,150 square feet (average: 100% of PGA Tour average)
Green Type: Bermuda
Past 5 Winning Scores: -11
Past 5 Cut Lines: +1
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (emphasis on Driving Distance), Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better, Adjusted Strokes Gained (to account for international players without PGA Tour samples)
Again, the lone event we've seen at Congaree came in June of 2021, the Palmetto Championship. Garrick Higgo won at -11 over six golfers at -10. It was clustered, and it was pretty tough relative to par.
Strokes gained: off the tee and driving distance were powerful predictors of success for that field. Seven of the 13 golfers who tied for 10th or better ranked inside the top 20 in distance for the week. It's a long course, and the fairways are wide. Let's rock.
Notably, the bunkers were very penal during the 2021 Palmetto Championship, so we could see an added emphasis on strokes gained: approach, too. Losing strokes with irons will correlate with hitting bunkers anyway.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
Notable finishes from the 2021 Palmetto Championship among golfers in this field:
Tyrrell Hatton (2nd), Matt Fitzpatrick (10th), Harris English (14th), Chez Reavie (14th), Seamus Power (19th), Sungjae Im (35th), Tommy Fleetwood (35th), Byeong-Hun An (52nd), and Andrew Putnam (67th).
Win Simulations for THE CJ CUP in South Carolina
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds this week at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for THE CJ CUP in South Carolina
Even at +700, the model is showing value on Rory McIlroy. He has the length to dominate here, and the form is there. He's the rightful favorite. Plus, in no-cut events, the elite tends to rise to the top due to lessened volatility.
There's also value on Scottie Scheffler (+1200), the number-one player in the world. He's another guy who should be a course fit, as well.
The best long shot is Taylor Montgomery (+5000), and I don't want to chase too many long shots in a field like this one.
First-round leader values include Scheffler (+2200), Im (+3100), and Hovland (+3100).
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for THE CJ CUP in South Carolina
All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | Golf betting odds: +700) - The early movement on McIlroy in the sportsbook department (+850 to +700) suggests he'll carry some heavy roster numbers, but there's just no way around the fact that he's the best golfer in the field and that he's set up very well for success at Congaree, given that he has elite distance (1st in the field) and ball-striking (2nd).
Scottie Scheffler ($11,500 | +1200) - I guess the luster is off of Scheffler, given that he's fourth in salary. Then again, I get it. He was T3 at the BMW Championship and T2 at the TOUR Championship to end the PGA Tour season. The Presidents Cup performance was iffy, but that's all we can really knock Scheffler for. He's the field leader in strokes gained: tee to green over the past 50 rounds and is 12th in driving distance.
Others to Consider:
Jon Rahm ($11,800 | +950) - Won the Open de España in his last start; putter is red hot; 4th in distance.
Shane Lowry ($10,600 | +2800) - 10th in approach play and 25th in distance; firm-and-fast setup is interesting for Lowry.
Max Homa ($10,400 | +3100) - Four golfers are top-17 or better in strokes gained: ball-striking and short game: Rory, Rahm, and Homa.
Aaron Wise ($9,900 | +4500) - Wise is long off the tee (20th), and he's 22nd in strokes gained: approach. The irons evaded him during his T64 at the Shriners Children's Open, but he's almost always a plus in that department. That means he should be locked into gaining strokes off the tee and with his approach play. Wise ended the Tour season with two top-15 results, as well, in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Mito Pereira ($9,200 | +5000) - I keep going back to Pereira, but it's hard not to like him at low salaries. Pereira was T4 at the Shriners and T45 at the ZOZO, so the recent form is there in terms of the new season. He's also 3rd in strokes gained: approach and 29th in distance. He's pretty easily the best value in the $9,000 range based on my combo model.
Others to Consider:
Taylor Montgomery ($9,600 | +5000) - The irons are a question mark (61st), but he nukes it off the tee (13th) and putts super well (1st).
Corey Conners ($9,500 | +4500) - An elite T2G player (6th) with middling distance (42nd); short-game (63rd) could lead to a bad outing, but the upside is obvious.
Cameron Davis ($9,200 | +6500) - Is 9th in distance and above-average in all four strokes gained stats.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,000 | +6500) - The putting for Grillo, for basically ever, has been a question mark. Lately, it's been good. Over the past 50 rounds, he ranks 32nd in this field in strokes gained: putting (0.22). The underlying splits are good, too, so we can feel pretty okay with the putting -- all things considered. That would get us access to the 25th-ranked tee-to-green golfer in the field.
Davis Riley ($8,700 | +8000) - Riley is 13th in strokes gained: ball striking, stemming primarily from his elite iron play (7th). The distance is better than average, so we can buy in for this week, too. The missed cut at the Fortinet came from bad putting. Then, he bounced back with a T19 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and then fell back to a T67 at the ZOZO Championship. The building blocks are there for another upside week, however.
Others to Consider:
Tommy Fleetwood ($8,900 | +5000) - Played here in 2021 (35th); might not gain strokes off the tee but is a plus everywhere else.
Sebastian Munoz ($8,300 | +8000) - Has world average distance and top-30 T2G play.
Kurt Kitayama ($7,600 | +11000) - Is 7th in distance and 35th in T2G; has a lot of spike potential due to around-the-green play.