Palmetto Championship: Johnson Desperately Seeking Confidence Boost

The inaugural Palmetto Championship is this week's stop on the PGA Tour and Dustin Johnson will be desperate to strike in his home state of South Carolina.

Dustin Johnson will hope to strike at the Palmetto Championship.

Dustin Johnson tees up in his home state of South Carolina this week hoping to find some form before the third Major of the season. 

The inaugural Palmetto Championship provides the world number one with a warm-up spin before next week’s US Open at Torrey Pines, California. 

Johnson is the 8/1 Palmetto favourite – a price based on his status and class rather than anything he has been doing on a golf course lately. 

Since winning the Saudi International in the first week of February, DJ has performed terribly by his high standards, and Jon Rahm was looking set to reclaim the world-number-one ranking until Covid ended his Memorial title charge last week. 

Johnson missed the cut in the Masters in April, then in the US PGA Championship last month, so self-belief must be draining from his system. He has never won a PGA Tour event in South Carolina – this would be a fantastic time to get off the mark.

Koepka Popular After Kiawah Island Effort

Brooks Koepka, unlike his market rival Dustin Johnson, can draw upon confidence gained from the US PGA Championship. 

Koepka, 9/1 for Palmetto glory, struck his ball well throughout the Kiawah Island examination and gave Phil Mickelson most to worry about. 

That runner-up effort in South Carolina will be enough to convince many punters that the Palmetto is at Koepka’s mercy, but the US PGA delivered a significant dent in his putting confidence. 

Countless missed tiddlers from Koepka relieved pressure on Mickelson and the other US PGA contenders, so his Palmetto backers are trusting that he has fixed his putting stroke since Kiawah. 

Koepka has been struggling for full fitness in the wake of knee surgery, so punters also need to factor that into their calculations, while his record in regulation PGA Tour events must be noted as well. 

The 31-year-old tends to get his game in peak shape for the Majors, but can struggle for focus in the lesser events. 

Will he be busting a gut for birdies at Congaree Golf and Country Club over the next four days? Or is he just going through the motions, cleaning off some rust before gunning for a US Open hat-trick next week?

Mitchell May Upstage the Bigger Names

Most of the early spotlight will fall on Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka at Congaree, but by the end of the week it might be 40/1 chance Keith Mitchell who takes over as the main act. 

Mitchell has been swinging extremely well in the last few weeks, starring in the Zurich Classic pairs event, then finishing third in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. 

That Quail Hollow effort is particularly noteworthy when you consider that Tom Fazio designed the course. Fazio is also responsible for Congaree, this week’s host. 

When you add to the equation that Mitchell’s only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Honda Classic at another Fazio-designed layout – PGA National – it is easy to reach the conclusion that the Georgia-based pro could fall in love with Congaree.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Steve has been a Racing Post columnist, golf tipster and punter and is one of the most well-known tipsters in the country. Steve’s columns featuring golf betting tips have been must-read material for years.
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