DraftKings Strategy

DraftKings Preview: Brooks Koepka leads the way at Congaree

by Will Gray
Updated On: June 9, 2021, 3:31 pm ET

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Bargain hunters have a plethora of options this week at the Palmetto Championship.

The inaugural event, created three months ago to replace the canceled RBC Canadian Open, isn't exactly the strongest field this year on the PGA Tour. There are some notables at the top, namely world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and perennial foil Brooks Koepka, but there are plenty of names in the 156-man field that could prove to be a surprise winner this week at Congaree Golf Club.

With a new venue and a diverse field, rostering the best DFS lineup could prove tricky. But there some common traits and themes to look for, not to mention players whose game seems to fit the sandy, par-71 layout that can tip out at more than 7,600 yards.

Here's a look at some of the players I have on my DraftKings roster radar this week, as well as a couple of high-priced options I plan to ignore:


Brooks Koepka ($11,100 on DraftKings): Don't over-complicate it. Koepka showed he has every shot in the bag at Kiawah, where he nearly chased down Phil Mickelson. He has previously demonstrated that he doesn't mail it in when playing the week before a major, notably finishing fourth at the 2019 Byron Nelson and T-2 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational ahead of the PGA in 2019 and 2020. Koepka is one of the best drivers in the game, and he'll use that weapon often this week on a course where he can really air it out. The short game he flashed earlier this year at The Concession, where he finished T-2 on another layout with runoff areas around the greens, will come in handy. But there's no reason to leave him off the list this week with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson still struggling and other top-priced options few and far between.

Optimal Lineup (via Golf DFS tools at NBC Sports EDGE)

Brooks Koepka ($11,100)

Lucas Glover ($8,600)

Luke List ($7,900)

Vincent Whaley ($7,700)

Pat Perez ($7,700)

Satoshi Kodaira ($7,000)

Lucas Glover ($8,600): The former U.S. Open champ boasts arguably the most course history at Congaree, having played the layout several times since its 2017 opening. A native of South Carolina, Glover has morphed into something of an ambassador for the nascent event and will be motivated to play well. His game has shown some promising signs of late, including a fourth-place finish at the Valero Texas Open in April and a T-8 finish two weeks ago at Colonial. Glover is always a liability on the greens, but his comfort level with this week's venue could make an important difference and puts him ahead of similarly priced options like Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Kisner and Keith Mitchell.

Tread Lightly

Harris English ($9,900): English was the first winner of the new year, beating Joaquin Niemann in a playoff at Kapalua, but he's been hit-or-miss ever since. The veteran hasn't cracked the top 10 in 11 starts since, topping out with a T-13 showing a few weeks ago in Dallas, and his two prior stops in South Carolina led to a missed cut at Harbour Town and a T-64 finish at the PGA. English is a strong putter but can sometimes struggle with his irons, ranking 107th this season in SG: Approach, and he may not have enough firepower off the tee for Congaree while ranking 92nd in driving distance. You're paying a premium on him this week given the field composition, and I can't justify him being the fifth-highest salary on the board.

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Keith Mitchell ($8,800): There's just not enough consistency for me to invest in Mitchell at this price. The former Tour winner essentially came out of nowhere at last month's Wells Fargo Championship, challenging Rory McIlroy to the bitter end at Quail Hollow. But that remains his lone top-10 finish since March 2020, and he missed the cut in his most recent start at Colonial. Mitchell is sneaky long off the tee and a strong driver, but his short game leaves plenty to be desired and could hold him back this week, given he ranks 151st in SG: Putting and 195th in SG: Around the Green. He plays his best on Bermuda grass, but that's still not enough to sway me this week.


Aaron Baddeley ($6,500): The Aussie could be worth a look this week on a course that's expected to emphasize work on and around the greens. Going back over the last 40 rounds played on Bermuda grass greens and courses above 7,200 yards, a description that fits Congaree, Baddeley ranks fourth among the field in total strokes gained - behind only Dustin Johnson, Sungjae Im and Matthew Fitzpatrick. He's available at a fraction of the price of those three this week, and after splitting his time in recent months between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour he'll be eager to get back into the mix once again in hopes of returning to the main stage on a full-time basis in the near future. He has finished T-35 or better in four of his last eight starts overall, including a T-5 finish on the KFT in April.

Bryson Nimmer ($6,300): This is a bit of a local play on a low-priced option who was playing Local IQ Series events a few months ago. Nimmer went to school at nearby Clemson and told reporters Tuesday that he has played Congaree "six or seven times" in recreational rounds. That's six or seven more than a lot of guys in this week's field, and he'll have a hearty rooting section following him around given he was born in the Ridgeland area. While several players in this week's field have an eye on Torrey Pines, Nimmer's focus will be squarely on the task at hand. He also comes in with some decent form, having finished T-25 and T-27 in his two most recent Korn Ferry starts.

Will Gray

Will Gray is the Manager of College Sports & Golf Content for NBC Sports EDGE. He has covered the PGA Tour since 2013 and regularly contributes golf betting insight and analysis across multiple digital platforms. Gray has been with NBC Sports since 2007 and recently served as a writer, video analyst and podcast host for Golf Channel. You can follow him on Twitter @WillGrayGC