The Palmetto Championship is underway, and most would say the real fun begins as PGA DFS Showdown contests take center stage. This week, the stars of the event came to play, or at least the # 1 star in the world did. Dustin Johnson looked the whole part and more in Round 1. Others like Brooks Koepka and Harris English will have a quick turnaround and lead off Round 2 tomorrow morning.
PGA DFS Showdown Picks: Palmetto Championship Round 2
Previous Round Recap
I already mentioned Johnson’s stellar play, gaining over 5.5 strokes tee-to-green and over 1.25 strokes putting. It has been a bad stretch of golf for DJ over the last 2-3 months, so it’s no surprise to see him get some form back. For me, it’ll be about watching those irons the rest of the week and seeing if they can remain hot. If so, Johnson could run away with this one and be the favorite quickly head into next week at The US Open, especially given Jon Rahm’s unknown status at this point.
Doc Redman was able to find his top form, gaining in all four strokes-gained facets while adding over two with the putter. Johnattan Vegas was also able to join the other two mentioned in gaining strokes in all four categories and shot a five-under 66. Several golfers shot 67 on the day, including Kiradech Aphinbarnart.
With Johnson setting the pace, one would figure that would be enough to scare off the rest. Except it wasn’t, as Wes Roach had the best round of his PGA career, gaining over 7.75 strokes on the field. Four of them were with the putter, but he did also gain in all four categories, so it wasn’t only his putter working. It’ll be interesting to see how he can back it up tomorrow morning as one of the first guys out there. Chesson Hadley and, yes, Erik Van Rooyen, maybe I finally got him right, were only one behind Roach with a stellar 65 on the day. Both Hadley and Van Rooyen gained in all four facets and almost the same amount of strokes in each category. One could say their games are mirror images of one another.
There were also plenty of names to get to four under in the afternoon wave in, including Chez Reavie, who, like Van Rooyen, carries the momentum over from U.S. Open qualifying into Round 1. Harris English is also here at four-under as the best “local connection,” having ties to the area and prior knowledge of the course.
At last, we have to check-in on the two PGA Tour Rookies getting their first start. John Pak had a nice start to his round, with a birdie look from just seven feet to open his PGA Tour career, but a miss there and another miss from 11 feet on No. 2 sent him into a tailspin. He’d play the next nine holes at nine-over par, which is probably his worst stretch of nine holes since he was 10 years old. That’s nerves for you.
For Davis Thompson, the start wasn’t much better, playing his first six holes at five-over. However, he did show some character in his first professional round, grinding it out to finish the round with four straight birdies to shoot even for the day.
Round 2 Cut Prediction
The scoring average was almost a full stroke over-par today; the course should firm up quite a bit with no expected rain overnight. That should make it especially harder for the golfers heading out in the afternoon, who had it about a 1/3 of a shot easier today. However, if the course does play harder, I can see cut-line sliding back to +1. Especially now, given that more golfers inside the cutline right now are from the morning-afternoon wave.
Round 1 Stat Recap
I’ve already talked about plenty of golfers that have gained strokes in all four facets in round one, but there were a few others I haven’t. Here’s the list of golfers that gained strokes in all four categories in round 1
- Wes Roach
- Doc Redman
- Dustin Johnson
- Chesson Hadley
- Erik Van Rooyen
- Jhonattan Vegas
- Patrick Rodgers
- Sam Ryder
- Nick Taylor
- Harris English
- Roger Sloan
- Josh Teater
- Hank Lebioda
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The Palmetto Championship PGA DFS Picks
Johnson is certainly a tough fade in Round 2, given how good he looked- and how good of a player he is. I think the morning wave should have about a half-shot advantage, so I’ll try to go heavier on the morning golfers than the afternoon.
PGA DFS Picks for Round 2 The Palmetto Championship
- Harris English ($9,300): When English is at his best, his putter is what typically does most of the talking. Seeing English gain almost two strokes putting on greens that he may know best of anyone in the field is a great sign. The fact that he also gained over a stroke off the tee is also nice. While English has gone through a spot of regression since that great run, his game is trending, making five of his last six cuts with three Top-25s.
- Garrick Higgo ($9,000) If you aren’t familiar with the name, that’s because he’s mostly on the European Tour. He and his country-mate Wilco Nienaber were both invited to play this week, en route to next week’s US Open, which they qualified for. For Nienaber, who shot three-under today, it’s all about the driver. For Higgo, it’s all about the irons. One of the hottest players on the European Tour with his approach game. We didn’t know if it would be able to translate here. In Round 1, it certainly did, as he gained three strokes on the day. If there has been a knock on Higgo, it has been his putting. If he can get himself to at least a 68, I think that’ll give him a great chance to advance past the cut-line for the second straight time.
- Eric Van Rooyen ($7,100): Momentum is a real thing, and it’s certainly a theme for these next two golfers. For Van Rooyen, he parlays the medalist position at the US Open Qualifier on Monday, at the hardest site, into a very solid Round 1 here. He’s been out of form for a while now, but we know the talent is there. On the other hand, maybe Van Rooyen just needed to be suspended by the PGA Tour for his antics at the PGA Championship and almost killing a couple of men with his antics. (Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch).
Sneaky Pick for the Round 2 Showdown
- Davis Thompson ($6,700): He and Pak switched salaries for Round 2, but it’s Thompson carrying the momentum. Finishing his day with four straight birdies, battling back to even-par, I’m sure Davis didn’t want the round to end. He’ll get to come right back out tomorrow morning and continue those feels. Thompson’s weak spot was around the green today, so if he can hit them all that would be just swell.
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