Three angles at new PGA Tour event the Palmetto Championship at Congaree

The PGA Tour returns to South Carolina, but the Tom Fazio test in Ridgeland is one fresh to the circuit.

The European Tour is forever breaking new ground, the quest for tournaments sending it to different countries and seeking new ideas.

The PGA Tour is a little, which is to say a lot, more conservative, but then it can afford to be.

Many venues and events are old favourites with long histories - they often change title, drifting with the sponsor flow, but they are as standard as an old show tune.

So it often feels a little unusual when a tournament and a host course are entirely new to the field, as is the case with this week's Palmetto Championship at Congaree which is a late replacement for the Canadian Open.

Dustin Johnson is the favourite, but the World No. 1 might easily be seen as a vulnerable one given that he hasn't landed a top 10 in seven starts.

Will Koepka be attacking with his full game this week?
Will Koepka be attacking with his full game this week?

Meanwhile, second favourite Brooks Koepka might well have his eye on next week's US Open.

Let's take a look five angles we can use to our advantage this week.

Scottish Links

If you read about the challenge this week you'll come across many references to Scottish heathland.

Tom Fazio designed Congaree and he was tasked with recreating a traditional test that called to mind the fat running turf of inland tracks at the home of golf.

They, in their turn, ape the performance of the ball on linksland.

Heath and linksland are not an exact replica of one another, but it's not far off.

The balls runs a long way from the tee box, approaches will often need to be landed short of the putting surface, scrambling will have to be attempted along the ground, and quality lag putting will be essential.

There's every chance that Tyrrell Hatton will be excited about any resemblance to classic designs.

He's a two-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and also has top 10 finishes at Royal Aberdeen, Murcar Links, Castle Stuart, Royal Troon, Gullane and even has a top 10 at Spey Valley - a modern heathland venue also in Scotland which hosts a Challenge Tour event.

He's bound to attract attention, but 14/1 with William Hill is a tight price, so why not Alex Noren?

He's a winner at Castle Stuart, the fast-running modern links near Inverness, and also has top 10s in Scotland at Murcar Links, St Andrews, Archerfield Links and contended for the Open at Carnoustie, Royal Birkdale, and Royal Portrush.

The Swede may also be bubbling in terms of form, making his last six cuts and finishing T13th last week at Muirfield Village.

He's 40/1 with William Hill.

Tighten the sandbelt

In addition to Scottish heathland, the Australian sandbelt courses were a real influence on Fazio when he designed Congaree and it is very obvious when you look at photographs of the course.

The fairways ribbon their way through sandy waste areas, big bunkers protect sweeping greens, and sparse trees surround the playing surface, but should rarely come into play.

It's very reminiscent of the likes of Royal Melbourne, Huntingdale, Victoria, Kingston Heath, Metropolitan, and Royal Adelaide.

Which leads us, obviously, to the Aussie contingent, but first let's look at a Pommy - Ian Poulter.

The Englishman won the JBWere Masters at Victoria, was second on defence at Kingston Heath and T13th at Royal Melbourne in 2004.

He is also, of course, a fine links performer, finishing second at Royal Birkdale in the 2008 Open, third at Muirfield in 2013, and ninth at Royal Lytham in 2012.

He finished T30th at the PGA Championship and was tied third a week later at Colonial in the Charles Schwab Challenge.

He's 40/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook.

The top Aussies obviously didn't do their homework - or prefer to keep their powder dry for next week's US Open.

No Adam Scott, who loves the sandbelt. No Cam Smith or Marc Leishman or Jason Day.

Instead, just Cameron Percy, Aaron Baddeley, Rhein Gibson and Greg Chalmers.

Of those, Baddeley and Chalmers most appeal.

Baddeley is a winner at Kingston Heath and Huntingdale, and a runner-up at Victoria. Meanwhile, Chalmers has won at Royal Adelaide, and been second at Victoria, Kingston Heath and Huntingdale.

Chalmers is in a rotten run of form, with no top 20 in 23 PGA Tour starts; Baddeley is not much better, but he was fifth on the second tier in April and made both his last two cuts.

He's 11/1 with Sport Nation to make the top 20.

Home comforts

Kevin Kisner was born and resides in South Carolina - he also plays very good golf in the area.

He's finished top 15 three times at Harbour Town, and also twice at different Korn Ferry Tour events in the state.

He likes being nearby too, landing five top 10s at Quail Hollow and Sedgefield in North Carolina, and another five, including a win, at Sea Island in next door Georgia (he's even grabbed five top 15s on other courses in that state).

The course will not play as long as it first appears this week, with rapid fairways, and Kisner has enjoyed that sort of test in the past. Perhaps the best example in his recent log book of a swift course was the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, when he finished joint runner-up.

He broke a run of four missed cuts with a better showing at Colonial last time out and can make an impression this week on a course he is a regular visitor to.

He's 50/1 with Bet365.

READ MORE: The Notebook: What we learned from last week's US Women's Open, the Memorial and the European Open

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