Gdula's Golf Simulations: Palmetto Championship at Congaree

Who do thousands of simulations like to win at Congaree this week? And who should we bet?

Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.

We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.

The Process

Over the years, I have made plenty of tweaks to my original golf model, which uses a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers to adjust each golfer's score relative to the field (on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour).

The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours. From there, a golfer's adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing out the event thousands of times.

In addition to that long-term adjusted form, I factor in course-level adjustments for course fit.

I run a second model that uses more granular strokes gained data, which allows me to very easily adjust for course fit. The results are averaged out.

I let the data do the talking and don't make many tweaks -- if any. Golfers with a small sample get regressed to a low-end PGA Tour player to round out their samples. Data points are weighted more heavily toward recent performance.

Here are the most likely winners for the Palmetto Championship at Congaree, according to the models.

Golfer Simulated
Made Cut%
Win Odds
Dustin Johnson9.5%44.0%86.0%+750
Tyrrell Hatton7.4%38.7%83.7%+1300
Matthew Fitzpatrick6.7%37.3%83.8%+1400
Brooks Koepka6.1%35.0%81.7%+750
Harris English4.3%27.3%77.0%+2800
Sungjae Im3.5%25.3%76.0%+2000
Tommy Fleetwood2.9%21.4%72.8%+2000
Kevin Kisner2.2%18.1%69.9%+4500
Ian Poulter2.2%17.7%70.4%+3300
Lucas Glover2.0%18.4%70.7%+4000
Harold Varner III2.0%19.4%71.3%+4500
Alex Noren1.8%19.0%70.9%+3300
Patton Kizzire1.8%16.4%67.9%+3300
Jhonattan Vegas1.3%14.2%65.1%+5000
Scott Stallings1.3%12.4%63.8%+7000
Erik van Rooyen1.2%12.5%63.4%+8000
James Hahn1.2%12.0%63.1%+12500
Luke List1.1%13.4%65.0%+7000
Doc Redman1.0%11.4%61.6%+6000
Russell Knox1.0%11.8%62.8%+6000
Sepp Straka1.0%10.8%60.9%+9000
J.T. Poston1.0%11.0%61.8%+10000
C.T. Pan1.0%11.4%61.8%+7000
Richy Werenski1.0%12.0%62.4%+8000
John Huh1.0%10.4%61.1%+12500
Bo Hoag0.9%11.4%62.0%+9000
Garrick Higgo0.9%9.6%59.3%+4500
Pat Perez0.9%10.8%61.6%+7000
Nick Taylor0.9%10.7%61.8%+9000
Mark Hubbard0.9%9.0%58.1%+12500
Vincent Whaley0.9%10.3%59.7%+8000
Martin Laird0.9%10.6%60.9%+6600
Matthew NeSmith0.8%10.6%60.7%+7000
Roger Sloan0.8%10.6%60.6%+15000
Brice Garnett0.8%9.6%59.4%+15000
Brandt Snedeker0.7%9.2%58.2%+5000
Ben Martin0.7%8.9%58.5%+9000
Andrew Putnam0.7%8.3%57.2%+17500
Adam Schenk0.6%8.2%57.8%+12500
Rory Sabbatini0.6%8.2%56.8%+9000
Keith Mitchell0.6%7.6%54.6%+3300
Jason Dufner0.6%7.7%56.1%+10000
David Lipsky0.6%8.5%57.7%+10000
Bronson Burgoon0.6%8.0%56.3%+12500
Scott Piercy0.6%7.2%54.6%+10000
Ryan Armour0.6%7.0%54.6%+20000
Brian Stuard0.5%7.5%55.5%+12500
Hank Lebioda0.5%7.8%56.5%+12500
Henrik Norlander0.5%7.4%55.5%+12500
Tom Lewis0.5%8.4%56.7%+12500
Tyler Duncan0.5%6.4%52.8%+20000
Chase Seiffert0.5%7.3%55.8%+20000
Patrick Rodgers0.5%7.0%55.1%+10000
Rafa Cabrera Bello0.5%5.7%51.5%+6600
Byeong Hun An0.5%7.1%53.7%+12500
Chez Reavie0.5%6.8%54.5%+25000
Nate Lashley0.5%7.1%54.2%+12500
Anirban Lahiri0.5%6.6%53.0%+20000
Vaughn Taylor0.5%6.1%52.2%+12500

The top of this field is good, so it takes up a ton of the win equity. The top 14 golfers in win odds absorb more than half of the wins in my simulations.

That starts with Dustin Johnson (+750 on FOX Bet). Johnson's form is down, but the past year of data puts him into another tier relative to this field. He's playing in his home state but could have his eyes on the U.S. Open next week, so I'm not betting him.

Brooks Koepka (+750) rates out worse, given his past year of data. We especially know that Koepka is a major hunter, and he's also been pretty keen on making headlines. Either way, the data shows horrible value on Koepka at those odds.

The best bets at the top are Tyrrell Hatton (+1300), Matt Fitzpatrick (+1400), and Harris English (+2800), all of whom are positive expected values in the win simulations. I like the fit for Tommy Fleetwood (+2000) but less so the odds.

There are a few steady options down the board, including Lucas Glover (+4000), Kevin Kisner (+4500), Martin Laird (+6600), Scott Stallings (+7000), and Luke List.

I've settled on Hatton, Glover, Laird, and List for the week.