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The PGA Tour players will face a challenging and unfamiliar course this week when the 2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree tees off on Thursday. The event in South Carolina takes the place of the RBC Canadian Open, which was canceled for the second straight year. The Tom Fazio-designed course resembles some of Australia's sand-belt courses, and its length and natural hazards will challenge a relatively weak field. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are the top names scheduled to play as they prepare for next week's U.S. Open. 

William Hill Sportsbook lists Johnson and Koepka as the 8-1 co-favorites in its latest 2021 Palmetto Championship odds. The positioning of the event between the Memorial and the U.S. Open could make for a surprise winner, and others in the 2021 Palmetto Championship field expected to contend include Tyrrell Hatton (16-1), Matthew Fitzpatrick (18-1) and Sungjae Im (20-1). Before locking in any 2021 Palmetto Championship picks or PGA Tour predictions, you need to see who golf insider Sal Johnson is backing.

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson has a strong feel for when a player's momentum will make a difference. Before last week's Memorial Tournament, the golf expert had Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa listed among his best bets, citing both as players who were coming in with momentum.

Both were in contention all week, and Rahm had a six-stroke lead at 18 under par following his third round in his attempt to defend his title. Then the Spaniard received word that his pre-round test had come back positive for COVID-19 and he had to withdraw.

That left the door open for Patrick Cantlay and Morikawa, and they traded clutch putts all day in the final round. Both got to 13 under and it went to overtime, with Cantlay prevailing with a par on the first playoff hole.

Now Johnson, the first producer of "Inside the PGA Tour," a longtime ABC Sports golf producer who worked with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, and the founder of the world's top golf stats database, has released his highly confident 2021 Palmetto Championship picks, and they will surprise you.

Top 2021 Palmetto Championship expert picks

Shockingly, the golf expert is slightly fading Dustin Johnson, who is the favorite in the relatively weak field between the two big tournaments. The 36-year-old hasn't played well in months, but the time off and playing in his home state should help. The golf guru expects the 2016 U.S. Open champion to play well, but he doesn't believe Johnson will want to "use all his bullets" before the U.S. Open. He isn't listing the two-time major winner among his favorites to win.

On the other hand, Johnson thinks Koepka's appearance is a good sign that the four-time major champion is healthy. Koepka had knee surgery in March, and he missed the cut at the Masters and the Byron Nelson after he returned. That didn't offer much hope for his chances leading into the PGA Championship, but he contended all week before tying for second. That was his last event, and with almost two weeks off, he should be locked in to make a run at his third U.S. Open title. He is third on tour in strokes gained: total and 22nd in scoring average (70.183).

Johnson also knows Hatton can contend any time, even during an up-and-down season. He has been in top 25 in half of his 14 events, with three top-10 finishes. His style should also play well at Congaree, as he is 29th in total driving (97th in distance, 53rd in accuracy). He has gone 17-under par over his past four events and tied for 18th at the Masters in April. His lone tour win came at last year's Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he has six international victories. This is the type of event where a player like Hatton could easily win, and he is the 10th-ranked golfer in the world.  

How to make 2021 Palmetto Championship predictions

This week, Johnson is touting a major long shot who comes in at well over 60-1 odds. This veteran is one of a handful of players who have played Congaree before, and he can hit it long and hit a lot of greens, which is the perfect combination for this course. You can only see who it is here.

Who wins the Palmetto Championship 2021? Where do Koepka and Hatton finish? And which huge long-shot is a must-back? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson's full leaderboard, picks and analysis, all from the insider who was all over his best bets last week. 

2021 Palmetto Championship field, odds, contenders

Dustin Johnson 8-1
Brooks Koepka 8-1
Tyrrell Hatton 16-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 18-1
Sungjae Im 20-1
Tommy Fleetwood 20-1
Harris English 28-1
Branden Grace 28-1
Keith Mitchell 35-1
Garrick Higgo 35-1
Brandt Snedeker 40-1
Patton Kizzire 40-1
Alex Noren 40-1
Ian Poulter 40-1
Lucas Glover 45-1
Kevin Kisner 50-1
Harold Varner 50-1
Danny Willett 60-1
Jhonattan Vegas 60-1
Doc Redman 60-1
Russell Knox 60-1
Ben Martin 66-1
C.T. Pan 66-1
Rafa Cabrera Bello 66-1
Martin Laird 66-1
Scott Stallings 70-1
Luke List 80-1
Matthew NeSmith 80-1
Pat Perez 80-1
Vincent Whaley 80-1
Erik Van Rooyen 90-1
Bo Hoag 90-1
Richy Werenski 100-1
David Lipsky 100-1
Scott Piercy 100-1
Camilo Villegas 100-1
Patrick Rodgers 100-1
J.T. Poston 100-1
Rory Sabbatini 100-1
Peter Uihlein 100-1
Seamus Power 100-1
Nate Lashley 100-1
Sepp Straka 100-1
Vaughn Taylor 125-1
Wilco Nienaber 125-1
Bronson Burgoon 125-1
Sung-Hoon Kang 125-1
Nick Taylor 125-1
Jason Dufner 125-1
Henrik Norlander 125-1
Hank Lebioda 125-1
Tom Lewis 125-1
Byeong Hun An 125-1
Satoshi Kodaira 125-1
Padraig Harrington 125-1
Brian Stuard 150-1
Kevin Chappell 150-1
Andrew Putnam 150-1
J.J. Spaun 150-1
Adam Schenk 150-1
Joseph Bramlett 150-1
Tyler Duncan 150-1
James Hahn 150-1
Roger Sloan 150-1
Mark Hubbard 150-1
John Huh 150-1
Will Gordon 150-1
John Pak 150-1
Robby Shelton 150-1
Brice Garnett 150-1
Kramer Hickok 150-1
Davis Thompson 150-1
Danny Lee 150-1
Xinjun Zhang 175-1
Tyler McCumber 175-1
Chez Reavie 175-1
Luke Donald 200-1
Chesson Hadley 200-1
Chase Seiffert 200-1
Scott Brown 200-1
Beau Hossler 200-1
Cole Hammer 200-1
Josh Teater 200-1
Cameron Percy 200-1
Rob Oppenheim 200-1
Sam Ryder 200-1
Sean O'Hair 200-1
Wes Roach 200-1
Michael Gligic 250-1
Peter Malnati 250-1
Ted Potter 250-1
Anirban Lahiri 250-1
Rafael Campos 250-1
D.J. Trahan 250-1
Grayson Murray 250-1
J.B. Holmes 250-1
Brian Gay 250-1
Scott Harrington 300-1
Fabian Gomez 300-1
Bryson Nimmer 300-1
Andres Romero 300-1
Aaron Baddeley 300-1
Roberto Castro 300-1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 300-1
Austin Cook 300-1
Kevin Tway 300-1
Mark Anderson 300-1
Ryan Armour 300-1
Kris Ventura 300-1
David Hearn 300-1
Hudson Swafford 300-1
Nelson Ledesma 300-1
Bo Van Pelt 300-1
Shawn Stefani 350-1
Zack Sucher 350-1
Lucas Bjerregaard 350-1
Johnson Wagner 350-1
David Lingmerth 350-1
Ryan Brehm 350-1
Rhein Gibson 400-1
Michael Gellerman 400-1
Greg Chalmers 400-1
Arjun Atwal 500-1
Hunter Mahan 500-1
Jonas Blixt 500-1
Jonathan Byrd 500-1
Derek Ernst 500-1
Ryan Blaum 500-1
Nick Watney 500-1
Bill Haas 500-1
Smylie Kaufman 500-1
Sebastian Cappelen 500-1
Cody Blick 500-1
Robert Garrigus 750-1
Matt Every 750-1
Ben Taylor 750-1
Ricky Barnes 750-1
George McNeill 750-1
Kevin Stadler 750-1
Michael Kim 750-1
Dominic Bozzelli 750-1
Chris Baker 1000-1
Broc Everett 1000-1
Charlie Beljan 1000-1
Jim Knous 1000-1
D.A. Points 1000-1
Martin Trainer 1000-1
William McGirt 1000-1
Brant Peaper 1000-1
Harrison Frazar 1000-1
J.J. Henry 1000-1
Tain Lee 1000-1
John Rollins 1500-1
Richard S. Johnson 1500-1
Parker McLachlin 1500-1
Kelly Mitchum 1500-1