In what will be the second last PGA event of 2020, the Tour heads south from Augusta to St. Simons Island, Georgia. 156 players will compete for the RSM Classic this weekend at the two Sea Island Resort Courses. The players will play one of their two opening rounds at The Plantation Course while the remaining three rounds will be played at The Seaside Course.
The Seaside plays as a par 70 totalling just over 7000 yards with many holes off the coast. The Plantation course is more inland and plays as a 7,060 yard par 72. Both courses feature Bermuda putting greens.
Like many resort courses, Sea Island will play easier for the PGA professionals than what they are used to. The Seaside Course averages 71% fairways in regulation and 74% greens in regulation, both numbers that are much higher than the tour average.
Another thing that stuck out to me was how much success shorter hitting players have had at Seaside. The likes of Tyler Duncan, Charles Howell III, Austin Cook, Mackenzie Hughes and Kevin Kisner have all won here, and they are not known for pounding the ball off the tee. Webb Simpson, Ryan Armour and Jim Furyk are some more examples of short hitters that have also had success at Seaside.
Along with being an accurate driver, I will be targeting players that have a strong around the green game. Plus players who can score highly as this event has seen winning scores below 20 under par. Par 4 scoring between 350-450 yards will also be targeted as 11 of the 12 par 4s fall under that distance.
One other stat I found interesting is: six of the last 10 RSM Classic winners were first time winners. Don’t shy away from picking someone that has never won before.
Outright Winner at RSM Classic: Why a Missed Cut Might Be a Good Thing?
Tyrell Hatton – Outright Winner +1800
I wasn’t planning on playing anyone coming off the Masters but Tyrell didn’t play a full weekend at Augusta. Hatton missed the cut last week but I’m going to look passed that as he’s never performed well at The Masters. In four starts he’s missed two cuts and lost strokes in all appearances.
Other than that Hatton has been one of the most consistent players this year and I expect him to bounce back this weekend at Sea Island. He’s never played here but I think the course will suit him nicely. He’s a shorter, accurate hitter, but also familiar with playing a Links style course on the coast. The Englishman will have an advantage on the field if the winds pick up.
In Hatton’s last six events he’s finished in the top-7 three times. The only poor performances lately from Hatton have been missed cuts at the last two majors. Fortunately for him, the RSM Classic doesn’t come with that type of pressure and I expect he’ll be contending come Sunday.
RSM Classic Top 10 and Top 20 Bets: Why an Amateur Will Shine
Davis Thompson Top 10 +1800 and Top 20 +900
Thompson was recently ranked as the No. 1 amateur and will be making his third PGA Tour appearance this year. He missed both cuts (US Open and Puerto Rico Open) but had a decent showing at the US Open, gaining strokes in approach and around the green. He’s playing well right now as well. After the US Open he’s finished 5th and 4th in his two starts back on the collegiate circuit.
Thompson will know the Seaside course well as he lives on Saint Simons Island. He also made his PGA debut at this course last year where he put together some impressive rounds. At that tournament, he led the field in strokes gained tee to green for the first three rounds and it led to a 23rd place finish.
This is a home game for Thompson and this is the type of event that I believe an amateur can compete in. It’s one of the easier courses on tour and he’s familiar with the venue. So, I also have a small bet on his outright win at +22500.
Hank Lebioda Top 10 +2100 and Top 20 +1000
I think Lebioda’s odds are fantastic considering his current form and course history. The second year Tour pro will be making his third start at the RSM Classic, finishing 30th and 32nd in his first two appearances. He hasn’t played that often (only six starts since July) but the finishes have been encouraging, only missing one cut and finishing inside the top-26 three times.
He’s popped twice at resort style courses in his last three starts, gaining 5.3 strokes at Corales Puntacana and another 7.4 strokes at the Bermuda Championship earlier this month. His best ever finish is a 3rd at the 2019 Corales Puntacana. I’m taking a shot on Lebioda here at another resort course. And yes, for those wondering, his outright win odds are currently sitting at +25000.