rsm classic

This week’s PGA Tour action is the RSM Classic. Here’s a full preview of the action from the Golf Insider

RSM Classic

The RSM Classic is a relative newcomer to the PGA Tour, in that it was first played in 2010 (as the McGladrey Classic, then the RSM Classic since 2015). And like several other events in the US at this time of year, we’re not going to be bowled over with masses of top talent, but what we are going to see is a good mix of seasoned pros – “journeyman” for want of a better word – perennial bridesmaids, and a number of rookies and youngsters keen to make a name for themselves. But there is a slight twist this year, what with the lockdown, and the re-scheduling of the US Masters, there are a lot more high ranking players still “in the area” and so this year’s field is certainly of a higher standard than we usually witness on the Georgia coastline.

The Course

Two courses are being used this week. There’s the host venue, the Sea Island GC, laid out over 7,005 yards as a par 70. This was the only course used from 2010 to 2014 and was put together by Tom Fazio – who merged two previous par-9 courses on the site in 1999 to create one 18-hole layout. Then from 2015 onwards the Plantation Course, which is a 7,058 yard par 72, was added. This course was first opened in 1926, designed by Walter Travis, and has been updated in recent years, most noticeably by Rees Jones in 1998. Players now play each course once over Thursday and Friday, and then play out the weekend at Sea Island. Both are situated at Saint Simons Island on the Eastern seaboard of the US in Georgia.

72 hole record: 260 – Kevin Kisner, 2015.

18 hole record: 60 – Tommy Gainey, 2012.

The Field

A standard PGA field of 156 golfers line up for this week’s tournament. Webb Simpson is the $8.50 favourite with TopSport.

The Weather

It’s set fair to be a dry week, with little chance of any significant rainfall on any of the four days (high of 20% all week). Temperatures will creep into the low 70s (F), and for a coastal venue, where wind speeds can be key, the conditions are “ok” with the highest expected gusts peaking at around 15mph. So a decent week for the players in Georgia.

Outright value bets

Russell Henley – currently $22 with TopSport

The week after a Major is always a strange one. You have guys who are a little frazzled after being in the firing line the previous week, those who scored badly in extra-tough conditions (whether they were playing good or bad golf beforehand), and then there’s guys who didn’t play at all. Henley is one of those having sat out the week at Augusta. Now I backed him at the Houston Open, where he finished a steady but unspectacular 29th. But he played much better than his placing suggests – he simply putted badly. Before that he’d posted a third in the CJ Cup and fourth in the Zozo Championship. They’re two tougher events than this week’s test in Sea Island. Henley has missed the cut on his last two starts here, but before then he’d posted 10-6-4. So I’m quite happy in terms of his ability to handle the conditions this week. The odds are fair IMO and I’d expect him to play well this week after missing out on the Masters.

Camilo Villegas – currently $301 with TopSport

I’m having a small bet on Villegas because he continues to rank highly with his approach play. Last time out in Houston, the Colombian had positive strokes from tee-to-green, but still managed to shoot 74-77. That was thanks entirely to diabolical putting – which cost him over 8 strokes on the field. Villegas’s long game is in a very good condition right now, despite his uninspiring finishing positions. But a hot week on the greens is surely just around the corner, or any slight improvement could see a vast upgrade in his scoring. Villegas has had to go through a lot over these last few years (with his daughter losing her battle with cancer earlier this year). But I think as time goes on, he’ll start to feel more comfortable back out on the course. Villegas finished runner-up at Sea Island in 2016, so this venue is one where he has proven form. We’ve seen bigger winners, and more unlikely ones, already this year. At this price we could definitely have a live runner… if he just manages to hole a few putts.

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