RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort, Sea Island, Georgia
The host of the RSM Classic 2017 is the Seaside Course at Sea Island, Georgia. This will be the eighth year that the course hosts this tournament at its links-style layout Par 70. Playing at just over 7000 yards, this is not a long course by any stretch of the imagination. It has some pretty wide fairways to hit and the green complexes are pretty generous as well.
The weather is expected to start out clear but then get cloudy as the week progresses. The current forecast is for some rain on Sunday. The wind can be a significant factor on this course and that is expected to fluctuate through the weekend as well.
The RSM Classic is a full field event with a cut at the end of two rounds. Previous winners of the tournament include Chris Kirk in 2013, Robert Streb in 2014, Kevin Kisner in 2015, and Mackenzie Hughes is the defending champion having won in 2016.
Accuracy off the tee and the ability to get into birdie scoring positions with good iron play will be critical this week. The greens are actually pretty fast and catch out golfers who are having some trouble with their short game.
Stats That Matter
The Wolf thinks the scoring stats hold the key this week on what is a relatively easy course this week. The stats to watch out are:
– Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
– Birdie or Better Percentage
– Par 4 Scoring
The rough is not the most unforgiving on this course and the real hazard is going to be the wind so scrambling may not be as important although some people may want to use it as an additional measure.
The course record here was set by Kevin Kisner who scored a 22 under par (260) to win in 2015. Hughes had 17 under Par (265) last year and the scores ranged between 14 under Par to 16 under Par from 2010-14.
The conditions play a huge role in the kind of scores that golfers end up with and with some rain and gusts of win expected later into the weekend, the Wolf thinks this year’s winning total might be closer to 12-14 under Par.
The Wolf is predicting course record holder and previous champion Kevin Kisner at $17.00 to do it all again. This will be his first tournament of the new season and like Rickie Fowler last week, the Wolf expects him to start strong. His last tournament was the Tour Championship where he finished T3 at and lets not forget his brilliant play at the Presidents Cup. Kisner loves playing at this course and has an excellent knowledge of how to approach different holes. His ability to hit the ball long will come in handy allowing him to gain strokes on the field and the fact that the fairways are pretty wide allows him to really crush the ball without too much fear of missing the short grass. He has played this tournament multiple times winning it in 2015, coming in 4th in 2014, and 20th the year before that.
Consistency is something that we should not ignore and that’s why the Wolf has made Matt Kuchar at $21.00 his value pick. Kuchar has started a little slow this season recording a T31 at the WGC HSBC Champions but this course should be right up his alley. Driving distance is not a factor but accuracy is certainly going to help the players here and that is exactly what Kuchar brings to the table. He finished last season strongly with a T5 and a T10 so form is not a factor either. He has played the RSM Classic five times and finished in the top-25 each time with a best finish of 7th. His course knowledge is exceptional and should allow him to contend this weekend. Kuchar is also 28th in strokes gained: tee to green and 15th in Par 4 scoring. At $21.00 for the win, he is definitely excellent value.
The Wolf’s long shot this week is relatively mild at $34.00 but he does love himself some Zach Johnson. He lives close to the course and plays this set up regularly making it hard to look past him. The reason that a player of Zach Johnson’s ability is getting these odds in a relatively weak field is that he appeared to be struggling at the OHL Classic last week. There was something off about his game and the Wolf is hoping it was just down to some rust. He did still end up managing to finish T23 and so he should be much higher when he really starts hitting his stride. His form at the RSM Classic has also fluctuated wildly. He tends to either finish in the top 20, which he has done twice or not make the cut, which he has done three times as well. The Wolf is still happy to take a chance with him especially with Zacj having a history of playing great golf in tough conditions. If the winds pick up he will shoot up the leaderboard.
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