This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
The RSM Classic
Course: Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course [Host] (7,005 yards, par 70), Plantation Course (7,060 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,188,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The RSM Classic has been the final official PGA Tour event of the calendar year for the past few seasons. This year it is the second to last official event in 2020, preceding the Mayakoba Golf Classic in two week's time, but following the COVID-19 delayed Masters Tournament last week. Because of that, this tournament will likely get its best field since its inception in 2010, as Masters participants can make the quick trip down to the Atlantic coast for possibly one final opportunity at FedExCup points before 2020 ends. The field at Sea Island will feature over 25 players who teed it up at Augusta National last week. Among those are Webb Simpson, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Sungjae Im, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, and Justin Rose. Tyler Duncan will be defending his title after defeating Simpson in a playoff last year. The 156-man field will be able to make it work during daylight savings time due to the use of two different courses. Every player will get a crack at the gettable Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club on either Thursday or Friday, before a cut is made and the remaining field transitions to the par-70 Seaside Course that will serve as the host course. With both these coastal courses being so exposed, it presents a different type of challenge to these players. The threat of precipitation looks to be greatest in round one, but delays are not expected. Winds should average somewhere around 15 miles per hour throughout the duration of the event, with gusts upwards of 25-30 miles per hour possible at times.
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- Driving accuracy
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Putting
The first task for the 156-man field will be finding the fairway. While the primary cut this week won't grow longer than two inches, heavy marsh and difficult fairway bunkers are lurking not too far off line on a number of holes at Sea Island Golf Club. While distance is always an advantage, if you look through the list of past champions at the RSM Classic, most of them were on the shorter side of distance and had stellar driving weeks. In Duncan's win last year, he only missed six fairways all week, but on the season ranked 173rd in driving distance. Once you get the ball in good position off the tee, then you can focus on attacking these relatively average sized greens. They are typically softer and more receptive at this time of year, so that gives players of all distances and ball flights the ability to get the ball close to the hole consistently if they are on with their distance control. While the greens should be kinder on accepting shots from the fairways, the surfaces will be prepped to roll at a little over 12 on the stimpmeter at the Seaside Course. Combine that with the expected wind on an exposed course to the elements and that should provide the best putters a chance to separate themselves. The winning score each of the last five years has been at least 17-under-par in relatively similar conditions, so we should still expect to see quite a few birdies and potentially eagles, especially on the Plantation Course which features a full set of four par-5's.
FanDuel Value Picks
Webb Simpson ($12,000)
Simpson has the perfect game for this course. He is extremely accurate off the tee, and has developed himself into one of the best iron players and putters in the game. It's no surprise why he has posted five finishes of T12-or-better at Sea Island in just eight career starts. Included in that are a pair of playoff defeats in 2011 and 2019, providing further motivation to finally get over the hump this year.
Tyrrell Hatton ($11,800)
Harbour Town Golf Links about two hours up the coast is probably the closest Tour stop comparison to the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. Who was battling it out most of that day back in July at the RBC Heritage? Hatton and Webb Simpson. The reason is because they have very similar games. Hatton isn't quite as accurate at Simpson, but carries a little more pop off the tee. The Englishman last season was also top-six on Tour in SG: Approach and putts per GIR, as was Simpson. Hatton has struggled in majors for whatever reason, but has been as good as anyone over the last 12 months in all other Tour events.
Russell Henley ($11,400)
The highest salary player that didn't play at the Masters last week is Henley for good reason. The Georgia native hasn't finished outside the top-30 in any of his last seven PGA Tour starts, including four top-10's. Henley also fits the profile beautifully, ranking top-15 in driving accuracy, SG: Approach, and GIR percentage this season. He's also top-five in scoring average and scrambling, and owns a trio of top-10 finishes in six career starts at Sea Island.
Sebastian Munoz ($10,700)
Munoz's start to this season has rivaled that of last season, when he had three top-10's, including a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. While he hasn't quite got in contention for a victory, his consistency has been impressive. Munoz has made the cut in 10 straight starts and has placed no worse than T27 in eight of them. He impressed people with his T19 at the Masters last week despite falling off in the final round. The 27-year-old gained strokes in every category last season, showing how complete his game is en route to an eighth-place finish in the FedExCup Standings. Munoz also finished solo third at The RSM Classic last year.
Longer Shots with Value
C.T. Pan ($9,900)
Pan was another player that impressed in his Masters debut finishing in a share seventh place. Augusta National is one of the toughest courses from a short game standpoint the players face all year, and it was Pan who ended up leading the field in scrambling. The 29-year-old has made the cut in all six of his starts this season and has a pair of top-15 finishes in three career trips to Sea Island.
Ian Poulter ($9,900)
The 44-year-old continued his strong recent play with a top-25 at the Masters last week. That comes on the heels of a T6-5th-T12 stretch in his three prior worldwide starts. Poulter isn't quite the same ball-striker as a number of other players listed thus far, but his putting and short game have been world class as of late. He has also put together one of the best records at the similar-styled Harbour Town Golf Links, with top-15's in each of his last four starts about two hours up I-95.
Alex Noren ($9,600)
The Swede continues his quest to try to get back into the top-50 in the OWGR after finding himself outside the top-125 earlier this summer. Over his last nine starts, Noren has posted six top-25 finishes with his only missed cut coming at the Houston Open a couple weeks ago. His ball-striking has improved over that time, but much like Poulter, his short game and putting are particularly of note. Noren ended last season top-25 in SG: Around, scrambling, putts per round, and scoring average. He recorded a top-10 in his Sea Island debut last year.
Harry Higgs ($9,000)
Higgs put together a solid rookie campaign last year that ended with him finishing 55th in the final FedExCup standings. He's off to a great start this season with a pair of top-25's, including a second place finish at the Safeway Open. The 28-year-old fits the profile this week, ranking 16th in SG: Off-the-tee, 42nd in GIR percentage, and 10th in putts per GIR.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
The field this week is very front-loaded. There are quite a few strong options this week that fit the profile as an accurate ball-striker that excel either around the greens or on them. Like some of them I mentioned above, quite a few of them are also playing well and have a good history at Sea Island or nearby Hilton Head. That leaves less potential options once you get below that $9,000 threshold. It will force DFS players to be selective above $11,000 to make sure you only have to reach down for one golfer. Some options further down the board I will be considering are Brian Gay ($8,700), Adam Hadwin ($8,400), Peter Malnati ($8,100), and Patton Kizzire ($7,700).