The RSM Classic, formerly known as the McGladrey Classic, debuted in October 2010 and has been played solely at the Sea Island Golf Club in Sea Island, Georgia.
The Seaside Course is the headline course but in 2015 the Plantation Course entered the rotation. Those teeing-it-up at the RSM Classic will play the Plantation Course on either the Thursday or Friday. After the cut the field will be reduced to 70 players (+ties) and they will play the Seaside Course over the weekend.
The Plantation Course was designed by Walter Travis and opened for play in 1928. The layout was extensively renovated by Rees Jones in 1998. He referred to the course as a “parkland by the sea” for its magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and its lush natural scenery.
The Plantation Course unfolds among a forest of oak and cedar, with danger lurking for the wayward in its tidal creeks and lakes. The fairways are wide and the 10th wanders along the Saint Simons Sound before turning inland. It is a scenic introduction to a solid back nine that finishes at a risk-reward Par 5.
From the championship tees the Par 72 classical layout can stretch to 7,060 yards. The redesign combined the best of parkland features with the windswept beauty of a links course. The strategic nature of the design is evident at the 12th hole. The hole plays through trees to a well bunkered green with the Atlantic Ocean as a back-drop.
The Seaside Course is the host course and was originally designed in 1929 by Harry Colt and Charles Alison. The course was updated in 1999 by Tom Fazio and plays firm and fast in the tradition of Scottish links. The layout places a premium on careful shot selection, scrambling and putting.
Located right on the southern tip of St. Simons Island this sea-side links style course is susceptible to windy conditions. At a little over 7,000 yards length is not important and the fairways are relatively easy to find. The green complexes are large for a Par 70 layout.
Accurate iron-play will be rewarded with Birdie opportunities however the greens are tricky and fast. Both Par 5s (Nos. 7 and 15) are gettable and annually rank among the easier holes. An ability to manoeuvre the ball in blustery conditions could be important if the wind gets up.
By Tour standards, both the Seaside and Plantation Courses are easy but still manage to deliver a fair test in both course management and creativity around the greens.
Being resort courses expect scoring to be low.
A number of PGA Tour players reside near Sea Island including Davis Love III, Harris English, Brian Harman, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire and Russell Henley. Davis Love III is the host of the RSM Classic which benefits the Davis Love Foundation.
Last year, 30 year old Tyler Duncan, prevailed in a sudden death playoff with Webb Simpson to win his first PGA Tour title at the RSM Classic. Duncan birdied three of the last four holes in regulation for a closing round -5 (65) and a total -19 (263) for the week. He shot a second round 61 on the Seaside Course which included 10 Pars, 7 Birdies and 1 Eagle.
“I’m just so happy to be here playing and to come out here and win is just unbelievable”Tyler Duncan
On a windy final round Duncan had to rely on accuracy to succeed missing only one fairway and two greens. He finished the tournament 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and 14th for Strokes Gained Putting. In particular his approach play was dialled-in. He finished 3rd in the Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green category which yield a gain of nearly 5 strokes or almost 50% of his overall strokes gained. He finished the week ranked 47th for Driving Distance, 6th for Driving Accuracy, 4th in GIR and 13th in Putts per Gir.
In 2018, Charles Howell III ended an 11-year run without a win as he claimed victory in the RSM Classic. The 39-year-old holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Patrick Rodgers to clinch the title.
His game tee-to-green laid the foundation for his victory and in particular on approach. He was 19th in the SG:Tee-To-Green category gaining just over 3 strokes for the three rounds on the Seaside Course. He also finished 24th for SG:Putting which delivered a gain of 2.151.strokes. Other stats for the week include T12 for Driving Accuracy, 8th for Driving Distance, 1st for GIR and 19th in Putts per GIR.
The 2017 champion, Austin Cook, captured the RSM Classic title by four strokes from his nearest challenger, posting a -21 (261) total for the week. It was the fourth start of his first full season on Tour for the 26 year old. His game tee-to-green laid the foundation for his victory, topping the field in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category.
Cook finished the week T4 for Driving Accuracy, 39th for Driving Distance, T2 for GIR and 13th in Strokes Gained Putting. The former University of Arkansas All-American old squared two bogeys for the week.
In 2017, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes secured his first PGA Tour title at the RSM Classic. He prevailed in a five-man playoff with Blayne Barber, Billy Horschel, Henrik Norlander and Camilo Villegas. Two extra holes were played on Sunday before poor light forced a suspension until Monday. Horschel bowed out after missing a short par putt at the first playoff hole.
When play resumed on Monday, Hughes rolled in his par putt from just off the green at the third playoff hole to claim the victory. He finished the week 1st for Strokes Gained Around-The-Green and 3rd for Strokes Gained Putting. He was also T11 for Driving Accuracy, 57th for Driving Distance, T50 for GIR and 1st for Putts per GIR.
In 2015, Kevin Kisner won by six shots over runner-up Kevin Chappell finishing on a score of -22, a tournament record. On his way to victory he shot back-to-back rounds of 64 over the final two rounds. He squared only two bogeys for the week and finished T1 for Birdies racking up 22 in total. He finished the week 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, T9 in GIR and 1st in Putts per GIR.
The 2014 champion, Robert Streb held his nerve in a playoff beating Will MacKenzie and Brendon de Jonge to win his first PGA Tour title. Streb can thank his victory to a stellar week with the putter finishing T2 for Strokes Gained Putting, 1st in Putts per Round and 1st for Birdies scoring 22 in total. His return on the two Par 5’s for the week was an eagle, four birdies and three pars.
RSM Classic Betting Tips
Russell Henley 25/1 (E/W) – has mixed results at the RSM Classic with 2 MC’s in his previous two visits to Sea Island. Prior to that he had a run of 3 straight Top 10 finishes from 2014 to 2016. A T29 in his last outing at the Houston Open was preceded by 2 Top 4 finishes in both the CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship. Statistically balanced, he places just outside the Top 10 in this week’s Stats Analysis table, topping the pile in Par 4 Scoring. Currently 10th on Tour for GIR and 5th for Scoring Average. Has excelled on courses where wind is a factor highlighted by previous victories at the Sony Open and Honda Classic. Event Form check, Current Form check, Stats Analysis check. What’s not to like?
Shane Lowry 40/1 (E/W) – first look at the Sea Island Resort for the likeable Irishman. A very respectable T25 at last week’s Masters was preceded with a T11 at the Houston Open. Despite weak statistics to date this season his performance last week and in particular at the Houston Open tempers expectation. Around Memorial Park he was 6th in Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green, 4th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and T5 for GIR. Finished in the Top 15 for Putts per GIR at Augusta National and if he brings that putting form to Sea Island then he should be in the mix. A windy, links-type course will sit well with the reigning British Open champion. Game looks to be on a good trajectory. Value pick.
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