This week the PGA Tour is heading once again back to the States to St. Simons Island, Georgia, and Sea Island Golf Club (at both the Seaside and Plantation courses). The format for this tournament will be different given the two courses, as the golfers will play both for the first two rounds, followed by play only on the Seaside course for the weekend. This is only the second year the RSM Classic is going to this format, designed to get a full 156-man field in without worries about darkness halting play.
Let’s take a deeper look at both of the courses this week. The Seaside course, where most of the golf will be played, is a par-70 ocean-side links course that has only two par-5s to go with four par-3s. A key stat this week that should produce solid scores is par-3 scoring due to this. The Seaside course is a beautiful course on the coast where the wind could come play an important factor, providing an exciting venue for the weekend.
The Plantation course should play much differently than the Seaside course, as it is a par-72 with four par-3s and four par-5s. This course played almost a stroke easier last year than the Seaside course, a trend we expect to continue this year, meaning the weekend might play tougher for the players. Stats for this course will not be as vital this week when playing DFS golf, however, as only one round over the week will be played here.
This is yet another tournament without premier players in the field like Spieth or McIlroy, but there happens to be one player that stood out in Sea Island…
Charles Howell III (DK $9,200) – CH3 is a guy that really sticks out this week as he is a member of the #SeaIslandMafia, which is the name for a group of Tour pros (led by Davis Love III) that live at Sea Island. CH3 has been improving with every tournament entered in the fall portion of the season, with finishes of 37th, 15th, and 7th in his last 3 events. In his last five times at the RSM Classic, he has finished 32nd, 7th, 27th, MDF, and 9th last year. His cut form is at a solid rate, as last season he made 81% of cuts, averaging just less than 70 DK points per event.
With the course having smaller greens, this means the approach is very important here. Last week CH3 was on top of his game in this area in Mayakoba, hitting just over 76% GIR. Just last year on Tour, he was ranked 8th in GIR from off the fairway. He also is a very consistent scorer, ranking 19th in Birdie or Better Rate, 18th in par-4 scoring, and 51st in par-3 scoring. Although he has struggled with his putter at times, his current form and course history make it a little easier to overlook that flaw at his home course. This year he is ranked 33rd in proximity to the pin from approaches, which should also ease the pressure on the putter.
With the fall swing coming to an end after this tournament, we look for this Sea Island resident to feel right at home and continue his hot hand this week. He is a player that you can safely build your cash and GPP lineups around given his cheap price, and we expect to see him in contention this weekend.