This is a full field event which features upwards of 150 golfers and will have the cut take place after Fridays round. As the last event in the Fall series this will also be the players last shot at grabbing a win before the start of the real PGA season in January. Tour vets and multiple winners Zach John, Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk will all be in attendance and give some teeth to this field. As with most fall series events however a lot of recent web.com tour grads and fringe players will round out the field and mean extra research will be required when looking for those diamonds in the rough at lower salary points.
Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia: Par 70, 7,055 yards
Plantation Course, Sea Island, Georgia: Par 72, 7,058 yards (Thurs and Friday only)
This year the tournament will feature two different courses. On Thursday and Friday players will both play the Seaside (the host course) and the Plantation course once and then the weekend players will play Sat and Sunday on the Seaside course only. This is going to play a big factor this weekend as the Plantation course carries four par 5’s (compared to only two for the Seaside course) and is much less wind exposed, meaning it could play up to 2 shots easier than the host course. Knowing which days your players will on which course will be crucial and I’d suggest using the weather forecast to help you make decisions. Getting players with less breezy days on the Seaside course will be crucial to success.
The courses themselves are shorter in nature and favour players who rely on accuracy over power. Many players who have had success at this event have also had success at other short seaside courses like Hilton Head and Waialae Country Club, which also feature Bermuda grass and are wind exposed like the courses this week. Looking for specialists on these sorts of tracks isn’t a bad plan and something I’d recommend considering when making your lineups.
Last 5 winners
– 4 of the last 5 winners had a T5 or better at either the RBC Heritage (Hilton Head) or the Sony Open (Waialae Country Club) before their win at the RSM.
– 4 of the last 5 winners have ranked 33rd or better in par 4 scoring in the year of their victory
Par 4 scoring
Strokes gained total
Given both the makeup of the course and past results I think we can conclude that driving accuracy will be a factor this week. The fairways aren’t huge at the Seaside course and from what I’ve heard the Plantation course has even narrower landing areas. Placement off the tee is big here and past winners and top 5er’s at this event have generally done well in this category throughout their careers. As mentioned above par 4 scoring has been crucial for past winners and with the main course being a par 70 and having only two par 5’s I’d continue to rely on that stat this week. Playing the par 4’s well this week will be crucial to success. Finally I think looking at strokes gained total is a good stat to use this week too. Past winners have generally been ranked inside the top 50 of this category in the year of their win and been strong all around players.
The Hot List
– Patton Kizzire has had a great start to the fall series with a 4th, 2nd, and 5th in his last four starts, the rookie is playing great golf of late and looks to have a ton of confidence.
– Patrick Rodgers is another player who is in his first year full-time on tour. He’s gone 10th, 20th, 13th, 6th, in his last 4 starts and also looks ready for his first win soon.
– Charles Howell III always seems to go under the radar, but he’s now made four cuts in a row and finished inside the top 17 in three of his last four events.
– Justin Thomas picked up his first win a few weeks ago and has gone 27th, 1st, 3rd in his three fall series starts, he’s in great form.
– Johnson Wagner has now made three cuts in a row and finished 15th and 8th in his last two starts, he’s a player to keep an eye on as well.
The Not List
– Brendon Todd has had an uncharacteristic bad run of form lately and now missed three cuts in a row. He’ll be dicey play this week.
– Jonas Blixt finished last year strong but has struggled so far in the fall series missing three cuts in a row, he’s not someone I’d consider rostering at the moment.
– Tim Clark has now gone 34th-MC-MC-MC in his last four starts. The diminutive South African fits this course well though and this might be his last chance to use his long putter before the rule change, he could still be a gpp target this week.
– Harris English hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the fall series either, he missed his last cut and only had finishes of 23rd and 43rd in events preceding that.
This is a big field and even though most of the elite golfers on the PGA are taking the week off there’s some big names you can get at pretty good value this week. I’d personally look for players who have had success either at this event or one of the correlation courses I mentioned earlier and try and build some experienced teams based off those results. The wind and tight fairways this week should mean first timers may struggle a bit with the setup and so I’m personally valuing experience a little more than I have in past fall series events. There’s good value all over the board this week so pick the players you think have a great shot at winning from the top tiers and build around them.
My Pick: Kevin Kisner
I love the setup this week and think this course is taylor-made for a player like Kisner who relies more on accuracy with his irons than sheer power off the tee. Kisner has a nice record here and is coming off his fourth near miss of 2015. I think he finally breaks through this week.
My Sleeper: Michael Thompson
Thompson is very familiar with this course as he’s practiced in this area for some time. Thompson is in better form than people realize and also has a nice record at this event with a 3rd and 10th here in past years. I think he’s a very under the radar play this week who could prove fruitful. A top ten is very possible from the former tour winner.