The RSM Classic is the second-to-last event of the 2020-21 swing season and comes on the heels of the first November Masters in history.
After a terrific weekend at the majestic Augusta National Golf Course, the PGA Tour heads three hours North to Seaside Course in Sea Island, Georgia. The RSM Classic is played on two courses, the Seaside Course and Plantation Course, on Thursday and Friday before closing out the weekend on the Seaside Course.
Seaside Course: Par 70 – 7,005 Yards
Plantation Course: Par 72 – 7,060 Yards
Playing on two courses on Thursday/Friday is something to factor in, especially when you consider how different the two courses are. The Plantation Course has four Par 5's while the Seaside Course has just two. As a result, the Plantation Course should play to lower scores. The Seaside Course is more exposed to windy conditions, so using the weather forecast to find which players play the Seaside in better conditions can give you an edge.
According to the National Weather Service, there is a 20 percent chance of showers with windy conditions (14 to 20 mph) on Thursday, while Friday is expected to be much better--mostly Sunny with wind closer to 10 mph. This suggests that players starting on the Plantation Course on Thursday should have an advantage.
As for the courses themselves, neither is very long. As a result, put a premium on Driving Accuracy and Strokes Gained: Approach. Of the last five winners, only one ranked inside the top-75 in Driving Distance in 2020 (Charles Howell III - 2018).
Below are my favourite bets for the 2021 RSM Classic. You can wager on them at play.spreads.ca
Russell Henley (-125) over Harris English
These are two players I like but Henley is one of my favourites to win this week. Henley has come close in two of his last three starts, finishing T3 at the CJ CUP and T4 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. He's made nine consecutive cuts and has an impressive four top-10s in his last seven starts.
English has played very well too. Aside from a rare missed cut at the Shriners, English has been a top-20 machine. He's made the cut in 11 of his last 12 events with eight top-20s and three top-5s.
However, Henley has been the best iron player in this field (leads in SG:Approach), is the more accurate driver and he plays the Seaside Course on the better day (Friday). He checks all three of the boxes that I'm looking for this week versus English.
Russell Knox (-120) over Danny Willett
This should be a slam dunk for Knox. He's coming off of a T15 at the Houston Open, which was one week after his T16 at the Bermuda Championship. Overall, he has five top-25s in his last seven starts. He hasn't been excelling in one particular area, ranking 33rd in the field in SG: Approach and 57th in Driving Accuracy, but he just hasn't been as bad as Willett. The Englishman had a solid showing at The Masters, where he's a former winner, but before that he missed the cut in seven of nine events on the PGA and European Tour. Willett has not had a Top-20 since his T4 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in early-July and has been a disaster with his irons since the restart. This pick is more about thinking Willett will miss the cut than liking Knox for a top-10 finish.
Justin Rose (-125) over Ian Poulter
After a tough summer, Rose's game is starting to round back into form. He's now made the cut in five of his last six starts (only MC was the US OPEN) and has finished in the top-25 in three of those events. He wasn't perfect at Augusta National but he played well and showed signs that he could compete this weekend. Poulter's recent results are eerily similar to Rose's but he has to play the Seaside Course in the windier conditions. That advantage paired with the fact that Rose is the more accurate driver and the better iron player, makes him a no-brainer pick in this matchup.
Kevin Kisner (-125) over Brian Harman
Kisner is coming off of a disappointing showing at The Masters, missing the cut for the first time in his career. He has a lot of bounce-back potential this week, where he is a former winner (2016) and holds the tournament record for scoring (-22).
A matchup with Harman won't be easily won. Harman has made 11 consecutive cuts, with three top-15s and plenty of finishes around the top-25. With that said, Kisner is one of the best iron players in this field and is comfortable at Sea Island, having finished in the top-10 in three of his last five trips here. Both have top-20 potential but Kisner has the top-5 upside.
Louis Oosthuizen (-115) over Jason Day
These two players seem to be headed in opposite directions. Day got hot in July and August but has just one top-10 in his last eight starts, with four missed cuts mixed in. Meanwhile, Oosthuizen is coming off of a solid week at Augusta (T23) and has made 11 straight cuts on tour. In those 11 events, he has six top-25 and two top-10 finishes.
Oosthuizen surprisingly hasn't won on the PGA Tour since he won The Open Championship back in 2010, but he looks fully healthy and should be in contention at the RSM Classic. He hit plenty of fairways at The Masters, if he keeps that up this week, he should beat a struggling Day.
-- by Tommy Bits
Headline Photo Credit: Golf.com