The TOUR heads south from Augusta National to Georgia’s coast for the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort. The tournament will be played on two courses this week, with the first two days rotating between the Seaside and Plantation Course, with the tournament moving back to Seaside on the weekend.
The RSM Classic is a tournament that has given way to first-time winners and longshots. Since 2013, the average winning odds have been +10400, with Mackenzie Hughes being the longest at +25000 in 2016 and Kevin Kisner the shortest at +2200 in 2015.
If you’re looking at first-round leaders, they’ll most likely come from someone playing on the Plantation Course. The course is a short, par 72 and ranked inside the top 7 easiest courses last season in scoring relative to par (70.44 scoring average).
Top 15 in fairways gained over his past eight rounds and first in opportunities gained over the previous 12 rounds, Henley has all the makings to perform well here. He’s been gaining with his ball-striking in three straight tournaments and gets back on Bermuda grass, which should help address his putting woes over his past couple of tournaments. Henley’s game never really came around in Houston, but he did finish the tournament with his best score on Sunday, carding a 2-under. I don’t mind anyone taking Tyrell Hatton at +1800 if you’re looking to back the favorites. Missing the cut last week probably helps his chances this week, with fatigue not being an issue. Still, Henley gets top honors at this venue, a tournament he’s got three straight top 10s in from 2014 to 2016.
Born and raised in South Carolina and playing his college golf at the University of South Carolina, NeSmith should have experience playing in this part of the country and these windy conditions. He’s also played this course exceptionally well as an amateur. In 2015, NeSmith finished with a 14-under-par while winning the ABC Columbia and carded just one bogey on the weekend. His southern ties, along with his elite ball-striking — ranking second over his previous 12 rounds — makes him a viable longshot this week. An eighth-place finish at the Shriners proves he can hang (and beat) some of the best golfers on TOUR.
Missing the cut at Augusta National should never feel good, but in our case, when backing a golfer it’s considered a positive. We’ve rarely seen golfers play well in the next tournament after four rounds at a major. Poston’s first trip to The Masters ended on Friday, which means he’s rested and ready to back up his 14th-place finish here last season with another solid showing. Winner of the 2019 Wyndham Championship, Poston possesses the tee-game accuracy and the approach to play well on these courses. Poston has gained strokes with his irons in four of his past five measured events and is one of the best Bermuda putters in the field, ranking 10th over the past 12 rounds.
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