The First Tee – RSM Classic by Adam Daly

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff November 13, 2017 22:07

The First Tee – RSM Classic by Adam Daly

THE COURSE

There are actually TWO courses this week for the RSM Classic, taking place at the Sea Island Resort in Georgia. The first of the two courses, the Seaside Course, is a par-70 and gets played three times during the event, while the second (Plantation) is a par-72 that gets played just the once. Scoring here tends to be in the teens, from -14 in 2010 up to Kevin Kisner’s -22 in 2016.

The Seaside course is short at only 7005 yards, with two medium par-5s (582/565, 19 eagles and 283 birdies last year) and ten par-4s between 400-452 yards. There’s one extremely short par-4, the 368-yard 8th, which last year saw one eagle and 63 birdies (-0.114 scoring average). The coastal course plays in the links-style and has Bermuda greens with very wide fairways. Off the tee, golfers will have an easy time hitting fairways and will be able to blast driver if they want a short wedge in. Given that Driving Distance has the largest correlation to making birdie (2012-16), targeting bombers even on a short course will be very helpful. On approach, the greens on the Seaside course are larger but not very receptive (although typically soft), with undulations that don’t hold balls very well. That leads to a heavier emphasis on Scrambling %, per the stats below.

The Plantation course is a completely different beast when compared to the Seaside; it’s a par-72, it’s protected from the winds which makes tee shots more manageable, it’s also a short track (7058 yards for a par-72 is incredibly short), and the greens are much smaller for these 18. Three of the par-5s are short and very scoreable (529, 555, 519). Golfers will need to be nails on approach when they play here given the small greens, which also pushes Scrambling % up the list given how many greens get missed in regulation. Much like the Seaside course, said greens are also Bermuda grass.

STATS

The Strokes Gained stats to focus on in order (not including Tee to Green):

  • Approach
  • Off-The-Tee
  • Putting
  • Around the Green

Counting stats to focus on in order:

  • Birdie or Better %
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Scrambling %
  • Greens in Regulation %
  • 3-Putt Avoidance %

The Golfers

Charles Howell III ($9500): Chucky Three Sticks finished T13 here last year, T9 in 2016 and T7 in 2012, not missing any cuts in that time. He’s entering the week with four straight made cuts including a T4 last week at the OHL Classic and two other top-20 finishes.

Howell isn’t the longest hitter at 296 (ranking 62nd), but his proximity is solid (58th) from short distances, and his Bermuda putting is solid. On a course where lots of greens get missed thanks to the smallness of Plantation greens and the tough setup on the Seaside course, Howell’s 62% scrambling number (25th) stands out as one of the factors going in his favour. Typically, Howell’s poor accuracy off the tee will hurt him, but with incredibly wide fairways for 54 holes, he’ll be in fine shape. He’s excellent at scoring on par-5s, and with nine chances to score on short ones (assuming a made cut), he should be a step above with his 45.97% Par-5 BoB.

In a field where Kisner (past winner), Hadley (lots of juice behind him) and Schniederjans are all priced around him, Howell should see repressed ownership and has both the statistical acumen and course history/great form to show very well.

Also consider: Hadley ($10,200), Kuchar ($11,100)

Values:

Patrick Rodgers ($7500): P-Rod finished T10 here last year and made the cut in his one other try here, and enters the week with great form – just the one missed cut in five fall events, and two top-25s including last week’s T14. He can smash the ball (18th in DD last year), and although 2017’s scrambling number was a touch rough, through his 107 missed greens in 2018 he’s scrambled for par or better on 66 of them. Once the courses get tougher he’ll fade away, but with good history and reasonably good form coming into the week, he’s a bargain at $7500 and scores well which is great for DraftKings scoring.

Hudson Swafford ($7300): The Swafficer is 50% in made cuts here, but one of those was a T10. He’s a long hitter that can scramble from the fringe but struggles from the rough, so it’ll be imperative he hits greens in regulation – luckily, he was 23rd in that regard last season.

Other values: Gooch ($7200), Poston ($7200)

Good luck this week! You can follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey if you have any questions, and my DMs are always open.

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff November 13, 2017 22:07

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