PGA TOUR Odds: RSM Classic Preview at Sea Island Resort Seaside & Plantation Courses

Written By John Haslbauer on November 14, 2022
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Well wouldn’t you know it, just as I find myself in my first hot streak of the year, the season brings itself to a close. In any case, we’ll go for three straight outrights in PGA tour odds at the final full-field TOUR event in 2022, the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside and Plantation courses.

We’ve seen a very repeatable formula for yearly contenders at the RSM Classic. Keep the ball in play off the tee, hit greens in regulation and make putts. That’s the standard formula for most Fall Swing birdie-fests. But, if Sea Island has a unique identity, it’s its exposure to the wind and removal of any real distance advantage. This week, I’m looking most closely at players who excel in Approach Proximity from 100-175 yards, Birdies or Better Gained, SG: TOT on Comp Short, Easy, Coastal Courses and SG: P (Bermuda).

Now let’s get into the key facts and info about the Sea Island Resort Seaside and Planation courses before betting RSM Classic odds.

RSM CLASSIC ODDS: THE FAVORITES

To compare PGA TOUR odds in legal sports betting states, as well as other RSM Classic offerings, scroll to the bottom of this post.

T. Finau
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+900
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+800
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+800
B. Harman
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+1800
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+2200
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+2000
J. Day
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+2200
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+2200
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+2500
S. Power
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+2500
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+2000
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+2500
T. Hoge
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+2000
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+2600
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+3000
T. Montgomery
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+2500
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+2900
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+2800

RSM CLASSIC PGA TOUR ODDS: FIELD AT A GLANCE

We’re not exactly going out with a bang here in the final full-field event of 2022. Tony Finau will be the only player inside the OWGR top-20. After Finau, Brian Harman ranks next, quietly creeping his way up to No. 24 in the world. That may shock considering he still has not won a professional event since 2017. In any case, he’s managed seven top-10 finishes in 2022 and will be a strong fit as a local from Savannah, Ga.

In a second tier, Seamus Power will look to stay hot after finishes of first and third in his last two starts. Tom Hoge, Taylor Montgomery, Sahith Theegala, Mackenzie Hughes, Scott Stallings and Matthew NeSmith each enter in top form through the end of the Fall Swing and will be worth consideration to close out the year.

Sea Island, which sits midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, has been a hotbed for PGA TOUR talent. This week’s field will be chock full of locals who have great familiarity with Sea Island Resort. Some notables include Harris English, Keith Mitchell, JT Poston, Kevin Kisner, Patton Kizzire, Brian Harman, Ben Griffin, Will Gordon, Michael Thompson, Zach Johnson, Davis Thompson and Greyson Sigg.

The RSM Classic past champions are back in full force this week. Robert Streb, Tyler Duncan, Austin Cook, Hughes, Kisner, Chris Kirk and Tommy Gainey will all return to tee it up. Defending champion Talor Gooch and 2019 winner, Charles Howell III, will not be here for a title defense after joining LIV.

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INTRODUCTION TO SEA ISLAND RESORT

Sea Island Resort is a popular destination for both amateur and professional golfers alike, featuring two 18-hole courses. Both will be used in rotation for the RSM Classic. The field of 156 will rotate between the Seaside and Plantation course Thursday and Friday. After the first two days, the top-65 and ties will advance. All remaining players will play the weekend on the Seaside Course.

Similar to Torrey Pines’ rotation of the North and South Courses, players must capitalize on their one round on the Plantation Course this week. It plays to a scoring average of 1.6 under par, versus Seaside which averages 0.9 under par. Davis Love III led a renovation project in 2019 to help add a bit more bite to the Plantation Course. However, it still remains a layout upon which PGA TOUR players have continued to feast, generally protected from the coastal winds with four par 5s at just 7,060 yards in total.

The Seaside Course is the only one of the two equipped with ShotLink data, and three out of four rounds this week will be played there. So, we won’t focus much on Plantation, beyond the baseline understanding that players can attack aggressively and stockpile birdies in easy scoring conditions.

How It Breaks Down

The Seaside Course stands at 7,005 yards as a par 70 with two par 5s, four par 3s, and 12 par 4s. Of those par 4s, 10 will play under 450 yards, which has lead to a very repeatable track record from accurate players, particularly those who excel on Approach from the sweet spot of 100-175 yards.

There is not a “beast” of a hole at Sea Island. The most difficult scoring hole is the 442-yard par-4 14th, which averages just 0.1 strokes over par. That’s a stark contrast from the scoring conditions we just witnessed in Houston, and undoubtedly a return to the birdie-fest, putting contest set-ups that are more the norm in the Fall Swing. In total, 15 holes feature a scoring average of even or below.

Sea Island’s best defense is without a doubt the wind, with its exposure to the Atlantic coastline. Talor Gooch was outspoken after his dominant victory here last year that his comfort in flighting balls down beneath Oklahoman winds growing up played a huge role in his success at Sea Island. Wind is the most unpredictable weather condition, so it’s difficult to say how much of an influence that will have on the tournament at this stage of the week. However, referencing ball-striking performance on comparable short coastal courses has proven a strong indicator of success at this event.

Traits And Recent Notable Facts

However you look to slice it, Sea Island Resort has one of the easiest layouts on the PGA TOUR. It is relatively defenseless without intervention from extreme weather conditions. Over the last five years, it ranks bottom five in course yardage, driving accuracy difficulty, putting difficulty and Around-the-Green difficulty (from the bunkers and rough).

The fairways measure among the widest on the PGA TOUR, but with water in play on 14 holes, a steep penalty for wayward drives exists. This has favored more accurate drivers despite the wide landing areas. The Bermuda greens are large and fast at Sea Island, which has historically placed more of a premium on 3-putt avoidance, and favored strong long-term putters on pure Bermuda grass.

In short, it’s a bona fide second shot course set-up and will favor players strongest on approach from 100-175 yards who can keep a hot putter over four days.

SEA ISLAND RESORT SEASIDE AND PLANTATION COURSE SPECS

  • Yards (SS): 7,005
  • Yards (P): 7,060
  • Par (SS): 70 (4x 3s / 12x 4s / 2x 5s)
  • Par (P): 72 (4x 3s / 10x 4s / 4x 5s)
  • Greens (Both): Bermuda
  • Architect (SS): Tom Fazio
  • Architect (P): Davis Love III (2019 redesign)
  • Historical Cut Line: -5
  • Median Score 4-round Score: -7 (’22), -9 (’21), E (’20), -9 (’19), -7 (’18)
  • Comp Courses: Waialae CC, Pebble Beach, El Camaleon, Port Royal, Sedgefield CC, Harbour Town, TPC Summerlin, Stadium Course
  • Recent Winners: Talor Gooch -22 (’22), Robert Streb -19 (’21), Tyler Duncan -11 (’20), Charles Howell III -19 (’19), Austin Cook -21 (’18)
  • Hole-by-hole Breakdown:

COURSE HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS

He’s continued to nurse himself back to full health over the last year, but Webb Simpson remains the top player in this field in terms of SG: TOT at Sea Island Resort. He has not looked like himself since his T13 finish at the Travelers Championship five months ago. But, with four top 10s (including a T8 last year) and no finishes outside the top 40 over seven career appearances, he may be worth a flyer at discounted odds based on the stellar course history alone.

After Webb, the rest of the top-10 in Course History is rounded out with Kevin Kisner, Chris Kirk, John Huh, Matthew NeSmith, Zach Johnson, Robert Streb, Brian Gay, Tom Hoge and Luke List. That list presents a very clear bias towards the Sea Island locals who have more familiarity with these coastal, Bermuda conditions.

Five players have avoided missing the cut at the RSM Classic over the last five years with a minimum of three starts: Simpson, Zach Johnson, NeSmith, Wyndham Clark, and Nate Lashley.

Twelve players have posted multiple top-15 finishes at this event over the last five years: Simpson, Zach Johnson, Kisner, NeSmith, Vaughn Taylor, Huh, Keith Mitchell, Brian Harman, List, Patton Kizzire, Denny McCarthy and Austin Cook.

Course Comps

Any time we travel to a sub-7,200 yard course, we tend to see the same usual suspects rise to the top of leaderboards. It’s always a good idea to start the weekly research by referencing performances on other recent short courses.

In my opinion, Waialae CC is the clear top comp course to Sea Island Resort. Unlike the other short courses, Waialae CC is the only one that shares all the same characteristics of Bermuda grass throughout, easy scoring conditions, open exposure to coastal winds and high overlap of crossover performance.

In addition to Waialae CC, I’m looking to Harbour Town, Sedgefield CC and Stadium Course as short Bermuda comps. From a short and coastal/windy perspective, I’ll also look to Pebble Beach, El Camaleon, Port Royal and TPC Summerlin.

Combine performance across this list and the top-10 players in Comp Course History here are Seamus Power, Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Tom Hoge, Kevin Kisner, Matthew NeSmith, John Huh, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Rodgers and Justin Rose.

KEY STATS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BETTING PGA TOUR ODDS

  • SG: APP
  • Prox: 100-175
  • Fairways Gained
  • GIRs Gained
  • Birdies or Better Gained
  • Par 4 Scoring / P4: 400-450
  • SG: P (Fast Bermuda)
  • SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions)
  • SG: T2G (<7,200 Yard Courses)
  • Course & Comp Course History

It has become increasingly clear over this Fall Swing that a combination of hot iron play and putting wins tournaments in easy scoring conditions. In terms of the irons, the top-10 players in SG: APP entering this week are Tom Hoge, Tony Finau, Brendan Steele, Mark Hubbard, Chesson Hadley, Lee Hodges, Ben Griffin, Adam Schenk, Matthew NeSmith and Davis Riley. The top-10 players in weighted putting (L36 rounds + Bermuda) are Taylor Montgomery, Adam Long, Beau Hossler, Andrew Putnam, Martin Trainer, Brendon Todd, Hadley, Kevin Kisner, Sepp Straka and Denny McCarthy.

Just six players rank top-40 in both SG: APP and Weighted Putting: Finau, Hoge, Sam Ryder, Hadley, Long and Hubbard.

Approach And Putting

Looking more granularly at the key proximity range of 100-175, where over 55% of approaches will funnel, the top 10 from this range are Ryan Moore, Hubbard, Russell Knox, Brian Stuard, Byeong Hun An, Scott Stallings, Francesco Molinari, Long, Hoge, and Davis Thompson.

Any time we get to a putting contest, I’m going to place a much heavier weight in my model on Birdies or Better Gained and Total Scoring in Easy Conditions. The top 10 in Birdies or Better Gained entering this week are Finau, Taylor Montgomery, Trey Mullinax, Griffin, Stephen Jaeger, Hoge, Dean Burmester, Taylor Moore, Justin Lower and Todd. A similar list of top players in Easy Scoring Conditions includes Seamus Power, JJ Spaun, Hoge, Moore, David Lipsky, Finau, Putnam, Troy Merritt, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Rodgers.

It’s a fairly simple formula for success this week, so the ideal player pool I’m looking to hone in on should rank above-average in Course & Comp Course History, SG: APP, Birdies or Better Gained, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), Prox: 100-175 and Weighted Putting. Eleven players fit that criteria, and I’ll have interest in all of them when odds release on Monday: Tom Hoge, Tony Finau, Matthew NeSmith, Ben Griffin, Brendon Todd, Brian Harman, Mark Hubbard, Chesson Hadley, Adam Svensson, Justin Rose and Davis Riley.

Correlations

Looking at the correlated stats with success at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort, SG: P and 3-Putt Avoidance make significant jumps inside the top 10. The lone exception compared to a typical birdie-fest is the de-prioritization of Par-5 Scoring, considering there are only two par 5s on the Seaside course. Both are reachable in two for a majority of the field.

Top 10 Correlated Stats with SG: TOT
Top 10 Correlated stats with SG: TOT at Sea Island (SS)

Twelve players in the field rank above average in each of the above 10 key stat categories: Tom Hoge, Tony Finau, Mark Hubbard, Taylor Moore, Jason Day, Chesson Hadley, Greyson Sigg, Sam Ryder, Scott Stallings, Dean Burmester, Callum Tarren and…JJ Spaun.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JJ SPAUN

In a setting where Robert Streb, Tyler Duncan, Charles Howell III, and Aaron Cook have won five of the last eight contests, the “JJ Spauns” of the world seem most able to take down the final full-field PGA TOUR event of the calendar year. That is, a TOUR-average journeyman who specializes in shorter, positional, easy-scoring layouts.

Spaun has had his moments in spurts since going pro in 2013. But after finally picking up his first career victory at this year’s Valero Texas Open, he seems to have gained some confidence and has started to turn a corner. He’s yet to miss a cut in his first five starts of the 2023 season, which includes three top-25 finishes over his last four starts.

Spaun’s form in comp conditions continues to tell a good story for what to expect at the RSM Classic. He ranks No. 2 in the field in SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions) and No. 15 in Comp Course History. TPC San Antonio is not one of the best comps for Sea Island Resort, but the ability to flight approach shots into high winds was pivotal for Spaun in his Valero Texas Open victory. That skillset should continue to suit him well this week. His track record at the RSM Classic backs the profile fit, as he finished runner-up here in 2017 and looked strong this time last year with a T16.

Spaun rated out No. 15 overall in my model this week, and I expect him to open up in the 75-to-1 odds range on Monday, which is where I’m looking to concentrate my exposure in one of the more volatile events of the year.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2023 RSM CLASSIC

At last year’s RSM Classic, I rolled out my longest outright betting card of the whole year, starting my card no shorter than 60-to-1 odds and embracing the volatility that comes with a putting contest in windy conditions split across multiple courses. Unfortunately, Talor Gooch was not on that long list of names, and a near-perfect four days of golf from him ultimately spoiled Mackenzie Hughes’ run for me. In any case, I fully expect to to roll out the same approach again this year, and go out with a bang: exposure to a long list of names.

With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the PGA TOUR odds as well. I’ve broken the list down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.

In my model, I’m emphasizing SG: APP, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), Birdies or Better Gained and Comp Course History, followed by a more balanced mix of Par-4: 400-450, Prox: 100-175, SG: T2G (<7,200 Yard Courses), Good Drives Gained and SG: P (L36 + Bermuda).

Model Favorites

I didn’t think it’d be possible to run a model in which Tony Finau would not emerge No. 1. But lo and behold, that’s what we’ve got this week. Already a winner on a short, coastal, rotating course set up this year, Tom Hoge claims the No. 1 overall spot. The TCU alum should be feeling good after the Horned Frogs’ big win over Texas this weekend, and his top-five ranks in SG: APP, Comp Course History, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), Birdies or Better Gained, Par-4: 400-450, Good Drives Gained, Prox: 100-175 and Course History all make for a compelling case to back him at Sea Island after a T4 showing last year.

The No. 2 spot in the model has been the more coveted however. Finau and Russell Henley have ranked there before wins in the last two weeks. If that trend continues, the Finau will have yet another showing of back-to-back victories. He is sure to post at single-digit odds on Monday, so you will not find me there this week.

After Hoge and Finau, the rest of my model’s top 10 features Matthew NeSmith, Ben Griffin, Brendon Todd, Brian Harman, Mark Hubbard, Taylor Moore, Jason Day and Andrew Putnam.

When odds open on Monday, I’ll likely skip the range below 40-to-1 in PGA TOUR odds and instead build around players like JJ Spaun, Griffin, and Greyson Sigg.

Check back in later this week for more updates, and best of luck betting PGA TOUR odds!

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John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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