The final full-field event of the 2019 portion of the PGA Tour schedule takes place this week with the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club. A field of 151 golfers will be trying to put an end to Brendon Todd‘s unlikely reign after back-to-back victories at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic. Webb Simpson, ranked No. 12 by the Official World Golf Ranking, is the top golfer scheduled to tee off Thursday morning. Below, we make our betting picks to win the 2019 RSM Classic.
A select group of golfers will participate in Tiger Woods‘ Hero World Challenge in The Bahamas in the first week of December. The Presidents Cup and QBE Shootout will follow suit to officially close the calendar year. The Sentry Tournament of Champions will open the 2020 portion of the season in Hawaii before the Sony Open welcomes the next full field. Many of the world’s top golfers are participating in the DP World Tour Championship this week, leaving us a weaker field in Glynn County, Georgia. Each of the last five RSM Classic champs and two 2019-20 winners will be among those trying to put a stop to Todd’s run.
The course: Sea Island Golf Club
The RSM Classic is split between two courses at Sea Island GC; the Seaside Course and the Plantation Course. Each golfer will play one of their first two rounds on the latter, with the other three being played on Seaside.
Seaside measures 7,005 yards and plays as a par 70. Ten holes played below par last year. The easiest was the par-5 15th with a scoring average of 4.322 and twenty-two eagles over the course of the tournament. The par-3 third played was the most difficult with a scoring average of 3.135.
Plantation was recently redesigned by host Davis Love III and his brother, Mark. It now measures 7,060 yards (up roughly 150 yards from a year ago) and plays to a par of 72. Ten holes played below par in 2018. The par-5 16th was the easiest with a scoring average of 4.452. The most difficult was the par-3 15th at 3.316 strokes.
Charles Howell III won last year’s event at 19-under par. The last four champion scores have ranged from minus-17 to Kevin Kisner‘s 72-hole record of minus-22.
Key stats to consider for the RSM Classic
The stats best-aligned with success at Seaside Island are Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, Strokes Gained: Short Game, Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Scrambling, courtesy of course history data from Data Golf and Fantasy National. Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 Yards should also be considered with the majority of the par 4s on the course falling between that range.
Be sure to also look at current form and course history. My model at Fantasy National looks at the performance of each golfer over their most recent 50 rounds.
RSM Classic betting picks: Sleepers and value bets
Munoz is an attractive pick at a high number. The Sanderson Farms Championship winner has slipped back to No. 127 in the world after missing the cut at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and last week’s Mayakoba Classic. He made the cut at both the Safeway Open (T-33) and Houston Open (T-28). He ranks ninth overall by the stat model with a top field rank of sixth in SG: Short Game. The 26-year-old from Colombia missed the cut here last year and in 2016, but he proved earlier this season he can compete in these early-season fields so long as his short game isn’t holding him back.
Sabbatini skipped last year’s event following a missed cut in 2017. He was T-45 the year before and finished T-22 in 2014. He finished T-33 and T-31 during the Tour’s swing through Asia last month and picked right back up with a 33rd-place finish last week.
A six-time PGA Tour champion, Sabbatini hasn’t found the winner’s circle since the 2011 Honda Classic. He comes into the week ranked second behind Simpson in the stat model with top ranks of sixth in SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Scrambling. He has gained 0.07 strokes per round at this venue over 16 rounds played since 2010. Familiarity, even without success, will play to his advantage.
Harman comes into the week ranked 123rd in the world. He started the year with three straight top-20 results before missing the cut at the Houston Open. He finished T-72 in a stronger field last week but dropped another 22 spots in the OWGR. Harman made the cut in three of his last five appearances with a top result of T-4 in 2017. The 32-year-old is a native of Savannah, Georgia and picked up his last PGA Tour win in the far more competitive Wells Fargo Championship in 2017.
He ranks seventh by the stat model by leaning on strengths of scrambling and par-4 scoring. He has gained 0.77 strokes per round at Seaside Island GC over 20 total rounds since 2010.
RSM Classic betting picks: Our winner
Kisner won here in the fall of 2015. After missing the cut the following year, he tied for fourth in 2017 and tied for seventh last year. Only Jim Furyk and Simpson have gained more strokes per round at this venue since 2010 among those in the field with at least 11 rounds played since 2010.
Kis has slipped to No. 34 in the OWGR after winning last spring’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He hasn’t finished higher than T-28 in three events this year, but he was T-9 at both the BMW Championship and Tour Championship to conclude the 2018-19 campaign. The Presidents Cup snub will be looking for a little revenge on Woods to end the year.