Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's PGA Tour event, the RSM Classic at Sea Island.
- Golf expert Niall Lyons has tips for the RSM Classic, including a 150/1 headline selection.
- The RSM Classic will take place at Sea Island Golf Club between Thursday 19th and Sunday 22nd November.
- Webb Simpson is currently the favourite to win the RSM Classic, at a best price of 10/1.
RSM Classic Winner
We are nearing the end of a long year for many reasons and the penultimate event on the PGA Tour makes its way to Sea Island for the RSM Classic. The Plantation course hosts one round for the golfers between Thursday and Friday with the final two rounds taking place on the Seaside track. The Plantation course is the easier of the two boasting wide fairways and plenty of birdie opportunities. The Seaside track is a tougher examination although does depend on the wind to test the players. It looks like they'll get a fair bit of it this week so it should be an interesting affair. The field is impressive enough for this time of year and the week after the last major. There have been plenty of big priced winners here and with scores likely to reach to the high teens at least it could pay to swerve the favourites as a birdie fest certainly levels the playing field.
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Patton Kizzire at 150/1 (8 places)
I'm very surprised at the 150/1 across the board about Patton Kizzire. The Alabama native enjoyed a good run last time out at Houston finishing 11th gaining strokes in all departments of the game. Previous to that he finished inside the top 25 at the Shriners meaning 7 out of the last 8 rounds he has posted have been in the 60s. At an event where putting matters more than usual Kizzire makes great gains. He has gained over 7 strokes on the greens in his last three events and has only lost ground on the field in 3 of his last 13 events. Bermuda is comfortably his favoured surface also. His two wins on the tour have come at coastal, classical tracks at Waialee and El Camaleon. Coastal, Bermuda tracks give Kizzire his best opportunity to win and given his last two performances and how hot he is with the putter he ranks one of the better outsiders I've seen all year.
3pts each-way P. Kizzire 150/1 (1/5 8 places)
Joaquin Niemann at 40/1 (6 places)
From towards the top of the market I like Joaquin Niemann. The Chilean has top 5s at the Sentry and Heritage, another two courses by the coast. His short game remains an issue but with greens easier to hit here than usual he could contend given his suitable ball flight in the forecast wind. He finished inside the top 25 at the US Open and has followed that with 13th at the Shriners, 6th at the CJ Cup and 17th at the Zozo. Those performances are in strong enough fields and Niemann should relish this slight drop in grade. Shouldn't need to pitch around the greens too often which is a weakeness of his so worth playing this week in the windy conditions.
2pts each-way J. Niemann 40/1 (1/5 6 places)
Harold Varner at 80/1 (8 places)
I'm prepared to take the chance on Harold Varner this week. From tee to green he has produced some super performances in the last few months but the problems remain on the greens. If he can turn around his fortunes with the putter then he could be a big runner at a tasty price. He finished inside the top 30 in the PGA gaining over 7 strokes from tee to green and has bettered those figures twice since gaining 10 strokes tee to green at the Wyndham finishing 7th and 10 strokes in Houston finishing 15th. 13th at the Shriners was another sign he isn't too far away. The upturn on the greens could be happening right now with three of his last five events producing positive strokes gained on the greens. This was after 9 events on the trot where he lost strokes to the field on the greens. Things could be turning and with a 6th placed finish at Mayakoba noted he is interesting at 80/1.
1pt each-way H. Varner 80/1 (1/5 8 places)
Sepp Straka at 90/1 (7 places)
Sepp Straka performed admirably in Houston last time out and could benefit from two tracks here that don't test you that much from tee to green. He has only produced two events from the last ten with positive strokes gained around the greens. That is where his problem lies and when we land at an event where greens easier to hit than the tour average he must be taken into consideration. This often turns into a putting contest and the Austrian fairs very well in that department. He has gained strokes on the field in 9 of his last 11 events on the greens and could easily contend should he continue in this manner. Missed two cuts here in the last two years but wasn't putting anywhere near the standard that he is now.
1pt each-way S. Straka 90/1 (1/5 7 places)
Russell Knox at 100/1 (8 places)
Russell Knox has been playing well lately and it's worth chancing that he has finally found his touch on the greens. He gained over four strokes on the greens last time out in Houston when finishing 16th. Previous to that he finished 16th at Bermuda. It looks like all parts of his game are coming together at the right time. He has the perfect credentials for a classical test like this with runner ups at the Heritage and two top 3 efforts at Mayakoba. Those top 3 finishes in Mexico all came in November as did his win in the WGC HSBC so it could pay to take the gamble on Knox who is showing recently again that this is his favourite time of year.
1pt each-way R. Knox 100/1 (1/5 8 places)
Austin Cook at 80/1 (7 places)
Corey Conners interests given his upturn in fortunes on the greens but the bookmakers have a firm hold of his price this week. Chris Kirk is a former winner who could go well once again at a big price. Finally I'll opt for another former winner in the shape of Austin Cook. Cook finished 2nd at the Shriners a few weeks ago and arrives here in solid form with a top 25 finish in Houston. His favoured surface is Bermuda if he can produce a similar long game to that what he produced at the Shriners then there is no reason to suggest why he can't go ahead and win this for the second time.
1pt each-way A. Cook 80/1 (1/5 7 places)