After a weekend in Margaritaville, Mexico where we saw Brandan Todd win his second tournament in as many tries, the Tour hops over to the Atlantic for the RSM Classic.
Saint Simons Island, Georgia has been home to many of golf’s best over the years and many continue to reside in this golfer’s paradise.
Here’s look at this chilled island via drone; it reminds me of the Everglades.
Situated in between Savannah and Jacksonville, this area of the country appears to be one of the most peaceful.
I know the parties pop off, though, as there is plenty of money floating around and some gorgeous courses of golf waiting to be played.
There is even a performance center for the gentleman’s game on the island.
The RSM Classic is in its 10th year and will be played on two courses.
- 54 of the holes on the Seaside Course
- And the other 18 on the Plantation Course
The Seaside Course is only about 7,000 yards and a wide-open potential birdie fest as long as the sea breeze doesn’t get out of hand as it often does.
The greens are Bermuda Grass and are widely regarded by players and caddies as the most difficult element of the course.
The Plantation Course is rated even less difficult. There are 11 water hazards, though, so golfers will need to exercise some restraint and control when approaching the greens.
The fairways are tree-lined but plenty wide and there are 3 reachable par 5’s. Approach, solid caddying reading the greens, and precision putting will be the keys to success this weekend.
The wind is expected to pick up on the weekend as well so golfers who perform well on coastal courses will have an advantage in the later rounds.
This course is so well-known amongst the golfing elite of the PGA Tour that it is going to be difficult to simply glimpse at course history or who lives here and make our picks.
Most of the golfers who have finished top five or even won here have a missed cut or two on the record as well.
online betting site BetOnline has the odds for us this week.
Before we get into our predictions, let’s quickly recap how we did south of the border last week in Playa del Carmen.
Mayakoba Classic Recap
One of our picks, Danny Lee got off to a blazing start with an opening round 62 at the Mayakoba only to trickle down the leaderboard ever so slowly like the tears of Alabama fans less than two weeks ago.
After day one, I was kicking myself for not taking him as a top ten, five, or even winner.
In the fourth round, I still had confidence our (+225) would hit as he only needed to finish tied for 20th or better. The Earth’s orbit of the sun had other plans, though. Charlie Murphy!
Darkness enveloped the course as Danny was teeing up the 16th and after a quadruple bogey, they decided to stop play.
Lovely, just lovely. Considering he finished two strokes behind the pay line, people were mad!
He had been slipping for a while, sure, but what a tough break!
Viktor Hovland never really showed up for us and missed his first cut since January.
Charles Howell III, the RSM Classic defending champion, snuck into the top 20 for a (+140) payout preventing the shutout.
Let’s get to the betting odds and picks for the RSM Classic from Saint Simons Island, Georgia.
Who? You know… Mark Hubbard… He’s currently ranked 17th in the FedEx Cup Standings. That’s a good start.
He is an excellent putter and his approach game has been red hot as well this Fall. Both of these parameters historically are keys to success at this tournament.
I like this guy. He was all-state in Colorado high school basketball and mentioned that if he wasn’t playing golf, he would just move to Bora Bora, open a tiki bar, and disappear.
My kinda guy. His recent form is decent for a player of his caliber. He’s just 30 too so his game could just be coming around.
In the past two months, he has a top ten at the Greenbrier, a 13th place finish at the Safeway Open, and a runner-up to Lanto Griffin down in Houston last month.
That 2nd place finish was on this week’s putting surface of Bermuda Grass and he has a win on the Korn Ferry Tour with BG greens as well.
He is ranked 35th in approach on the season and, get this, 9th in total putting.
Hubbard hasn’t performed great here but he seems to be a bit of a late bloomer in the game of golf. Coming up in the mountains in Colorado and playing basketball didn’t help but the fact that he has made it this far at the age of 30 says a lot.
Mark does have one top twenty finish at the RSM. I think he has about a 30% chance to do it again. (+450)? Okay.
I spoke earlier about the tough break that hit Danny Lee and his backers but Russell Henley was on the receiving end of a tough one himself.
Henley was rolling right along at 7 under par in the second round when absolute disaster struck.
He noticed that he had a golf ball that was slightly different than the rest in his bag. It is strictly against PGA rules to use more than one brand of golf ball during a tournament.
Russell was signing balls for fans earlier in the day and it somehow made its way in there.
He self-reported this and told the rules officials that he must have already used it during play.
Henley didn’t have to tell on himself and he didn’t have to say he used it.
It’s a good thing he’s found himself an honest profession like golf because the former Sea Island resident would make a terrible criminal.
With only one bogey in the 36 holes he was able to play, his form is just fine.
I expect he enjoyed a few Tequila-based cocktails on Friday night and woke up to find a firm chip on his shoulder the next morning.
He isn’t the greatest putter but manages to perform at a high level at this course regardless.
As I said, the Georgia native used to live here and his new home is just a few miles up the coast in charming Charleston, SC.
How does he perform at this tournament, in particular, though?
He did miss the cut last year but in his previous three outings on the Island, he has 10, 6th, and 4th place finishes.
Okay, so the 28-year-old Arkansas-native has not been playing very well lately. He shot 3 over for the first two rounds last week at a glorified resort-level course in Mexico and easily missed the cut.
His prior appearance at the Houston Open, though, was pretty solid. Austin finished up tied for 17th. This was preceded by three missed cuts and 14th at the Greenbrier in early September. So, not great form for the young man but flashes of solidity.
His course history is another story, though.
In just two appearances at the RSM Classic, he has a 1st place finish and managed 11th in 2018.
For a course that is so well known by so many great golfers, winning on your first try says a lot.
He also came within one shot of tying Kevin Kisner’s course record as he wrapped up his debutant performance 21 under par and 4 shots ahead of the rest of the field.
I did mention that all the top fivers and winners here all have at least one missed cut.
Could this be Austin’s down year? Maybe. Some would argue yes and point out his abysmal (+3) in Playa del Carmen last week.
Because of the rain delay, some golfers played nearly two rounds on Monday of this week. That’s not much turnaround time to get ready for an early Thursday tee time.
Whether or not Austin was enjoying the sexy sand and strong cocktails all while looking ahead to this week’s tournament where he already knows he can win, we may never know.
I like the fact that he didn’t have to deal with doubling up rounds of golf a day after the tourney was already supposed to be finished. He nearly broke the course record in his first appearance at the RSM.
Even with the crappy recent form, I’ll take him at more than 3-1 to sneak into the 20 best.
I really need to get out to this part of the country. I’ve managed to make it to 49 states but all I could really tell you about Georgia is that the Atlanta airport is a hot mess.
Georgia beaches are rarely mentioned. South Carolina has Myrtle and Charleston. North Carolina has the Cape Fear coast and the Outer Banks.
Florida is Florida with Daytona, St Pete, and Miami.
The more research I did on the Saint Simons Island area, the more I feel drawn to it. Maybe it’s the fact that so many great golfers have played here.
The SEC Championship is played here and countless players have lived on the peaceful Island.
As for our picks this week, I went with some pretty long odds in hopes of hitting 2 out of 3.
Mark Hubbard is just 30 years old and playing some of the best golf of his career and dominates Bermuda Grass putting surfaces.
Russell Henley is mad, y’all.
Okay, I hope he’s not still that upset but let’s hope said emotion evolves into determination after his 8 stroke penalty last week at the Mayakoba.
Lastly, Austin Cook nearly took the course record on his first attempt.
I said that already but it’s worth repeating.
Including our golf picks section, we are in the green over the past month so get those bets in now and enjoy the links this weekend.
Tune in and turn up, team!