2021 RSM Classic Betting Stock Report: Cameron Smith, Talor Gooch Trending Upward at Sea Island
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Smith
For many PGA Tour fans and bettors, this portion of the season can drag on. The majors and the FedEx Cup feel so far away while other sports dominate the landscape. Many big name players make few if any starts during the fall stretch.
For other players, like those newly on Tour or battling for status in future years, this is a pivotal time to play well. Some of the PGA Tour’s younger stars are names to watch this week, like Scottie Scheffler, the favorite to win at just +1000. It would be Scheffler’s first win on Tour despite his strong play during his first few seasons as a pro.
Bettors would be wise to keep their eyes a bit further down the board where some golfers riding recent success could make for profitable picks.
Talor Gooch is currently playing some of the best golf of his career. The 30-year-old has missed just one cut since May and has finished in the top 15 in four of his last five starts. According to True Strokes Gained analytics from DataGolf, Gooch has been a top-20 player in the world over the last three months.
Gooch has been fueled by his ball striking. In the seven events he has played in the last three months, Gooch’s irons have been stellar, ranking eighth in the world in Strokes Gained: Approach over that period.
Australian Cameron Smith has been similarly hot in recent months. Smith ranks seventh worldwide in True Strokes Gained in the last three months, earning a top five finish in two of his last five starts. Smith has finished in the top 35 of every event he has played since the US Open in June.
Despite playing elite level golf for most of 2021, Smith failed to win a tournament during the calendar year. If he continues to play as well as he has of late, that won’t remain the case for long.
Lanto Griffin cooled off a bit last week, finishing T64 in Houston, but he remains a player to watch given his current form. In two events in October, Griffin averaged 1.64 Strokes Gained: Putting per round, placing him among the hottest putters on Tour.
He finished in the top 10 of both of those events, continuing his success during the Tour’s “wrap-around” season. He managed four top-15 finishes between the Tour Championship and Players Championship last season.
Kevin Kisner is a name receiving some buzz this week and with good reason given his history at the RSM Classic. Kisner won the event in 2016 and recorded top-five finishes in the 2018 and 2021 seasons.
He does not, however, enter the tournament playing his best golf. Since his win to end the PGA Tour’s regular season at the Wyndham Championship, Kisner has made four starts and missed two cuts. In the two cuts he did make, he failed to sneak into the top 50 on the leaderboard.
Brian Harman played some exceptional golf last Spring and early into the Summer, earning a top 20 finish in 10 out of 15 starts at one point, but his game appears to have cooled off. Harman’s best finish since the Open Championship in July is just T29 and he’s missed three of eight cuts during that stretch.
Similarly, we saw great things from Kevin Streelman last season, especially at major championships. Streelman finished in the top 20 in all three majors that he played, peaking with a T8 finish at Kiawah.
Early this season, however, Streelman has struggled to get going. In the five events he has played in the 2022 FedEx Cup season, Streelman hasn’t finished higher than T31. His final round 75 this weekend sank him to a tie for 50th at the Vivint Houston Open. He’s played 10 rounds in the last 30 days and ranks outside the top 100 in the world in True Strokes Gained over that span.
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