2021 RSM Classic Odds, Picks, Preview: Harris English, Justin Rose Among Best Fits at Sea Island
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Harris English.
- The PGA TOUR heads to Sea Island for the 2021 RSM Classic this week.
- Two Ryder Cup winners are in the field, and one is a great fit for the courses this week.
- Matt Vincenzi lays out the key stats for bettors to follow this week and makes his betting picks.
2021 RSM Classic Odds
Click here to see the full odds board as of Monday
|Charles Howell III||+6000|
|Dawie Van Der Walt||+30000|
|Davis Love III||+100000|
The final event of the 2021 swing season has arrived. The PGA TOUR heads just south of Augusta for the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside and Plantation courses) in Saint Simons Island, Ga.
Each golfer will play three rounds on the Seaside course and one round on the Plantation course.
The Seaside course is a Par 70 layout, measuring 7,005 yards and the Plantation course is a Par 72 setup coming in at 7,062 yards. The Seaside course plays more like a coastal links course re-designed by Tom Fazio, while the Plantation course is similar to a tree-lined parkland course. Both feature bermudagrass greens and both will be very score-able. The past three winners of the event have all finished at 19 under par and won in a playoff.
Some notable players in the field include: Harris English, Russell Henley, Max Homa, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.
Past Winners at The RSM Classic
- 2020: Robert Streb (-19)
- 2019: Tyler Duncan (-19)
- 2018: Charles Howell III (-19)
- 2017: Austin Cook (-21)
- 2016: Mackenzie Hughes (-17)
- 2015: Kevin Kisner (-22)
Let’s take a look at several metrics for Sea Island Golf Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:
Strokes Gained: Approach
The greens at Seaside are big, so it will be important to stick approach shots close to avoid having to make difficult two-putt par saves. In what should be a birdie-fest, golfers will need to stick their approach shots to contend.
Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:
- Luke Donald (+21.5) (+35000)
- Russell Henley (+20.9) (+3000)
- Mito Pereira (+19.1) (+6000)
- Keegan Bradley (+18.8) (+6000)
- Kyle Stanley (+17.1) (+12500)
Length really isn’t a factor at either course. Looking at the past winners at Sea Island, they’re all accurate golfers off of the tee who know how to find the fairway.
Total Fairways Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Chez Reavie (+51.2) (+12500)
- Brian Stuard (+44.7) (+12500)
- Brice Garnett (+38.7) (+20000)
- Brendon Todd (+36.3) (+6600)
- Corey Conners (+36.1) (+2500)
Strokes Gained Putting: Bermudagrass
This tournament could become a putting contest if the winds aren’t strong this week. Historically, the winners of the RSM Classic are great bermudagrass putters (Simpson, Kisner and Hughes).
Total Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda in past 24 rounds:
- Cameron Smith (+21.3) (+15000)
- Chesson Hadley (+19.2) (+25000)
- Harry Higgs (+18.9) (+10000)
- Branden Grace (+18.4) (+2800)
- Brian Gay (+18.3) (+850)
Birdie or Better Gained
With birdies (and potentially some eagles) likely to come in abundance, pars aren’t going to cut it at Sea Island. I anticipate the winning score to be close to -20, so targeting golfers who go low is the right strategy here.
Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds
- Cameron Smith (+23.6) (+1600)
- Webb Simpson (+22.0) (+1400)
- Danny Lee (+17.8) (+7000)
- Scottie Scheffler (+17.4) (+1400)
- Hank Lebioda (+16.1) (+17500)
Strokes Gained: Par 4 (400-450)
With eight of the par 4’s on the Seaside course measuring 400-450 yards, I’m looking to target golfers who excel on Par 4s of this length.
Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:
- Tyler Duncan (+17.8) (+12500)
- Adam Scott (+17.0) (+4000)
- Mito Pereira (+13.0) (+6000)
- Alex Noren (+10.8) (+4000)
- Tom Hoge (+10.3) (+14000)
Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.
These rankings are comprised of SG: App (25%) Fairways Gained (21); SG: Putting bermudagrass (21%); B.O.B (21%); and, SG: Par 4 400-450 (12%)
- Webb Simpson (+1400)
- Russell Henley (+3000)
- Louis Oosthuizen (+2500)
- Max McGreevy (+35000)
- Cameron Smith (+1600)
- Harris English (+2800)
- Corey Conners (+2500)
- Joel Dahmen (+6600)
- Adam Hadwin (+6000)
- Adam Long (+15000)
2021 RSM Classic Best Bets
Harris English (+2800 | Bet365): On paper, there are few golfers who fit the Seaside Course better than Harris English. In his past 10 rounds, English is gaining 1.9 strokes on the field in “Good Drives Gained” (where the player either hits the fairway off the tee or the player misses the fairway, but still hits the green or fringe in regulation).
Although the fairways are wide, it will be important to find the right spots off of the tee in order to be able to fire at pins on these larger than TOUR average green complexes. Accurate drivers have consistently separated themselves from the pack at the RSM Classic in the past.
Another commonality that winners at Sea Island have shared is the likelihood to get it rolling with the putter on Bermudagrass greens. The 32-year-old is a very strong putter on Bermuda, gaining an average of 0.36 strokes per round on the field in the category. We have seen in the past that when Harris is rolling it well he can make huge putts down the stretch of a golf tournament.
As a Sea Island resident, the former Georgia Bulldog is extremely comfortable playing in the area, which is evidenced by his sixth-place finish last year. In the past, golfers who reside in the area or attended the Georgia have had a lot of success at the course, including Charles Howell III, Kevin Kisner and Chris Kirk.
English should feel right at home in this tournament and has the right skill set to emerge victorious at Sea Island.
Justin Rose (+6600 | BetMGM) Justin Rose might not be having his best few years on TOUR, but if there is one thing he can still do it’s take advantage of a short Bermuda track. When analyzing his past 50, 36, and 24 rounds; he ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on par-70 layouts under 7,200 yards that feature Bermuda grass greens. Regardless of time frame, there is no denying that this type of course is the ideal fit for the 41-year-old.
Although he missed the cut in his only previous start at the course, Rose does have some success at similar courses. I’m also willing to chalk up his poor performance last year being due to the event being held the week after The Masters, where he finished in 23rd place.
The Englishman doesn’t play too often on the PGA TOUR, but always shows up to the events that he knows he will be able to compete. Back in August, Rose played in the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club and finished in 10th place despite being in some very shaky form overall.
Rose arrives at Sea Island in similar form, but there’s no doubt that this is a course where Rose can find himself in contention.
Matt Kuchar (+8000 | Bet365)
Another Sea Island resident I expect to have a great deal of success is Matt Kuchar. After a long stretch of uninspiring golf, the 43-year-old is starting to show signs of life at just the right time. He finished 22nd at Mayakoba and looked a lot more like the consistent Kuchar golf fans had grown accustomed to watching the past 20 years.
While his short-term form is admittedly questionable, there’s no denying Sea Island is a dream fit for Kuchar. In his past 50 rounds, he ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Total on Par 70 layouts under 7,200 yards that feature Bermudagrass greens. “Kuch” has already won on similar short tracks, with victories at the Sony Open and RBC Heritage in his career.
It’s completely fair to wonder if Kuchar’s best days are behind him and question if he has the current form to win this week. However, at long odds on a course that screams “Matt Kuchar,” it’s a gamble absolutely worth taking.
Tyler Duncan (+13000 | DraftKings)
Last year, we saw a former champion win the RSM Classic for a second time in Robert Streb. A golfer who seems primed to attempt a similar feat is 32-year-old Tyler Duncan. The 2019 champion comes into the week playing his best golf in recent memory with two top-30 finishes in his past three starts.
Going back to past champions isn’t a strategy I typically use, but Sea Island seems to generate similar leaderboards on just about every renewal. Golfers with great course history are always a threat to play well again, as we’ve seen with other like Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner and Chris Kirk.
The Seaside course has eight par-4 holes, measuring between 400 and 450 yards. In his past 24 rounds, the 32-year-old ranks first in this field in efficiency on holes of this distance. At triple-digit odds, it makes a ton of sense to go back to Duncan at a place that seems to consistently reward past champions.
Scott Piercy (+12500 | Bet365)
Scott Piercy comes into the week with two important points in his favor: current and course form.
The 43-year-old is fresh off of a masterful iron performance in Houston, where he gained 7.0 strokes on approach, which led the field. He finished in 19th place, which was his second top-20 finish in his past five starts.
Additionally, Piercy has shown he enjoys Sea Island and finished 18th last year at the RSM Classic. He also has some good finishes in his career at shorter Bermuda tracks, with a 15th-place finish at Sedgefield Country Club last season and third-place finish at Harbour Town Golf Links two years ago.
Although he isn’t a great putter, Bermudagrass is Piercy’s preferred green type and has gotten hot on the surface. In 2021, he gained more than 4.0 strokes putting at Congaree Golf Club and Sedgefield Country Club, so he’s certainly capable of matching a hot putter with his scorching irons.