2022 RSM Classic Odds, Expert Picks & Preview: Tom Hoge, Matthew NeSmith & Jason Day Fit Sea Island Golf Club
Steve Dykes/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Hoge
Click arrow to expand 2022 RSM Classic odds via bet365
|Paul Haley II||+35000|
|Davis Love III||+125000|
The final full-field event of the 2022 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 St. Simons Island, Georgia.
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, which was redesigned by Tom Fazio, plays more like a coastal links, while the Plantation course is similar to a tree-lined parkland course. Both feature Bermudagrass greens and will be very scorable. The past five winners of the event have all finished between -19 and -22.
Some notable players in the field include Jason Day, Tony Finau, Tom Hoge, Seamus Power, Justin Rose and Webb Simpson.
Past Winners at The RSM Classic
- 2021: Talor Gooch (-22)
- 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:
- Tom Hoge (+25.9) (+3000)
- Adam Schenk (+19.8) (+10000)
- Tony Finau (+19.7) (+1000)
- Matthew NeSmith (+18.4) (+4000)
- Mark Hubbard (+17.2) (+15000)
Good Drives Gained
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. However, last year “Good Drives Gained” was a much more predictive statistic at this event than “Fairways Gained.”
Total Good Drives Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Aaron Rai (+25.7) (+5000)
- Tony Finau (+23.7) (+1000)
- Sepp Straka(+20.9) (+9000)
- Kevin Yu (+20.7) (+17500)
- Ryan Armour (+20.0) (+15000)
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:
- Martin Trainer (+28.0) (+100000)
- Brian Gay (+24.6) (+25000)
- Beau Hossler (+24.4) (+12500)
- Ben Taylor (+19.7) (+15000)
- Troy Merritt (+18.0) (+6600)
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 Birdie or Better Gained in past 24 rounds
- Tony Finau (+26.0) (+1000)
- Taylor Montgomery (+22.0) (+2200)
- Ben Griffin (+19.6) (+10000)
- Matthew NeSmith (+18.5) (+4000)
- Dean Burmester (+14.6) (+7000)
Strokes Gained: Par 4 (400-450)
With eight of the par 4s 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:
- Ben Griffin (+17.8) (+10000)
- Taylor Montgomery (+17.0) (+2800)
- Andrew Putnam (+13.0) (+5000)
- J.J. Spaun (+10.8) (+5000)
- S.H. Kim (+10.3) (+11000)
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%); Good Drives Gained (21); SG: Putting Bermudagrass (21%); B.O.B (21%); and SG: Par 4 400-450 (12%)
- Tony Finau (+1000)
- Tom Hoge (+3000)
- Matthew NeSmith (+4000)
- Jason Day (+3000)
- Andrew Putnam (+5000)
- Ben Griffin (+10000)
- Brian Harman (+2500)
- Aaron Rai (+5000)
- Justin Rose (+6000)
- Russell Knox (+9000)
2022 RSM Classic Best Bets
Tom Hoge (+2800 | BetRivers)
Tom Hoge missed the cut in his most recent start at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, but I believe looking too closely at the final result would be a mistake. He opened with a four-under 66 and had a poor second round where he shot 73 to miss the cut.
One bad round in golf can most definitely be an outlier, and looking at his recent body of work would indicate that may be the case. In his previous five starts, Hoge had finished no worse than 13th and had three top-10 finishes.
Almost as impressive as his recent finishes is the manner in which the 32-year-old has been getting it done. In his past three measured events, Hoge has gained an average of 5.7 strokes on the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. He ranks first in the field in his past 24 rounds in that category, as well as seventh in Birdie or Better Gained and 12th in Good Drives Gained.
Hoge finished fourth here last season and gained 6.3 strokes from tee to green. If he can get hot with the putter this week on his favorite putting surface (Bermudagrass), he can earn his second PGA TOUR victory.
Jason Day (+2500 | BetMGM)
I’ve been all over Jason Day throughout the swing season, and with this being the final tournament before 2023, we need to see it through one more time.
Day has put us in a sort of purgatory where he’s playing so well that his betting odds keep getting slashed, but not well enough for us to finally cash a ticket on him. With that being said, his consistency of late has been excellent. He’s finished in the top 21 in each of his past four starts.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that Day shot four rounds in the 60s for the first time in about two calendar years. Last week, he did it for the second time in four starts as he shot 69-69-69-68 to finish in 16th place. In his past 24 rounds, the former PGA Champion ranks ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach, sixth in Good Drives: Gained and 11th in Birdie or Better Gained.
Persistence pays off. It’s time for Jason Day to finally come through and earn his first PGA TOUR victory since 2018.
Matthew NeSmith (+5000 | BetMGM)
While I’m not in love with his price this week, Matthew NeSmith makes far too much sense at Sea Island to ignore. The 29-year-old is from North Augusta, South Carolina and is incredibly familiar with the golf course. In his last three starts at Sea Island, NeSmith has two top-15 finishes.
In addition to being from the area, NeSmith also had some success as an amateur nearby as well. He won the 2015 Players Amateur at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, South Carolina.
With the exception of a 53rd-place finish at the Houston Open, NeSmith has been on fire of late. He finished ninth, second and ninth consecutively before the lackluster performance at Memorial Park. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach, fifth in Good Drives Gained and third in Birdie or Better Gained.
NeSmith has yet to win on the PGA TOUR, but Sea Island is arguably the best course fit for the former University of South Carolina Gamecock.
Ben Griffin (+10000 | DraftKings)
Ben Griffin has been popping up on leaderboards of late, including a 16th place finish at last week’s Houston Open. His finishes in the past year at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship (third), the Wyndham Championship (fourth) and the 2022 BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Korn Ferry Tour (second) indicate that Sea Island will be an ideal course for Griffin.
In his past 24 rounds, Griffin ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach and second in Birdies or Better Gained. He’s the type of golfer who can go extremely low and make plenty of birdies, which will be a requirement for the RSM Classic.
At triple-digit odds, Griffin makes too much sense to ignore for a golfer who’s familiar with the region and simultaneously playing so well recently.
Patton Kizzire (+17000 | FanDuel)
Patton Kizzire is a Sea Island resident who has encouraging event form at the RSM Classic. He finished 10th in 2020 and 15th in 2018 and flashed some signs of life in his most recent start at the Mayakoba in Mexico.
While statistics at the event were limited due to not having shot tracker, there is information on how many fairways and greens in regulations each player hit. Kizzire gained 1.9 strokes in Fairways Gained and 3.1 strokes in Greens in Regulation. That’s a good sign for a player who typically struggles with accuracy off the tee.
Kizzire is a “boom or bust” type of golfer who has blow-up potential, but he also has the capability to win an event if he gets in contention. He has two PGA TOUR victories and is known to have spike putting weeks on Bermudagrass.