Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: The RSM Classic
After an incredible showing cemented Dustin Johnson's place among the game's all-time greats, the PGA Tour shifts gears to another Georgia venue with just a tad less fanfare and renown than Augusta National. The RSM Classic hosts a solid field on the heels of The Masters this year, short on the star power displayed last week but with plenty to chew on in Sea Island.
The field will split their first two rounds between two courses, the Seaside Course and the Plantation Course, before the top 65 and ties proceed to the weekend to play two more rounds at the former. Seaside is along the Atlantic coast, whereas Plantation is more inland and less susceptible to major shifts in the wind. Neither is very long, with Seaside playing to 7,005 yards and Plantation to 7,060, but the key difference besides wind is that Seaside plays to a par 70 whereas Plantation is a 72.
Given the additional birdie opportunities and overall friendly elements, we'll want to target golfers playing the Plantation course for any single round fantasy contests. Some sportsbooks may offer low rounds on each course rather than an overall first-round leader. If first-round leader is available, you'll likely have to pay heftier prices for Plantation golfers but will have a much better chance at finding the low man.
With three of the four rounds played at the more difficult Seaside Course, we could potentially stack our lineups with golfers who play Plantation on Thursday and then get three consecutive rounds at the same course over the weekend rather than having to adjust back and forth between. That wave could also get out in front of the field with a good score on Thursday and be well-positioned after round 1.
Unlike last week, it appears we'll have clear and sunny conditions all week, with steady winds in the mid-teens expected every day. Be sure to check for any updates to wind as we near lock.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course
Distance: 7,005 yards
Fairways/Rough: Tifway Bermuda and platinum paspalum / rough includes native areas
Greens: Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivalis
Course: Sea Island Golf Club - Plantation Course
Distance: 7,060 yards
Fairways/Rough: Platinum paspalum fairways, TifTuf bermudagrass rough
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivalis
Part of the reason by the Plantation Course plays so much easier is the rough cut, measuring only 1.5 inches last year. The par 5s are, of course, the target, with the 18th measuring just 519 yards and a closing birdie an absolute must. Finding data on how top finishers gained strokes on the field is difficult this week with the split course and no shotlink data at the Plantation, but finding birdie-makers will be key.
We are looking for straight hitters who do their damage on the second shot and on the greens. Most of the field will find themselves in the fairway on these wide-open tracks, and especially at Plantation, the rough is not going to be too hard to dig out of. Bombers can get an advantage depending on their short game, but strategy plays a role as a golfer can typically make their choice off the tee to either have a full wedge in or go for broke and end up in between clubs.
Last year's edition showed what can happen when the wind really bites, as the winning score was just 11-under par, compared to the high teens or even 20-under par seen here in years past.
Short courses with wind call to mind Harbour Town GL, though the greens here are green oceans compared to the tiny surfaces at Hilton Head. Still, we've seen some leaderboard overlap between the RSM and the RBC Heritage, possibly because both tracks open up to golfers that lack elite distance. Likewise, at Sedgefield CC (Wyndham Championship), where hot irons and solid putting are often a formula for success. Another wide-open course that is susceptible to low scoring and rewards aggression is TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic).
These stats will be key to success in the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club.
|Key Stats for the RSM Classic at Sea Island GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s under 450 yards|
Approach play is a must this week, but in addition to the normal consistent iron play we try to fit into our DFS rosters and betting cards every week, we also want to look for high ceiling rounds. If eyeing two golfers who look similar statistically, we should target the golfer with more variance event-to-event.
While shorter hitters are in play this week, we should only target the very best drivers of the ball in terms of accuracy if we are sacrificing distance. Fairways gained allows us to control for events like this one with higher than average accuracy percentages and point to the golfers who beat the field even when the field average is higher.
The par 5s, especially on the Plantation Course, where the field only gets one crack, simply demand birdies. Anything worse feels like giving away shots. There are plenty of short par 4s as well, with five on the Plantation Course measuring under 400 yards. Each course has just one hole that will play longer than 450 yards, the 465-yard 9th on Plantation and the 470-yard 18th on Seaside.
Course History Studs
Kevin Kisner missed the cut last year but was T7, T4, MC, 1st, T4, and T20 before that. He attended college in Georgia and has lived on Sea Island in the past, and while he is at a significant disadvantage compared to some of the Tour's biggest hitters, these courses mitigate the factors and open things up for golfers like Kisner.
Webb Simpson is basically the prototype for that style and is able to contend and win consistently despite that lack of length. Like Kisner, he is accurate off the tee and a good putter, but just on another level in terms of overall class. His record in the Southeast is terrific, and he has three top 10s at Sea Island, including a runner-up last year.
Charles Howell won here in 2018, and despite missed cuts both before and after, he does have good history further back here. He was T13 in 2016, T9 in 2015, and T7 in 2012.
Other golfers with multiple top-15 finishes here the past five years include Austin Cook, Henrik Norlander, Patrick Rodgers, Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell, Cheng-Tsung Pan, David Hearn, Luke List, Vaughn Taylor, Zach Johnson, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, and Jamie Lovemark.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.