After his playoff victory in Mexico, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell will be going for two wins on the spin in the RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.
The PGA Tour heads for Georgia this week and the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. Robert Streb is defending champion at the RSM Classic.
A strong field will tee it up this week in Sea Island, including Matt Kuchar and 2015 Open champion Zach Johnson. Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland will play after his season-changing victory in last week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The Seaside course at Sea Island is a classic Harry Colt and Charles Alison design dating from 1929. Tom Fazio completed a renovation in 1999. It’s been the venue for some significant amateur competitions over the years including the US Senior Amateur and the US Senior Women’s Amateur.
This tournament was first contested on the PGA Tour in 2010 when Heath Slocum was the winner. Ben Crane took the title via a playoff against Webb Simpson in 2011. Tommy Gainey fired a superb final round of 60 to win in 2012 and Chris Kirk triumphed in 2013.
Last year Robert Streb played a remarkable final round of 63, featuring nine birdies, to tie Will MacKenzie and Brendon de Jonge on 14-under-par after 72 holes. Streb then won the tournament at the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Until this season the event was known as the McGladrey Classic, but there’s a new title sponsor this season – financial services company RSM.
Wind is the main protector on this resort course and, when it’s up, the par-70 layout is challenging. However, when it’s calm, scoring can be low over the Seaside Course – see Tommy Gainey’s final round 60 in 2012.
The weather forecast for this week is a touch unsettled. There could be storms on Thursday and the winds could pick up through the tournament.
Venue: Sea Island Resort, Sea Island, Georgia
Date: Nov 19-22
Course stats: par 70, 7,005 yards
Purse: $5,700,000 Winner: $1,026,000
Defending Champion: Robert Streb (-14)
Graeme McDowell – He’ll come into this event on a high after his win in Mayakoba. He’s likely to contend again, particularly if the wind gets up. The tougher the better for the gritty Northern Irishman.
Graeme McDowell on judging break on the greens:
Patton Kizzire – The rookie has started the season well with two top-five finishes to his name already. He led the 2015 Web.com Tour money list and is an obvious talent. He’s also on home turf for this event, being a native of Sea Island.
Justin Thomas – One of the new stars on the PGA Tour, he’s already been a winner this season in the CIMB Classic. He’s a solid all-round player and this track should suit his game.
Key hole: 18th. At 470 yards, the closing par 4 on the Seaside Course is a real tester. It often ranks as the toughest on the course and could witness some slip-ups late on in proceedings.