The PGA Tour travels to Georgia this week for The McGladrey Classic. Chris Kirk defends the title against a strong field over the Seaside Course at Sea Island.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour travels to Georgia this week for The McGladrey Classic. Chris Kirk defends the title against a strong field over the Seaside Course at Sea Island.

After finishing second in last season’s FedEx Cup race, Kirk will be amongst the favourites this week in Sea Island. Other big names on the start list include Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson.

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.

In last year’s tournament, Chris Kirk was the champion. He won by a stroke after Briny Baird bogeyed the final hole.

Wind is the main protector on this resort course and, when it’s up, the par-70 layout is challenging. Last year in the second round the wind was gusting and the average score was more than two-over-par. However, when it’s calm, scoring can be low over the Seaside Course – see Tommy Gainey’s final round 60 in 2012.

The weather looks set fair for this week and, although there may be a breeze, strong winds don’t look likely.

Venue: Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia
Date: Oct 23-26
Course stats: par 70, 7,005 yards
Purse: $5,600,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending Champion: Chris Kirk (-14)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Sunday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Webb Simpson – He has a great record in this event, his worst finish being a tie for 12th. He was tied fourth last week in Las Vegas.

Chris Kirk – The defending champion makes his first start of the new season. But it’s not so long ago that he won the Deutsche Bank Championship and finished tied fourth in The Tour Championship.

Tony Finau – Tied 12th in the Frys.com Open and tied seventh last week in the Shriners. If he continues in that vein, he could well be a contender this week.

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.