New Masters champion Dustin Johnson will not be playing this week after his five-shot victory at Augusta, as the PGA Tour stays in Georgia for the RSM Classic at Sea Island.
Masters runner-up Sungjae Im,
18/1, will be among the field who will take on the Seaside Course, which is a man-made links affair and will host three of the four rounds, as well as the inland Plantation Course, which has more of a parkland feel.
However, Im, who was second alongside Australian Cameron Smith last week, is not the favourite for the penultimate tournament of the year.
Simpson Can Prove a Worthy Favourite
Romantics would probably love to see Webb Simpson triumph at the RSM, but there are more than emotional reasons to suggest that the former US Open champion is the man to beat this week at
Simpson’s experiences at Sea Island are tales of despair. He was beaten in a play-off by Tyler Duncan last year and that was the second time he had suffered extra-hole heartache at the venue – having lost to Ben Crane when it was the McGladrey Classic in 2011.
He probably didn’t think it could get much worse after he finished a shot behind Charles Howell in third in 2018, so it’s fair to say he’s got a bit of history in this tournament.
The good news though is that he couldn’t be arriving in finer fettle.
Tenth at the Masters was his second successive top-ten finish at Augusta and this track should suit the 176th longest hitter on the PGA Tour much better.
He has failed to finish in the top 20 in just one of his last nine tournaments, so he looks primed to exorcise his RSM ghosts.
Former Champion Hughes is Improving
One player who has tasted success at Sea Island is Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, who triumphed in 2016 and he looks a big price to go well at
His last three visits have been pretty miserable – he’s missed the cut twice and was placed 65th – but his recent form provides cause for optimism and he has moved into the world’s top 50 after being around 300 at the start of the year.
Six top tens in his last 14 outings should give him a boost and he could be a factor if he performs as he did when storming to a 63 in his final round at the Houston Open.
Henley Looks Back in the Groove
Russell Henley, a
22/1 shot, has missed the cut on his last two RSM Classics, but this is still a course where he has decent memories after three successive top-ten finishes between 2015 and 2017.
He comes into the tournament having finished in the top ten in four of his last seven outings and is ranked tenth in greens in regulation, which should stand him in good stead.
If he putts well, there is every chance he will be hanging around on Sunday.
*All odds correct at time of writing