For the second week in a row, we saw a veteran PGA Tour player who had largely been forgotten about get his first Tour win in years. Two Sundays ago in Las Vegas, it was 47-year-old Rod Pampling taking home the title. And this past Sunday at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico, Pat Perez got his first Tour win since 2009.
The 40-year-old Perez, in just his third start since major shoulder surgery, shot a final-round 4-under 67 to finish at 21-under 263 at El Camaleon and win by two shots over third-round leader and fellow American Gary Woodland. Perez had surgery on a torn labrum in February. While he was rehabbing he made a major equipment change and claims to hit it 30 yards further off the tee now. His first tournament back was a tie for 33rd in Malaysia, and he tied for seventh in Las Vegas.
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Perez, who also won the 2009 Bob Hope Classic, shot a 62 on Saturday to pull within a stroke of Woodland. It was the fifth time in six lifetime occasions that Woodland has failed to convert a 54-hole lead or co-lead. Woodland started Sunday slowly and was down four shots to Perez after just four holes when Woodland made two bogeys and Perez had three early birdies. Russell Knox finished at 18-under for the second straight year in Mexico; he lost in a playoff in 2015 and was third on Sunday. Defending champion Graeme McDowell T24, the second-best showing by a champion the following year in tournament history.
While I knew Perez was at least still playing I didn't even consider him last week. I took a shot on former champion Harris English at +2800 to win, and he missed the cut after rounds of 72-69. I did get Knox at +120 for a Top 10 as well as at +225 as the top European finisher. Also hit on Chris Kirk at +250 for a Top 10, while hitting on both Knox and Kirk on head-to-head props as well.
This week the PGA Tour concludes its fall portion of the new season at the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Ga. It won't be my last PGA Tour story of the season as there are some other events, but none are officially sanctioned. Players will compete in one of their first two rounds at the revamped Plantation course, otherwise the action is on the Seaside course. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is the tournament host and it benefits his foundation. A handful of PGA Tour players call this area home. Just five of the world's Top 35 are entered.
This tournament has only been around since 2010, and each had been decided by one shot or in a playoff until last year. Kevin Kisner won his first PGA Tour event by shooting a final-round 6-under 64 to beat second-place Kevin Chappell by six. Kisner blew away the tournament scoring record at 22-under 260 and led the field with 22 birdies and just two bogeys. This will be the last chance for players not already qualified to do so for the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in the New Year.
Golf Odds: The RSM Classic Favorites
Kirk is the +1400 favorite at Bovada. He has three Top 10s on the fall schedule following last week's seventh in Mexico. Kirk won this tournament in 2013 at 14-under 266 by a shot over Briny Baird and Tim Clark. He also was fourth in 2014 and then 18th last year.
U.S. Ryder Cup players Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar are each +1800. Snedeker hasn't played a PGA Tour event since the Tour Championship (he did win in Fiji after that) and he missed the cut here last year. Kuchar lives in this area. His best result was seventh in 2013.
Chappell (+2000), Bill Haas, Jim Furyk and Russell Henley (all +2500) round out the favorites. Haas was a runner-up here in 2010. Chappell was last year and eighth the year before. Furyk was third in 2012 but missed the cut last week. Henley has Top 10s here the past two years.
Golf Odds: The RSM Classic Picks
Not a lot of props offered as of now -- frankly, the European Tour season finale is the big event this week. I'll take Kirk (+130), Kuchar (+167), Chappell (+205) and Charles Howell III (+300) for a Top 10. No prices listed yet, but take Chappell over Snedeker, Haas over Furyk, Henley over Kisner, and Zach Johnson over Lucas Glover.
I'm going with Howell III at +3300 to win. He was a solid seventh last week and 15th the week before. He has played this event every year with three Top 10s, including last year.
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