PGA Tour Picks: The RSM Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Due to rain in Mexico, the final round of the PGA Tour's OHL Classic at Mayakoba was a 36-hole affair, and American Patton Kizzire held off pre-tournament favorite Rickie Fowler by a shot Sunday for his first career win in his 62nd Tour start.
Kizzire started Sunday with a share of the lead but moved one shot in front after his third-round 66 in the morning compared to Fowler's 67. Kizzire then was up as many as three in the final round before Fowler birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to make things interesting. But from the 18th fairway, Fowler sent his approach 35 feet left of the flag and left the birdie attempt short. Kizzire took just 107 putts over the four roundsand hit 54 of 72 greens in regulation.
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In addition to more than $1 million in prize money, Kizzire, 31, earned a two-year Tour exemption, spot in the 2018 opening Tournament of Champions and his first-ever trip to the Masters. Fowler was the only player ranked in the Top 10 of the world who played in any official worldwide event last weekend. He went over the $30 million mark in career earnings as a 28-year-old. Yeah, that must suck. Patrick Rodgers started Sunday with a share of the lead, but he shot a 1-over 72 on his first 18 and that essentially ended his chances.
I didn't touch on Kizzire but hit on Charles Howell III at +250 for a Top 10 as he was my winning choice. Chucky Three Sticks is an annual presence at Mayakoba and finished T4 following a final-round 66. He was one of four players without a bogey in Round 4 as was Kizzire. I also hit on Russell Knox at +350 as top European as he finished T9. So not bad for a lower-tier event.
This week's stop is the last official event in the United States in 2017, the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort's Seaside Course - a lot of Tour pros live in that area. After this, there's the unofficial Hero World Challenge in two weeks in the Bahamas. Tiger Woods will play there, so we might feel obligated to preview that, but if not the next event is Jan. 4 in Hawaii with the Tournament of Champions. In all honesty, the best event in golf this weekend is the season finale in Europe, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Three players, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose, and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, are the only ones with a shot to win that Tour's version of the FedEx Cup playoffs and finish as the No. 1 player in Europe this season. The Race to Dubai is Fleetwood's to lose.
For the RSM Classic, Sea Island's Seaside Course is a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards and wind will certainly be a factor as a first line of defense on a short track. There are 12 players who live in the area at least part-time who are entered, including new Golf Hall of Famer Davis Love. Players will also play one of their first two rounds at the par-72 Plantation Course.
The defending champion is little known Mackenzie Hughes. The Canadian won a five-man playoff that stretched to Monday. Blayne Barber, Henrik Norlander, Camilo Villegas and Billy Horschel were also in the playoff. Hughes was the first rookie in 20 years to go wire-to-wire for his first PGA Tour victory.Hughes started the week with a 61, one off the course record. The five player combatants finished at 17-under 265. This tournament has only been around since 2010. It likely will take at least 15 under par to win.
Golf Odds: RSM Classic Favorites
Brian Harman and Kevin Kisner are the +1800 Bovada favorites , so you can see what kind of field we are dealing with. Harman last played at the WGC-HSBC in China and was eighth. He missed the cut here the past two years but was 10th in 2013. Kisner last played at the Tour Championship and was third. He won here in 2015 with a tournament record score of 22 under. He was fourth the previous year.
Webb Simpson (+2000), Matt Kuchar (+2200), Bill Haas (+2500) and Howell III (+2500) round out the favorites - Kizzire is just behind at +3300. Simpson has three Top 12s at this event, led by a runner-up in 2011. Kuchar was seventh in 2013 but missed the cut last year. Haas was a runner-up in 2010. Howell has played here every year and has three Top 10s.
Golf Odds: RSM Classic Picks
Before Hughes, all the previous winners had been Americans. Three of the seven have gone to a playoff. For a Top 10, I like Simpson (+170), local resident Kuchar (+212) and Graeme McDowell (+500), who was third here in 2015 and playing well of late.
Head-to-head, go McDowell (-120) over Kevin Streelman (-110), Brandt Snedeker (-120) over Kizzire (-110), Zach Johnson (-125) over Jamie Lovemark (-115), and Howell III (-115) over Haas (-115).
Simpson is our winner as he has yet to miss a cut in five trips to this tournament and has three Top 10s in his past seven Tour starts overall.
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