The PGA TOUR stays in Georgia this week, as the Seaside & Plantation Courses at Sea Island Resort host the RSM Classic. There will be two courses in play this week with the Seaside Course being played in three of the four rounds. Both courses are on the short side, each measuring just over 7,000 yards. The Seaside course is a par-70, while the Plantation course is a par-72. Both courses feature Bermuda grass greens.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate; however, these players are great options in any contest type.
Note: My forthcoming analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend following Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained columns each round, which highlights golfers to buy and fade following each round of play at that week’s PGA TOUR event, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
Webb Simpson ($11,200 DraftKings; $12,000 FanDuel)
It’s not normal that I advocate playing the most expensive player on the slate in cash games, but Simpson is by far the class of this field and has all the contextual factors working in his favor this week. Let’s begin with his elite history at this event: He’s finished second and third respectively in each of the last two years here and boasts an additional runner up finish and a T-7 since 2011.
Nobody has been playing better golf since the TOUR restart back in June. Simpson ranks ninth in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and second in total strokes gained across his past 36 rounds. He hasn’t missed a cut since July and his worst finish in that span is a T-37 at the PGA Championship. He’s also finished inside the top 17 in each of his past seven events, including four top-10s over that stretch as well. We know exactly what we’re getting when we pay up for Simpson, who has a great shot at winning this week. There’s more than enough value to start our cash teams with him.
Harris English ($9,700 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel)
If you prefer to not start your team with Webb, you can get a strong discount on one of the hottest players on TOUR in English. We didn’t see English at the Masters due to their weird qualifying rules but prior to that, he had a 10th at The CJ Cup and a very strong fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open.
English’s history at this event in the past has not been elite, but he’s a far superior player now than he’s ever been. He also does have two top-25s at this event, so it’s not like he’s been awful. English sits 14th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green across his past 16 rounds is sixth in total strokes gained in the same time frame. He’s one of the safest options we have this week and makes for a strong anchor in any contest type.
Brian Harman ($8,500 DraftKings; $10,100 FanDuel)
Harman has been one of the most consistent cut-makers on TOUR this season, having made the weekend in every start since the Memorial back in July. He’s also finished inside the top 30 in eight of his past nine events, making him one of the strongest cash game plays on the board.
Harman will not blow you away statistically in any specific category, but he’s more than adequate in every area and a very good putter. He ranks 19th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green across his past eight rounds, including a very strong 10th in SG: Around-the-Green in that same period. Harman’s recent history at this event reads 14th, 32nd, fourth over his last three years respectively and he should be poised for another top-25 in this somewhat weak field. At just $8,500 on DraftKings, he makes for a great middling value and fits in both balanced and top heavy roster builds.
Brendan Todd ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel)
Todd is coming off two consecutive missed cuts but prior to that, he had some extremely strong finishes in tough fields, including a 23rd at the U.S Open and 17th at the PGA Championship. Todd’s resurgence this past season has been something to marvel at, as he’s on a very short list of guys who have two TOUR wins in the last calendar year. If this event turns into a putting contest, I like Todd’s chances, as he ranks second in this field in SG: Putting across his last 36 rounds.
Todd’s history at this event is a mixed bag, but he did finish fourth here last year. We saw him priced over $11,000 on DraftKings just a few weeks back, so being able to roster him at just $7,800 this week is a nice luxury when trying to fit the Simpsons of the world onto your rosters.
Denny McCarthy ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel)
Denny McPutts has been great this season, making 23 of his past 29 cuts with two top-10s in his last four events. He is a tad underpriced in this field for his upside and putts his best on Bermuda greens. McCarthy is coming off an eighth-place finish at this event last year, with a respectable 46th the year prior. If his irons cooperate this week, he will be right in the mix due to his incredibly strong short game.
At the minimum, we should get another made cut out of McCarthy, which is more than enough in cash games when you consider his price tag. The value is too good to pass up.
Harold Varner III ($7,400 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel)
HV3 is having by far his best season as a pro and is vastly underpriced for his ceiling this week at just $7,400 on DraftKings. Over his last 12 rounds, only three players in this field rank better in SG: Tee-to-Green and only seven have more total strokes gained than him. Varner finished 23rd at this event in his last start in 2018 and is coming off a 15th two weeks ago in Houston. All signs point to another strong finish from HV3 this week and his price allows us to play anyone we want alongside him.
Hank Lebioda ($6,400 DraftKings; $7,000 FanDuel)
Lebioda has made four of his past five cuts with two top 25s in that span. His history here has been very strong, as he’s gone 30th and 32nd in his only two starts. Hammerin’ Hank also ranks a very strong 10th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 16 rounds. Nobody will play him this week and at his diminutive price tag all we’re looking for is a made cut.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,900 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel)
Fitzpatrick has no history at this course but is very strong on shorter tracks where distance off the tee is not required. He’s probably not necessary in cash games, but he boasts a ton of upside here and makes for a great GPP play. He ranks 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green and seventh in SG: Approach over his past 12 rounds and if you told that he’d pick up his first career PGA TOUR win this week, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.
Kevin Kisner ($8,600 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel)
I contemplated putting Kisner as a core play, but his recent volatility made it easier to side with Harman. I do not mind playing them together on teams without Simpson, either. Kisner has elite history at this event, boasting a win, two top-fives and a top-10 in the last five years. He is a Georgia boy and clearly feels comfortable at this course.
Before missing the cut at the Masters, he finished T-14 at the ZOZO, and ranks ninth in SG: Approach and 25th Tee-to-Green over his past four rounds. He could easily contend this week at a track he loves.
Pictured: Webb Simpson
Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images