The final official PGA TOUR Event of 2022 is set to tee off this week at Sea Island Resort in St. Simons Island, Georgia. This will be the second straight year that this event serves as the final event of the calendar year before the holiday break.
Last season, Talor Gooch went low in the final round with a six-under 64 and cruised to a three-stroke win over Mackenzie Hughes, who already posted a win this fall. Gooch’s total of 22-under matched the tournament record. Seven of the 12 winners in the history of this event, including Gooch, have made The RSM Classic their first PGA TOUR win. Will we get another first-timer this week, or will it be a more familiar face hoisting the trophy on Sunday?
Last week’s runaway winner, Tony Finau, was going to be in the field this week but withdrew with a minor injury on Tuesday. Without Finau, there are only two players in the field priced over $10K, Seamus Power and Brian Harman. Other players ranked in the top 40 who are in the field this week include Sepp Straka, Tom Hoge, and former RSM Classic champion Kevin Kisner. Without Finau, it’s an intriguing field lacking in star power but giving plenty of lesser-known options a chance to step up and shine.
The event utilizes two courses at Sea Island Resort. Each player will play one round at the par-72 Plantation Course and one round at the Par-70 Seaside Course before the cut. On the weekend, each player will play two more rounds at the Seaside Course. The Seaside Course is a Tom Fazio design while Davis Love III overhauled the Plantation Course just a few years ago.
The courses are on the shorter side and typically play every easy relative to par. The main defense for the course is wind, which can be a major factor if it kicks up off the Ocean, especially on the Seaside Course. Players who rely on accuracy over power and measure well in SG: Approach and SG: Around-The-Green will be the focus of my picks this week.
In this weekly post, the focus is players who are strong plays in GPP contests. These contests usually have lots of entries and pay out big prizes to the top few percent. One example is the DraftKings $300K Pitch + Putt, which pays out $100K to first place. In large contests like this one, it is critical to try and target players who have a chance to outperform salary expectations and come with low projected ownership.
The players highlighted will be good options if they deliver in all formats, but they come with risk factors that usually keep them from being the safest plays. Safety and reliability should be the focus of lineups in cash and double-up contests, where finishing in the very top spot isn’t quite as important. On the other hand, GPPs call for high-risk, high-reward options with high ceilings and low projected ownership. To find specific guidance for all the different kinds of contests, check out our full Daily Fantasy Golf coverage each week.
No matter how you prefer to play, be sure to use the FantasyLabs PGA Models to help you make the best choices. These models use stats and simulations to highlight different players’ strengths and weaknesses. A couple of key new stats to specifically use for GPP play are Perfect% and SimLeverage, which are further explained here.
Usually, I rely on the Stroked Gained Model, which is very predictive of results. I also tend to lean into players that gain shots on approach since week-to-week putting performance can be extremely volatile, even for the best players on the PGA TOUR.
As you dig into the numbers, you can enjoy the many tools that FantasyLabs offers, including the Lineup Optimizer, which effortlessly creates up to 150 lineups. Alternatively, you can use the Lineup Builder if you prefer a more hands-on approach.
Check out my top picks in each price range listed below.
High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Seamus Power $10,500
The highest ceiling projection in the field and the highest projected ownership both belong to Brian Harman ($10,300), who is the second most expensive player and checks in with a lofty 29% projected ownership. Since there are so few expensive plays, the next four players priced below Harman all come in with a projection of at least 20% as well. Since the ownership seems to be concentrating in the $9,400 to $10,400 range, there’s actually a chance to get some leverage by paying up just a little more to go with a Power boost to get some leverage.
Power has the fourth-highest ceiling projection and the fourth-highest median projection in the field, along with the fourth-highest Vegas Implied odds to win. He’s worth a look since what you’re really paying for here is the lower ownership. His projected ownership is just under 20%, and as a result, he offers the best SimLeverage of any player over $9K and the fifth-highest SimLeverage of any player in the field. Part of that is due to his lower ownership projection, and part is due to his Perfect%, which is second only to Harman in the entire field.
Power has only made the cut at this event one time in his five appearances, but it was his most recent visit when he finished tied for fourth. He was second coming into the final round but only managed two under while everyone else was going low.
Earlier this fall at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, Power claimed his second career PGA TOUR in favorable scoring conditions with a 21-under. If this event turns into a birdie fest as well, Power could again contend, given his recent form. He teed it up two weeks ago at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba and followed up his win with a T3.
Joel Dahmen $9,200
Given his recent form, it’s a little surprising to me that Dahmen has the lowest projected ownership of all the players with salaries of at least $9,000. He’s projected to be owned in under 12% of lineups for GPP play but brings the second-best SimLeverage in this price range behind only Power.
Dahmen has posted four top 20s in his five most recent events this fall, including tying for third with Power at Mayakoba and following that up with a T9 last week at the Cadence Bank Houston Open. Getting that kind of recent form at lower ownership can help you differentiate your lineup and get nice leverage over players expected to be more popular around his price range. He has outperformed his projection in four straight tournaments.
At this track, Dahmen had made the cut in four of the past five years but hasn’t cracked the top 25 yet. His one PGA TOUR win came in 2021 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, and he has notched 11 top-10 finishes since the start of the 2019-20 season.
Dahmen leads the field in SG: Tee-To-Green and is second in SG: Approach over the last six weeks and has posted the second-best score on Par 3 holes over that span, which is an important stat since the par-70 Seaside Course on which three rounds will be played features four par 3 holes but only two par 5 holes.
Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Patrick Rodgers $8,700
Since missing the cut at the first event of the Fall Series at the Fortinet Championship, Rodgers has been rolling with six straight made cuts, highlighted by a T3 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship as one of his three top-20 finishes. He has outplayed both his salary expectation and our projection in each of those tournaments, so he comes to Sea Island with excellent form. He is third in the field in SG: Tee-To-Green over the past six weeks and also in the top 10 in SG: Total.
Rodgers also has a good history at The RSM Classic, with a pair of top 10s, including a runner-up finish back in 2018, when he lost in a playoff to Charles Howell III. The layout of the course has changed since then, but he did make the cut last year here as well. Rodgers is still looking for his first PGA TOUR win, and this week could be the week he breaks through if he holds his recent form and gets hot with his putter.
Of the players between $8K and $10K, he has the fourth-highest SimLeverage. He also matches seven Pro Trends, which ties him for the most in the field with Will Gordon ($7,700) and Taylor Montgomery ($9,600). He actually has a higher floor projection than any other player under $9K and the highest ceiling projection in that group as well. With projected ownership under 12%, though, there’s still some good leverage in rolling with Rodgers.
Taylor Pendrith $8,500
Pendrith returns to my picks for the second straight week at the exact same salary, even though he faded to a 66th after making the cut. Most of that tumble happened on the back-9 on Sunday as things unraveled for him, and he dropped eight strokes over his final nine holes. He was playing pretty well before that, and our model seems ready to forgive him, giving him the second-highest SimLeverage in the entire field since he has the 11th-highest Perfect%.
So far this season, Pendrith has made the cut in all three of his events, but he has yet to put together a strong enough weekend to post a good finish. Like last week, the reasoning behind playing Pendrith lies more in his longer-term form. From March through August of this year, the 31-year-old Canadian posted six top-15 results in seven events. His best result during that time was a T2 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, in another venue where going low was necessary.
He leads the field in SG: Off-The-Tee in the field over his past 75 weeks and is seventh in SG: Tee-To-Green. Pendrith can be volatile, but for GPPs, it’s ok to buy into his ceiling and hope he avoids whatever caused his power fade last week.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Scott Stallings $7,600
Stallings offers the fourth-highest Leverage Score in the field since he brings the second-highest ceiling of all players under $9K, but only 7% projected ownership. That low projected ownership also helps him rank sixth among all the players in the field in SimLeverage.
Part of the reason Stallings is flying a little under the radar is that he hasn’t played a lot this fall. He has made the cut in both of his events with a cut, finishing T13 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and T40 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. He added a T58 at THE CJ CUP, which is a no-cut tournament. Stallings had a very nice finish to last season with five top-15 finishes in six events carrying him all the way to the TOUR Championship for the first time in his 12 years on the PGA TOUR.
His long-term form indicates Stallings gains most of this strokes on approach, but it has been his putter that has been carrying him recently. He has made the cut in seven of his nine career appearances at this event, with his best finish coming in 2015 when he notched a top-10.
I also really like J.J. Spaun ($7,800) and Davis Thompson ($7,400) in this price range if you don’t mind eating a little more chalk under $8K since their projected ownerships are higher than Stallings.
Trey Mullinax $7,300
Mullinax is another player who jumps out at this price range due to his longer-term form, and he flashed signs last week that he may be ready to turn things around after stumbling out of the gate early in the fall. Mullinax missed two cuts and finished 71st at THE CJ CUP before finding his rhythm last week in Houston and posted a T4 with a 67 on Sunday. While no one was probably going to catch Finau, Mullinax could have been right in the mix for second place if it wasn’t for a shaky 72 on Saturday.
Last summer, Mullinax won the Barbasol Championship, which started a run of four top-25 finishes in his final five events, including top-15 finishes in each of the two playoff events for which he qualified. He missed the cut at The RSM Classic last season but did make the cut in three of his four previous career appearances.
While Mullinax has proven to be a little bit “boom-or-bust” at times, he has enough momentum from last week and a low enough ownership to be a sneaky play under $7.5K at Sea Island.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Harrison Endycott $6,600
In a field where there aren’t a lot of super expensive options, choosing to roster players under $7K will already be giving you some nice differentiation since there aren’t a lot of players to pinch pennies to be able to go up and get. Of the 94 players priced under $7K, only one has projected ownership over 3%. There are a lot of intriguing plays in this range, though, including two-time RSM Classic champion Robert Streb ($6,700) and Zach Johnson ($6,900), who can often pop at these events on shorter courses.
For GPPs, I’m looking for players who have flashed upside, though, and Endycott fits that mold since he has shown he can be right in the mix when he’s on his game. He started the season with a T12 at the Fortinet Championship and was even better with a top 10 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. A rough start at Mayakoba led to a missed cut, but after sitting out last week in Houston, I think he’ll be back in the running this week.
The 26-year-old from Sydney won the Huntsville Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour last year and graduated to the PGA TOUR this season. He’ll be looking to make a splash at Sea Island and improve his standing for a strong run in the Spring as well.
He offers the third-highest SimLeverage of all players $7K and under, and I think the rookie can pop here if he can put together the strong form he has shown glimpses of this fall.
Akshay Bhatia $6,500
Bhatia was a Monday qualifier for this event after firing nine birdies and just one bogey on his final hole. The lanky lefty won The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay on the Korn Ferry Tour in January and narrowly missed on earning his full-time PGA TOUR card this year, settling for full-time Korn Ferry Tour status instead. He’s still just 20 and will be making his 20th PGA TOUR start.
In his only other PGA TOUR start this fall, Bhatia made the cut and finished T17 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship on a sponsor exemption. In that event, he ranked in the top five in GIR% and should fare well at The RSM Classic if he can continue his strong iron play.
Bhatia is one of just four players priced under $7.5K who matches four Pro Trends.
Get $100 Sign-up Bonus!