The RSM Classic – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

#1 Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside Course) on St. Simons Island, Georgia
Host Course — 3 Rounds Played
7,005 yards – Par 70 – Bermudagrass Greens

Average Green Size: 7,000 square feet … Larger than Average Greens
Tournament Stimpmeter: 11-to-12 feet … Average Green Speeds
Strength of Field: ~165 … Weak Field

Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~70 … Eay-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~165 … Easy-to-Hit Greens
Driving Distance (Field Average): ~273 yards … Less-than-Driver Course

#2 Sea Island Golf Club (Plantation Course) — 1 Round Played
7,058 yards – Par 72 – Bermudagrass Greens
Course Notes: Smaller Greens, Parkland Style, More Protected by Wind than Seaside Course.

Tournament Angles

#1 Bermuda Greens
#2 Less-than-Driver Courses
#3 Weak Field Events
#4 Short Courses
#5 Coastal Courses
#6 Performance in the Fall
#7 Easy-to-Hit Fairways

Previous Winners

2017: Mac Hughes -17 over Blayne Barber, Billy Horschel, Henrik Norlanders, and Camilo Villegas in a playoff
2016: Kevin Kisner -22 over Kevin Chappell -16
2015: Robert Streb -14 over Brendon de Jonge, Will MacKenzie in a playoff
2014: Chris Kirk -14 over Briny Baird, Tim Clark -13
2012: Tommy Gainey -16 over David Toms -15
2011: Ben Crane -15 over Webb Simpson in a playoff
2010: Heath Slocum -14 over Bill Haas -13

54-Hole Leaders

2017: Mac Hughes -16
2016: Kevin Kisner -16
2015: Will MacKenzie, Andrew Svoboda -12
2014: Briny Baird, Chris Kirk -10
2012: Jim Furyk, Davis Love III -13
2011: Michael Thompson -13
2010: Heath Slocum -12

36-Hole Leaders

2017: Mac Hughes -14
2016: Kevin Chappell -11
2015: Russell Henley -9
2014: Chris Kirk -8
2012: Arjun Atwal -10
2011: Billy Horschel -12
2010: David Toms -10

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Is it an advantage? You live here, you’ve played here a lot, you train here, practice here. Does that give you kind of a built-in advantage?
I think it is. I think some of these tee shots, it kind of helps to know the lines. But I think this is, what, the seventh year or sixth year of playing here. A lot of guys kind of get to know courses. It’s always in such good shape for the tournament. We hadn’t had much wind here. When the wind gets up, this course gets a lot harder. When the wind dies down, it’s there for the taking as you see the scoreboard. -2016

Q. Is this a golf tournament or a golf course that going back to your SEC days, did you play well there and is this a place you’ve always expected to play well?
Yeah, I think it fits my game well. I think I have a top-5 and a top-10 in SECs, I had a chance to win it one year and I really, yeah, I just like it. I think it fits my game well and I’ve enjoyed playing this golf course. It’s always in great shape. -2016

Q. Billy, I know that you’ve had chances to win here before. How nice is it to be back in the mix again?
It’s always nice. This place is a special place. Obviously the courses are pretty amazing, but Todd Anderson being my instructor, being from here, being director of instructor at Sea Island for a long time, you want to play good because it looks good on you and it looks good on him. Obviously I live just right down the road in Jacksonville and I’ve been coming here since freshman year of college, so I’ve had chances to win here in the past, whether it be in college or the PGA Tour and I got it done once in college and would love to get it done another time here. -2016

Q. Seeing you for two days, you seem to be playing very well. You’ve got to be very excited about the weekend?
Yeah, absolutely. Home game, sleep in my own bed, family here. It can kind of work both ways. I’ve had success with home games and I’ve had not-so-successful weeks. This seems to be one of the ones that we’re having fun, relaxed and hit some quality golf shots. -2016

Q. The local guys haven’t always done so well. Why do you think you might be that guy that might break through here?
I’ve had success here and I’ve not had successful weeks. It’s kind of late in the year and I feel like I kind of scheduled my fall season more around this home event, playing well. Not playing Vegas, a tournament that I really like, enjoy the golf course but it’s kind of a decision I wanted to make to be kind of more fresh coming into this week and it seems to be paying off so far.

Yeah, home games can be difficult because you can overthink it. The golf courses change a lot from when we’re playing at home just beating around with the guys that live here, so it’s definitely a different golf course but same venue. No, the golf course is in perfect shape. Just looking forward to kind of getting out there, back out there tomorrow and going. -2016

Q. How often do you get here over the years?
I have a coach who lives here, Dr. Mo Pickens, so I come down here and visit him maybe once a year. Come down here for other trips, maybe once or twice a year, so a couple times. -2016

Q. This is a course you always feel comfortable on?
No, it hadn’t. I’ve had some good rounds out here but it’s not always been a comfortable golf course. I’ve missed the cut here, I think I have. I’ve had some good finishes and some bad ones. I don’t think today had anything to do with the course, it was more about me feeling comfortable with myself and just free to be on the attack all day long and it turned into some really good scores. -2016

Q. Now, our crew’s been kind of debating, would you rather have the Seaside or the Plantation course on a day like today?
Oh, boy, I’m not sure it really matters. You’re going to have to play them both at some point. I’m not sure what the wind was like over there. Overall, I don’t really have a preference. -2016

Q. Any success from those tournaments in high school?
Yeah, I actually won a junior tournament at Seaside. I won by 10 when I was 16, but I hadn’t played it since then. I haven’t played it in seven years. -2016

Q. First impressions for a tour event?
Yeah, no, it’s good. I think the Sea Side is probably a little bit more exposed. Once you get out on the Plantation you don’t feel the wind as much with the trees kind of blocking it and whatnot. -2015

Q. Having Sea Side three days in a row now, do you feel like that gives you a little bit of an advantage?
I’m interested to see what the scores will be tomorrow if the wind blows like they’re forecasting. You know, north wind, neither course is really made to play a north wind. I think that’s probably the hardest wind to play Sea Side in. -2015

Q. With soft greens allow you to be a little more aggressive going into some hole locations?
Yeah, you could be aggressive if you hit the fairway especially with lift-clean-and-place conditions. The greens were spinning quite a bit, too, so if you had a short iron you had to really control the spin, otherwise you had to play for three to six yards of back spin. -2015, R1

Q. Can you contrast the Sea Side and Plantation course? I know you played 20 rounds over there and 1 over here.
Yeah, obviously completely different. This (Plantation) is a lot more parkland. But the greens are very, very small over here. I think from what I’ve heard we’re going to get some wind on Sea Side, so going to be tricky out there. -2015

Q. Except for last year you’ve got a history of quick starts at this tournament. Anything to that?
Yeah. Actually, I just enjoy playing this golf course. I think it suits my game pretty well. Tee-to-green I’m usually pretty consistent. I am kind of a plodder, and I feel like it just sets up well for me. -2015

Q. You’ve lived out here on Sea Island for about 13 years. You said you played this course about 20 times. Do you have a favorite between the two courses?
I think I like ’em both, you know. That may be a political answer, but I like the small greens on Plantation and how the greens putt.

The greens were really rolling well today. You really get some true, true reads and the ball holds its line. If you’re really hitting ball well I like Sea Side. If you can hit it on the greens close you can have some really good looks. The greens can be quite frustrating at times. -2015

Q. You tied for eighth last year on this golf course. Something about the Sea Side that you seem to like?
Yeah, I think for me it’s the sightlines work. The wind tends to blow out of one direction. There are a lot of things that are comforting to me and allow me to play well. -2015

Q. Any win any level is special, but you went to school up the road a bit at UGA. How special is winning down in Sea Island?
Yeah, it’s a special place. I lost two SEC championships on that 18 hole when i had a one-shot lead, and I said, Man, I’m glad I have five today. -2015

Q. Obviously local knowledge has a lot to do with it, lot to help. How is this course playing in comparison to where you would normally play?
You know, we played four SEC Championships here when I was in college at Georgia. It’s a lot different than that because they overseed it, and it was the spring in college, so it was a lot faster around the greens.
I think the local knowledge helps tee to green just not being uncomfortable with some of those tee shots where you’re having to carry hazards, put it in between a bunker and a hazard, so I think that’s probably the biggest help out there. -2014

Q. Seems like a very fair course where it doesn’t really suit any one particular type of player. It’s nice to have one of those types of courses, isn’t it?
It really is. It’s a golf course that relies on the weather, the conditions, the wind to be the teeth. And anybody could play a great round out there, whether you hit it long or short, and I think really comes down to who approaches it well and makes putts. -2014

Q. You’ve had a lot of success here, collegiately, and you almost won this thing three years ago. What is it you like about this place so much?
I just like the atmosphere, being on the water, having the steady breeze. The course is in unbelievable condition every time I play it. The greens are perfect.
Visually it just sets up well for me, and when you play a course like that, you’re just going to have fun no matter how you play. So I always look forward to this tournament. -2014

Q. Is this a course where experience matters, knowing the wind direction, knowing the greens, just your way around the course?
I think it really helps with the greens because the greens a lot of them are elevated and they slope off pretty severe. So knowing where to hit it according to where the pin is on the green is very important. -2014

Q. You’re a regular down here at Sea Island; you train out here as well, so you know the golf course as well, but 4-under par 66, you gotta be pretty happy with that start.
Yeah. Solid start. I know the course very well, and I feel comfortable out here, and my game’s been really good. So I’m glad to be playing on the home course. -2014

Q. You’re a local guy. You’ve got about a five-minute commute this week. What’s it like?
It’s great. It’s the only tournament of the year I get to sleep in my own bed, which is pretty awesome. -2014

Q. Obviously you love this golf course. I mean you play so well year in, year out.
Yeah, I do. It’s a course that I’ve played a ton of times, you know, playing SEC Championships here when I was in college and then lived here for six years, played here a ton.
I’ve never really pictured it as a course that I would win on or play well on. I struggled here in college always during the SECs, but I think the work that I’ve done with Scott, my teacher, is helping drive the ball a lot better and that’s one of the big keys out here. -2014

All quotes from unless otherwise noted.