RSM Classic: Back Haas to show his class at Sea Island

Bill Haas can secure his seventh PGA Tour title
Bill Haas can secure his seventh PGA Tour title

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and tips for the final event of the 2016/17 PGA Tour campaign - the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort in Georgia, as he looks to boost his healthy profit for the season...

"At Sheshan he was 6th for greens in regulation, 2nd in scrambling and 11th for Putting Average so the scoring parts of his game were in good working order."

Main Bet: Back Bill Haas @ 29.028/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Bill Haas e/w @ 28/1

History tells us that backing favourites in these Fall Series events doesn't get you very far but there are enough winners in the 25/1 to 33/1 bracket to promote the idea that class does shine through.

With this being the case, I'm going to make six-time PGA Tour winner Bill Haas my headline pick at Sea Island this week.

The 2011 FedEx Cup winner didn't make it to the Tour Championship this time but since the new season started he's posted T20 at the Safeway Open and, on his latest start, T4 in elite company at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

At Sheshan he was sixth for greens in regulation, second in scrambling and 11th for Putting Average so the scoring parts of his game were in good working order.

And that's what's needed this week at a tournament where driving it either long or straight hasn't really made much difference.

Haas made his debut in this event in 2010 and immediately took to it, finishing runner-up to Heath Slocum by a single stroke. He shot four more rounds in the 60s to post T22 in 2014 and closed with a 66 for T33 last year.

Although not one of the Sea Island residents who play the course regularly, Haas is very much at home on this course.

The greens make him feel that way and stats on the Future Of Fantasy website show that Haas is amongst the top 25 on Bermuda since 2013/2014.

Haas knows how to win, plays this venue well and is in good form. Put it altogether and 28/1 is decent enough in this modest field.

As for those above him in the betting, Chris Kirk and Matt Kuchar look short enough at 18/1.

Kirk has been in fine form over the Fall Series but couldn't get placed in Mexico last week despite leading after an opening 63.

He's a former winner here (2013) and was also top four in 2014 but I think the market has found him and, if this is a putting contest, his blade went a little cold last week.

Kuchar simply doesn't win enough to justify backing him at under 20/1.

Brandt Snedeker had a good victory in windy conditions at the Fiji International last month and followed that with T25 at the Bridgestone Open in Japan.

The 25/1 could look good although his two efforts here are missed cut (2015) and T32 (2011).

Next Best: Back Harris English e/w @ 40/1

Harris English is one of the Sea Island guys and that extra knowledge has paid off for several of the locals in this event's short lifespan.

English hasn't quite found the formula but 25-MC-27-15 suggests he's not far off.

I put him up at 35/1 in last week's OHL Classic in Mexico and although he missed the cut, shooting 72-69 was hardly a crime so I'm prepared to give him another go here.

A big reason is that his price is bigger but that could be something to cash in on given that he should be right in his comfort zone here.

Before his Mayakoba missed cut, English had finished T4 in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas thanks to four rounds of 67 and previously he hadn't crashed out at halfway since May's Players Championship.

A runner-up at Colonial earlier this year, the former University of Georgia grad, still just 27, is 17th in Strokes Gained: Putting this season and 12th in Average Distance of Putts made.

A hot blade will take your far in this event and English, who prefers these Bermuda surfaces, has the confidence with the short-stick to really cash in.

At 10pts bigger, I also looked at another Sea Island resident, Brian Harman.

The left-hander was T10 in his home event in 2013 and T15 in the Shriners in Vegas but does tend to mix the odd low round with too many average ones.

That means he hasn't given each-way backers any reward since the Travelers Championship in June, 2015. Brian, you're off the team.

Final Bet: Back Anirban Lahiri e/w @ 60/1

For the final pick, I'll go to the 60/1 mark. There are actually two players I looked at here - John Huh and the eventual selection Anirban Lahiri.

Huh has been pretty solid throughout the Fall Series, reeling off finishes of 35-39-10-28.

Add that to his T9 in this event last year and it's a simple case of course form + current form equalling decent appeal at that sort of price.

But Lahiri is the one who could really take flight given his recent hot form.

The Indian closed with seven straight birdies to finish runner-up in the Asian Tour's Macau Open last month and then took third spot at the co-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

He was the 54-hole leader there after racking up an astonishing 25 birdies over the first three days. In fact, he added three more and an eagle on Sunday but a quadruple-bogey 9 derailed his title bid.

Lahiri was also T14 going into the final round of last week's OHL Classic in Mexico before stalling but it seems a matter of time before his aggressive play gets him a win and I don't see why he can't get it at PGA Tour level.

Of course, he is a proven winner on the Asian Tour (seven titles) and won twice on the European Tour in 2015. Also that year, Lahiri became the first Indian player to finish in the top five at a major when T5 at the US PGA Championship.

It's his first start in this event but at least the 29-year-old has some good memories of Georgia having made the cut in both his appearances at The Masters.

Also T6 at the Colonial (another short par 70) this year, it's time for Lahiri to make the big leap.

Finally, a quick mention of another local Zach Johnson.

If in form, he'd be around 16/1 favourite this week. As it is, he's twice that price.

Johnson hasn't played since September's BMW Championship so could be rusty. Then again, perhaps a re-boot will have done him good after he ended last season rather flatly with no top 30s in his final six events.

The decider is that he hasn't cracked the top 10 in six starts here, three missed cuts suggesting that playing at home is more hindrance than help in his case.

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £1240
Returned: £1683.75
P/L: +£443.75

(After the OHL Classic)

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