RSM Classic Tips: Rodgers can get elusive first win

Patrick Rodgers
Patrick Rodgers can take the title and finally shed his maiden tag

The PGA Tour stages its final regular strokeplay tournament of 2021 and Dave Tindall is back with three each-way tips for the action at Sea Island...

"The most obvious form to peruse is here at Sea Island where he was runner-up in 2018 and also made the top 10 on debut in 2016."

Patrick Rodgers each-way @ 81.080/1

Main Bet: Patrick Rodgers each-way @ 81.080/1

There's a slight temptation to try and be contrary in an event like this given that all the usual suspects will be hit by the handicapper and sent off at cramped prices.

But it is possible to still find some big prices on players who look ideally equipped to make a bid for victory in what will be the PGA Tour's final full field event of 2021.

First some housekeeping. This event is played over two layouts, with the Seaside Course (7,005-yard Par 70) hosting three of the four rounds. The other takes place over the Plantation (7,060 yard Par 72).

The Seaside, as the name suggests, lies by the coast and is one of those tracks thrown into the mix and quoted when looking for correlating form on the PGA Tour's short Par 70s by the sea that feature Bermuda/Paspalum grass.

Its 'sister' courses would include Royal Port (Bermuda Championship), Waialae (Sony Open), Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), Corales Golf Club (Corales Puntacana) and El Camaleon (Mayakoba). Others such as PGA National (Honda Classic) get quoted too.

Last year, Robert Streb won this event for the second time while Kevin Kisner (winner here and a wealth of good form on similar tracks) was runner-up.

So it clearly pays to focus on those who pop up when this style of golf is required.

With the Bermuda Championship an obvious reference point, I'll kick off with a punt on Patrick Rodgers at a healthy 80/1.

Rodgers was fourth at Port Royal after sitting second at halfway and that came just two starts on from a top six at the Fortinet (formerly Safeway Open and another shortish course). If you like patterns, he's now gone 6-MC-4-MC so is due another big week!

Tied 11th at the 2020 Corales Puntacana, the most obvious form to peruse is here at Sea Island where he was runner-up in 2018 and also made the top 10 on debut in 2016.

One 'X factor in his favour is perspective after he nearly lost his playing privileges. Rodgers had to come through the Korn Ferry finals to keep his card and talked about that and the subsequent relief when interviewed in Bermuda.

"It's been a heck of a summer. It's the first time I had to grind to keep my card after just missing the Play-offs. That was a really just difficult emotional battle.

"I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders since coming back. I don't feel like there's much that can stress me out on a golf course at the minute and I'm just really grateful to have opportunities to play."

At the Bermuda he was 3rd for Greens In Regulation while at the Fortinet he ranked 7th for SG: Putting. When runner-up in this event in 2018 he ranked 1st for SGP so Rodgers has some notable history on these particular putting surfaces too.

Touted as a future superstar, the lack of win remains a surprise but perhaps the planets are aligned this week.

Next Best: Denny McCarthy each-way @ 81.080/1

Denny McCarthy is bound to attract some attention at 80/1 this week and rightly so.

The 28-year-old from Maryland was sent off at 66/1 in this tournament last year but missed the cut.

However, he was tied for eighth the year before, moving into contention with a second-round 62, before firing 68-67 on the weekend. He also closed with a 65 in 2018.

On those correlation courses he's finished third in this year's Honda Classic, fourth in the 2020 Bermuda Championship and fourth in the 2018 Corales Puntacana.

McCarthy makes his fifth start in this event showing some progressive form. After a missed cut at the Shriners (68-70), he was tied 39th at the Bermuda, tied 15th at Mayakoba and tied 11th in Houston last week when closing with a 64.

He ranked 11th for SG: Putting there and is a proven performer on Bermuda greens.

Talking at the Honda earlier this year, he made comments that are certainly relevant to this week too. "It's a place that I've always thought has suited my game, playing on the Bermuda grass down here. I like playing in the wind. I think it forces you to be more creative, which is kind of more my style of play."

On the stats, he's finished second and sixth for GIR in two of his last three starts and looked sharp around the greens in Houston.

There's plenty to like at 80/1.

Final Bet: Kramer Hickok each-way @ 101.0100/1

I'll go even further down the betting for my final pick and select 100/1 shot Kramer Hickok.

Jordan Spieth's big mate from their Texas Uni days was runner-up at the Travelers Championship back in late June after losing to Harris English in a play-off and played some more excellent golf to finish fourth in Houston on Sunday.

His stats from last week showed him ranked 10th on Approach and 6th for SG: Putting.

Hickok has played here twice before and results of MC-53 don't exactly widen the eyes. But he shot a Friday 66 on debut in 2018 and middle rounds of 68-67 in 2019.

He boasts a nice record in the Bermuda Championship after a run of 15-8-30 over the last three editions and was the first-round leader at Mayakoba in 2018.

The 29-year-old, who has two Canadian Tour wins and a Korn Ferry title, also posted a top 10 at the Corales Puntanca in 2019 followed by at tied 21st on his most recent visit in 2020.

He also made the top 20 in the Sony Open this year when closing with a pair of 65s and has form of 21-30 at PGA National.

In other words, he's playing some strong golf and has a proven record on similar tests to this week's.

"Short game was great all week," he said in Houston and also revealed that he's been putting in extra work with coach Cameron McCormick which ended up "paying huge dividends".

This has the feel of an event that could give him the big breakthrough so I'll roll the dice at 100/1.

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Dave's P/L for 2021/22

Staked: £240
Returned: £199.75
P/L: -£40.25

Previous:
2020/2021 P/L: +£1475.87
2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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