McGladrey Classic Betting Preview
One of the best PGA Tour courses on the schedule plays host this week, as the Seaside Course at Sea Island welcomes players for the fifth of six events before their end of season break at the McGladrey Classic.
2013 McGladrey Classic Fact Sheet
- Course: Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club
- Location: Sea Island, Georgia
- Yardage: 7,055 yards, par 70
- Defending Champion: Tommy Gainey
- Five Consensus Favourites: Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Harris English and Charles Howell III
- Thursday – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
Key Storyline This Week
The key storyline this week actually has little to do with this event itself, as the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour has grabbed a much better field coming off of last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. To be fair, names like Simpson, Kuchar and Johnson appearing is good for the event, but outside of those guys, the big names are few and far between. Combine that with the fact that the Australian PGA took Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker (before he withdrew), and there isn’t a whole ton of name brand talent in the field this week.
This is what happens at these smaller events on the PGA Tour, and it’s unfortunate that a quality venue won’t have the best selection of players, but that’s just the way it is.
Seaside is the pinnacle of links golf. Situated at the southern tip of St. Simons Island at The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, this oceanside course places a premium on careful shot selection, recovery, and putting. Offering Sea Island’s most demanding layout, Seaside is the host venue for the PGA TOUR’s McGladrey Classic. Seaside has also hosted multiple USGA events, challenging golf’s best amateur players.
Originally designed in 1929 by famed architects Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison, the Seaside Course was updated in 1999 by Tom Fazio – earning it a prominent place on Golf Digest’s list of “Top 100 Courses in the United States.” Tidal creeks, dunes, salt marshes and the St. Simons Sound frame the course, which plays fast, firm, and fun in the tradition of legendary Scottish links.
In the three years that the course has hosted the tournament, we’ve seen winning scores of -14, -15 and -16, with no real statistical pattern on how the winners (Heath Slocum, Ben Crane and Tommy Gainey) got the job done. Sea Island is considered more of a thinking man’s course, with playing for position being the most important thing on a layout that is just over 7,000 yards, way below current PGA Tour standards.
Thoughts On The Favourites
- Webb Simpson: Backed up his T4 at the Tour Championship by winning a few weeks ago at the Shriners, his first victory since the U.S. Open nearly 18 months prior. He didn’t play here last year, but did finish as the runner-up to Crane back in 2011. As mentioned above, he stands out with the lack of talent at the tournament this week, but winning in back-to-back starts doesn’t happen very often.
- Matt Kuchar: The human ATM machine hasn’t finished outside of the top-27 since playing in the French Open in July, so you know that he’ll probably be around the lead at some point during the week. He hasn’t played since the Presidents Cup, so he should be rested, but his stroke average is actually higher when he’s taken this much time off as compared to when he plays in back-to-back weeks.
- Zach Johnson: Johnson hasn’t had the best time at Sea Island, which kinda goes against the thinking man’s theory, but in ten rounds at the course, only one of them have been over par. His struggle really has just been in the fact that he hasn’t gone super low yet, so he could be an intriguing play. Finished tied for 40th in his last start at the Shriners.
- Harris English: Finished tied for 7th at the CIMB at the end of October, and finished tied for 15th in his lone appearance here last year. Like most young players, he seems to struggle with his consistency, but his ball striking is usually top notch.
- Charles Howell III: Much like Ryan Moore, Howell’s a guy who should have more wins in his career, but he’s still a dangerous player, especially with this quality of field. Back-to-back top-10 finishes, plus he’s been inside the top-7 at Sea Island in two of the three times he’s teed it up.
Charles Howell III (Best Odds 31-1 at bet365)
He’s on a good run as mentioned above, and combined with the course history, I’ll take him at this kind of price. Very few in the field this week that have as much pure talent as him.
David Toms (Best Odds 58-1 at BETDAQ)
Toms last played at the Shriners, and while the T36 finish wasn’t great, he didn’t have a round above 70 either. This is mostly based on his course history though. He’s never been above 71 here, including a T3 in 2010 and a runner-up to Gainey last year.
Freddie Jacobson (Best Odds 67-1 at Betfred)
Purely based on current form here, as the Junk Man missed the cut in his only appearance at Sea Island. Last played at the Shriners, where he got into the top-10 after a smoking 64 in Sunday’s final round.
John Senden (Best Odds 101-1 at Paddy Power)
Senden’s one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour, but that hasn’t translated to much success, especially recently. His last quality finish came at the U.S. Open, but he did finish tied for 9th here in his only appearance back in 2010. I’ll always take talent at this kind of price.
Kevin Stadler (Best Odds 101-1 at Boylesports)
Got into the top-20 in his last start overseas, and even though he hasn’t played well here in the past, his game of accuracy and ball striking should allow him to succeed. He’s starting to get more consistency into his game too, as the 2013 season was by far his best as a professional.
Tim Clark (Best Odds 124-1 at Betfair)
I know he hasn’t cracked the top-10 since the Crowne Plaza in May, but I still can’t understand why he’s available at this kind of price on a course that is this short and rewards accuracy. With his form though, I won’t be surprised if he misses the cut.