Simon Says: Make Birdies!

Mike Glasscott
Davis Love III, host of The McGladrey Classic this week on St. Simons Island, Ga., knows making birdies will be the key to victory

Simon Says: Make Birdies!

Davis Love III, host of The McGladrey Classic this week on St. Simons Island, Ga., knows making birdies will be the key to victory

The McGladrey Classic

Sea Island Resort 

Seaside Course

St. Simons Island, Georgia

Seaside Course

Twitter: @McGladreyClssc

Yards: 7,005 as per the scorecard

Par: 70 (35-35)

Greens: Bermudagrass; over 7,000 square feet on average.

Stimpmeter: 12’

Rough: Bermudagrass 2”

Bunkers: 40

Water Hazards: 7

Course Architects: Colt & Allison (1929) designed the seaside nine. Joe Lee designed the marsh-side nine in 1973. Tom Fazio melded them into the Seaside Course in 1998.

Purse: $5,500,000

Winner’s Share: $990,000

FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner

Defending Champion: Tommy Gainey fired a final round 60 that set the course record to claim his first career victory on TOUR. He defeated David Toms by one shot.

Dates: November 7-10

Notes: Stroke play; Top 70 and ties advance to the weekend

History Lessons

After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has picked up right where it left off last season with Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore and Dustin Johnson racking up the first four wins of the “new year”.

There were 12, first-time winners in the 2013 season and just six players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar, Snedeker, Scott and Stenson. Only Webb Simpson will have a chance to join the multiple winners’ list this week as the other three are not playing.

This is the fourth edition of The McGladrey Classic so there isn’t a ton of history to work on but I’ll give it a shot.

All three past champions are in the field this week

2010: Heath Slocum (-14)

2011: Ben Crane (-15)

2012: Tommy Gainey (-16)

Based on the above, the winning score has been getting lower each season as the players get more comfortable with their surroundings. Ben Crane fired a closing round 63 to win in 2011 and Tommy Gainey set the course record last year on Sunday with 60. David Toms also found 63 to finish second. #golow

Gainey is the only first time winner to claim the trophy in three events.

Both Gainey and Crane had played the previous year before their respective victories.

Inside the Ropes

For the second week in a row, I believe it’s going to take a player going low to win. I consider 15-under-par as an average score as “going low”. It’s not going to be 29-birdie low like last week and that’s because there are only two par fives. Slocum carded 19 birdies in 2010, Crane 22 in 2011 and Gainey circled 20 of them last season. That’s an average of 20 per tournament or five per round. #math.

I’ll be taking a look at guys who love to get low and like rolling them in on the par threes and fours. At just over 7,000 yards, most players should be able to handle the length and the two par fives. In 2010, the Seaside Course was ranked No. 33 of the 52 courses used on TOUR. In 2011, it ranked No. 31 of 51 and in 2012 it checked in at No. 36 of 49. Each year the scoring average has been 69.5 or lower so par isn’t going to be much help around these parts.

The test on this course will be the players’ ability to keep their patience if and when the wind blows. With green complexes averaging over 7,000 square feet and the rough playing around two inches, GIR shouldn’t be an issue this week. At just over 7,000 yards, most players in the field (see Slocum, Crane and Gainey) will have a chance to be successful this week if they can get hot and make birdies.

The Chalk

Webb Simpson: He’s already chalked up one win this season and needed a bushel full of birdies to do so in Las Vegas. He was T10 in 2010 and P2 to Ben Crane in 2011. His worst round on this course is 69. I’ve learned in the business that overthinking things is usually a bit silly.

Zach Johnson: He only missed on cut after April last season and he really turned it on to close the 2013 season. The last eight starts resulted in SEVEN top 10s (T27 was the other finish) and included his lone victory at the BMW in the FEC Playoffs. His T40 at Las Vegas included no rounds over 70 so he should be ready to pounce in his “second” home game of the season (John Deere Classic). Johnson and his family live on St. Simons Island.

Charles Howell III: He’s hit the top 10 twice already in 2013-14 and that should come as NO SURPRISE to anyone who follows fantasy golf. CH III is a notorious hot starter and The McGladrey Classic is one of his happy hunting grounds. He finished T6 in year one and backed that up with T32 and T7 last season. He’s only been in the black numbers once in 12 rounds and has a 62 under his belt as well.

Matt Kuchar: Another resident who’ll be looking to impress the locals this week, Kuchar has been enjoying his time off since the Presidents Cup. His worst finish of 2013 after winning the Memorial was T28 at the U.S. Open. He’s fired eight rounds of par or better here in a pair of top 25 finishes. The gamer in me wishes he’d played once before but this is a track that should ease him back into the swing of things.

Harris English: One of the younger members of the Sea Island Mafia, English broke through last season in Memphis and rocked it out during the summer before fading from the PGA to the end of the Playoffs. He opened up 2013-14 in Vegas with T40 before jetting to the CIMB and racking up his first top 10 since Memphis. He finished T15 here last year closing with 66-66-68.

Brendon Todd: For those of you who read this regularly, thank you, and this name shouldn’t surprise any of you. Todd’s worst start on either TOUR after May 1 in 13 events (12 cuts made) was T26. He’s picked up right where he left off in 2013-14 as he was T26 at and T12 in Las Vegas. Need a putter? Yeah, here’s your guy.

Brendon de Jonge: Most players who haven’t posted a round in the 70s this year in two events would usually scare me off. de Jonge though doesn’t especially after his T4 here last year and his penchant for making multiple birdies. It was only natural to have a letdown after participating in the Presidents Cup as a captain’s pick so I think he gets right back up this week.

Luke Guthrie: His last time out he found a way to post TWO 64s in Las Vegas so I have no problem pulling the trigger on a young guy who’s hot. Confidence is a wonderful thing to have regardless of age so I’ll take a shot here in a field that only has four of the top 50 OWGR playing.

Scott Piercy: He’s one of just three (Boo Weekley, Brian Gay) who played last week in the WGC-HSBC and have decided to tee it up this week halfway back across the world. His 68-68 weekend led to T21 at a WGC event should buoy him through any jet lag or tiredness that he’s feeling.

Sean O’Hair: Gamers, better strike while the putter is hot! He posted a 65 in round three at the en route to T26. He went even lower with 63 in Las Vegas in round three at the Shriners. Those are his first back-to-back T26s or better since July of 2012. It doesn’t hurt that he’s posted T20 and T15 in two starts at Seaside.

Chris Stroud: Only three of his eight rounds here have been under par but I’m more interested in his T3 finish at the CIMB. He only made five bogeys (and a double, I know, I know) but he battled on Sunday to close in 34 and stay on the podium.

Next Best:

Boo Weekley: He’s trending the right direction in his last two events and his last two trips to Sea Island. He survived his trip to China and played quite well. He’s proven over time that his iron play can make up for a lack of putting.

Chris Kirk: If a putting contest is required I can’t, in good conscious, leave CAPTAIN KIRK on the sidelines. Plus he lives here and is part of the Mafia. The weird thing about the Sea Island Mafia is NONE of them have a big finish in three years of this event. Figure that out.

David Toms: After a very quiet May-July, Toms rallied at the end of last season to play some of his best golf with T16, seventh and T16 in three consecutive events in August. His seventh place finish was at the PGA and he closed with 62 the following week at the Wyndham. He knocked the rust off in Las Vegas two weeks ago and has a T3 (2010) and a second (last year) in three starts at The McGladrey.

John Peterson: Won the 2011 SEC championship on this course so he should be in a happy place, just like he was at Colonial last year. After opening with T21 at he MC in Vegas so a few of your gaming buddies might have forgotten about him. You shouldn’t.

Aaron Baddeley: If this week is about a putting contest to some degree then I have no problem endorsing Baddeley after he finished fifth in Malaysia. It was his best finish since Pebble Beach in 2012 and there’s one part of Baddeley’s game that I like: the putter.

Chesson Hadley: He played in the final group his last time out in Vegas and that experience will do nothing but help him as he starts his bright career on the big circuit. It’s hard to ignore someone who made over $500k on the Tour and who closed out their playoffs T4 and WIN.

The Man With His Own Section

Jeff Overton: After a disappointing 2013 where he only cashed slightly over $721,000 gamers are encouraged to see that he’s almost half way to that total after only three events in 2013-14. I like the fact that he’s started out strong and that he was up for the last-minute entry to the CIMB in Malaysia. It would have been easier to simply decline the invite but instead he embraced the challenge and continued his hot start by finishing T16. Overton has a top 10 (T6, 2011) in two starts here and all eight rounds are par or better. Remember, Dustin Johnson was the landlord of this column last week!

Horses-for-Courses and Heat Checks

Tommy Gainey: He holds the course record and is the defending champion. He’s also missed 16 of his last 30 cuts. Risky-rewardy…

Bud Cauley: Maybe a trip back to the South will help him find his freshman form. He opened with 62 here last year and has T15 in 2011 and T20 in 2012 to fall back on.

Ben Curtis: He’s played 11 of 12 rounds at Seaside at par or better…Yep, it’s a think field but he can putt.

Davis Love III: I’ll take him to lead the Old Folk contingent. He was T4 here last year and is the host again this week.

Jerry Kelly: He’s been halted by two bad final rounds in two starts this year. Lack of length off the tee won’t bother him this week.

James Driscoll: After a couple of solid outings to start October and a couple of decent outings in previous events here, I’ll take a flier on an excellent putter in a slight field this week.

Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week

The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar. Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.

SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.

CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!

WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.


SEASON TOTAL: ($6,689,685 in 2013; $230,364 in 2013-14) Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!

SHFC Open: Hideki Matsuyama. Time to break through, son. Matsuyama WD with injury so he was replaced with Nick Watney. He finished T48 for $15,264

CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.

WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife. Kaymer’s third round 62 dared me to dream but his T8 and $161,667 is a nice deposit.

The McGladrey Classic: David Toms. He’s finished T3 in 2010 and second last year. His recent form suggests he’s playing well and I don’t see another chance to burn him down the road. It was him of CH III. Fantasy Challenge

The McGladrey Classic

Mike Glasscott ($1,464,139; Rank: 5,690)

Group 1: Webb Simpson

Group 2: Charles Howell III

Group 3: Jeff Overton

Group 4: Stuart Appleby

Ryan O’Sullivan ($1,222,331; Rank: 8,281)

Group 1: Webb Simpson

Group 2: Charles Howell III

Group 3: Jeff Overton

Group 4: Chad Campbell

Ned Brown “Pure Spin” ($1,134,833; Rank: 9,618)

Group 1: Webb Simpson

Group 2: Charles Howell III

Group 3: Jeff Overton

Group 4: Sean O’Hair

Rob Bolton ($1,075,712; Rank: 10,769)

Group 1: Webb Simpson

Group 2: Harris English

Group 3: Brendon Todd

Group 4: Sean O’Hair

Ned said, “…

Ned Brown will be back with his Yahoo! selections whenever the game picks back up. Be sure to check here each week!

“Pure Spin”

Points this year:

Overall Ranking:

Coming Wednesday

And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at The McGladrey Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob ( and Glass ( on Twitter.

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