Preview: PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic

Preview – PGA Tour – The McGladrey Classic – Sea Island Resort Seaside Course – St. Simons Island, Georgia –

The PGA Tour moves from Las Vegas to the east coast this week for the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

Serving as Tournament Chairman, Davis Love III attracted U.S. Ryder Cup players Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson among others to the fifth edition of this tournament. Defending champion at Sea Island Chris Kirk and Bill Haas, a former FedEx Cup champion, are also competing along with players from 16 different countries.

The par-70 Tom Fazio-redesigned Seaside Course reaches more than 7,000 yards and requires accurate shot-making.

The 132-player field includes nine major champions and international standouts, who have been threatening to win the last few weeks, like Scotland’s Martin Laird. Hot players like Ben Martin, last week’s champion in Las Vegas, Tony Finau and Russell Knox are also here.

Past champions include Tommy Gainey (2012), Ben Crane (2011) and Heath Slocum (2010). The Golf Channel has the television coverage all week.

2013 Outcome:

  • Kirk (14-under) slid past the field with a one-shot victory over Briny Baird and Tim Clark. Scott Brown, Brian Gay and John Senden were T-4 at 12-under, while Simpson and Kuchar finished four back and T-7.

FANTASY: Find players with experience here like Webb and Kuchar. Webb was T-7 last year and finished runner-up to Crane in 2011. He challenged last week in Vegas before ending up T-4. Take Finau, who continues his hot streak coming off the Tour. Look for a homer — take a Georgia Tech or Georgia guy as some 14 players in the field attended one of those two schools for college golf.

BETTING: Simpson (14-to-1 odds) is the co- betting favorite at and rightfully so alongside Kuchar. But, Webb rarely converts when dealing with the pressure of expectations to win. Kuchar has been sluggish for a few months, so consider Zach Johnson here at 20-1 and Laird at 33-1. Laird opened with 64 last week and finished T-3 in the season-opener at the Open.

Other Golf News:

  • World No. 1 Rory McIlroy is taking a few weeks off. After a long season and an impending legal suit heading into 2015, Rory might just need some rest. He currently leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai heading into the stretch run.
  • Tiger Woods is back to hitting full shots and is expected to return to action in December for the World Challenge in Orlando, Florida. Woods is recovering from back surgery to relieve a pinched nerve from back in late March.
  • The LPGA Tour’s Blue Bay LPGA tees off Thursday with Rolex Ranking No. 5 Shanshan Feng as the favorite at 6-1 odds just ahead of Lydia Ko (7-1). Michelle Wie, 6th in the rankings, makes his second start since recovering from a wrist injury. She rallied to finish T-5 last week in Malaysia.
  • World No. 1 Stacy Lewis and second-ranked Inbee Park are not playing this week. They are both ramping up for the season finale at the Race to the CME Globe with just a few events remaining before the CME Group Titleholders in Naples next month.
  • Jason Dufner, the former PGA Champion, returns to action this week at the ISPS Handa Perth International, a co-sanctioned event by the Australasian and European tours. Dufner has been out for several weeks with a neck injury, but was runner-up at this event in 2012. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is the overall betting favorite at 10-1 odds.