10/21/2014

Two events down and a lot to go. After last week’s Shiners with Ben Martin emerging victorious¬†and week one’s Frys.com and Sang Moon Bae, we now move to the McGladrey Classic and the east coast. I mean, the Tour hasn’t been to Georgia in a while (its been weeks since the Tour Championship), so let’s dive into what Sea Island has to offer this week!

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Course

Hosted by the beautiful Seaside Course, the McGladrey Classic is in its fifth edition. When players come to the McGladrey, many of them don’t forget to bring birdies. This course, a resort-style layout, is an easy course for the professionals. In 2012, it was the easiest par-70 in scoring with a scoring average of 69.28. Last year, the course’s only defense (the weather) helped elevate scoring.

Although the 7,000 yard layout doesn’t present a strenuous challenge for Tour players off the tees, it requires excellent course management and an electric putter. During the 2011 event (the second playing), it ranked inside the top-five most challenging in putting average of all courses on Tour.

Last year, it was a tough, tough finish for Briny Baird. (Full article here)

Past 5 Champions

2013– Chris Kirk -14

2012– Tommy Gainey -15

2011– Ben Crane -16

2010– Heath Slocum -14

2009– No tournament

Contenders

Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson at the Deutsche Bank Championship

Webb is one of the obvious picks to go with this week for contention. A Georgia native, he played well at the Shriners with rounds of 69, 65, 67 and 68 on Sunday.

He recently voiced his disappointment at the Ryder Cup, saying “The golf side was a terrible experience because I only played in two matches,” Simpson said. “I showed up in Scotland really ready to play and excited to play, and when you sit through three matches in a row, it’s tough.”

But his play last week indicates his game is in form. A T7 here last year and a loss in a playoff in 2011 give Webb and advantage to pull from at the McGladrey.

Tony Finau

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We wrote a piece on Tony earlier this week, pointing towards his prodigious length and road to the PGA Tour. The guy is a serious talent and is already a player to be reckoned with on Tour.

Last week, Finau locked a T7 last week and a T12 at the Frys.com in his first start. He’s going to be out here for the long-haul.

On a short course, Finau should have an opportunity to create birdie chances in an abundance. I would buy stock on Finau if I had the chance.

Sleeper

Adam Hadwin

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He was the money winner on the 2014 Web.com Tour and the Canadian is now making a name for himself on the PGA Tour. On Sunday, he fired a 63 at the Shriners and is another one of those grads proving he may be here to stay on Tour.

The Moose Jaw native is a potential play for a T25 this week, especially in the sleeper category.

Winner

Harris English

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Here he is folks, your 2014 McGladrey champion and back-to-back Georgia Bulldog champs (with Chris Kirk’s win last year). Last week, his game took one more step towards winning an event as he finished T16 in Vegas. He’s been inside the top-30 at Seaside in each of the last two years.

He’s one of those “long and accurate” guys, a rare combo to find on Tour. If he can average three bills off the tee as we’ve come accustomed to seeing from him and he can keep it in play, he will make a lot of birdies on the Georgia track.

And he’s a Georgia guy.

Follow Troy Klongerbo on Twitter @troy_usgolftv