Last week it was all about the Green Jacket and this week on the PGA Tour it is all about a tartan one as the RBC Heritage takes place in South Carolina once again. After the highs of Augusta and The Masters last week it is inevitable that there will be a comedown this week but perhaps not a massive one.
Despite the first major of the year being played out literally just a few days ago a decent enough field has been assembled for this tournament as we head into the business part of the year with some real big events on the horizon. Wesley Bryan won this tournament last year and he defends the title.
2017 – Wesley Bryan
2016 – Branden Grace
2015 – Jim Furyk
2014 – Matt Kuchar
2013 – Graeme McDowell
2012 – Carl Pettersson
2011 – Brand Snedeker
2010 – Jim Furyk
2009 – Brian Gay
2008 – Boo Weekley
We are back at the Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head in South Carolina this week. We saw last year that many of the trees that were here for previous runnings of this tournament are no longer there after the hurricanes in the area a year or so ago but this is still not an easy course to play.
The course is a par 71 which is only 7,099 yards long so it certainly isn’t one which length is a huge necessity. In fact, if you look at the roll of honour they are all excellent ball strikers rather than pounders of the golf ball. Tee to green specialists are advisable but scrambling is a massive statistic this week.
The world number one Dustin Johnson headlines the field this week while the likes of Paul Casey, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, who all had good tournaments at Augusta last week are also all teeing it up this week.
The defending champion Wesley Bryan also joins them as do former winners Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchar among others. From Europe, Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick have stayed on in America while Ian Poulter and Harbour Town regular Luke Donald also tee it up.
It is the top ranked Dustin Johnson who leads the betting this week. He is 9/1 to win the tournament but this doesn’t really feel like an event for him. His length is not a massive advantage this week and he isn’t performing well enough on the greens to interest me at the price. Paul Casey would be more of a proposition at 16/1 but he was complaining of a bad back last week which is less than ideal.
The former champion Matt Kuchar is 20/1 to land this title again which on the face of it looks fair enough but in truth his form is nowhere near good enough to justify that price. The Australian pair of Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are 25/1 and 28/1 respectively and they would appear to be much more attractive potential winners if they have overcome the hefty mental workload of last week.
Webb Simpson is a 28/1 chance to win the title with his potential Ryder Cup teammates Brian Harman and Patrick Cantlay 30/1 and 33/1 respectively. A case can be make for the lot of them and I’m about to make one for one in particular. It is 33/1 bar those named.
I’m going to go with a couple of main bets this week with the first of those being on Webb Simpson. You wouldn’t necessarily think that Simpson would be a contender on a course where you need to be able to scramble and putt well but actually he is doing that very solidly this year. He was second in the field in putting at Augusta last week which would have been unheard of a few years ago. He has also scrambled well in the main. He has top 10s at the Sony, which is very relevant here, the Honda and at the Valspar so he’s in good form and I like the look of the American this week.
I was praying that Kevin Kisner didn’t do too much last week because I have been desperate to back him since his run in the WGC Match Play where we saw that his short game was coming good again. He was third on the greens last week to highlight that and earlier in the season he was fourth in the RSM Classic which I consider to be important and although he was 25th in the Sony Open he did shoot a 64 along the way. Kisner comes alive at this time of year. He was second here three years ago and could well go one better here.
Jim Furyk doesn’t play many tournaments these days with his Ryder Cup commitments but I can’t help but chance my arm on him. He is perfectly suited to this course with his precise tee to green game and his underrated short game. The only thing that has lacked in recent tournaments has been the putter but he knows these greens as well as anyone given that he has won twice around here and finished second twice too. He has a plethora of top 15 finishes here as well and he was in the top six for scrambling at both the Honda and the Valspar. A repeat of that should see him go very close here.
Kelly Kraft is an interesting contender. In the Dominican Republic a couple of weeks before The Masters he led the field statistically on his way to a third placed finish where he was second in scrambling so he is clearly finding some form with the shorter clubs in the bag. He nailed a second placed finish in South Carolina in his Web.com Tour days which shows he likes the climate in this part of the world and when you factor in his top 10 at the Honda too there is enough to like about Kraft at a three figure price.
I’ve backed Andrew Landry a couple of times this season and we were so close to getting all the bacon from him at the CareerBuilder when Jon Rahm beat him in a playoff. A couple of tournaments prior to that he was fourth in the RSM Classic which bodes well here because the track at Sea Island is very similar to this one. Landry led the scrambling at the CareerBuilder and was fourth in that statistic in the RSM. He was fifth in a pro-am on the Web.com Tour in South Carolina last year so he likes this area and with no massive emphasis on pounding the ball off the tee I fancy he could give us another serious run for our money.
PLACED – Back W.Simpson to win RBC Heritage (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back A.Landry to win RBC Heritage (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 301.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
PLACED – Back K.Kisner to win RBC Heritage (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back him here:
Back J.Furyk to win RBC Heritage (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Unibet (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
Back K.Kraft to win RBC Heritage (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-7)
Back him here: