PGA Tour: RBC Heritage Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We take a look at this week's PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage, set to take place at Harbour Town Links Golf Course.

The PGA Tour heads to South Carolina in the wake of a memorable Masters, which saw Captain America himself Patrick Reed crowned Augusta champion. One could not have picked a greater contrast to Augusta this week, as the tour heads towards one of the smallest golf courses on the PGA Tour: Harbour Town Links Golf Course.

This event has been on tour since 1969, and has been hosted at Harbour Town since 1972. The Heritage is one of the five events on tour that is based on invitational status, with a reduced field of 132.

RBC Heritage | 12 April - 15 April | Harbour Town Links Golf Course, South Carolina

The course was co-designed by legendary designer Pete Dye and the Golden Bear himself: Jack Nicklaus. This is a 7,099 yard par 71 that can actually play at under 7,000 yards depending upon which line players depend to choose in tackling this tactically challenging course. The small course features signature small greens and tight fairways, with an iconic lighthouse near the 18th green. Being a Pete Dye designed course, there are several approaches that are blind and course management is paramount on this course. It is also the sort of course that tends to reward familiarity.

The event has been buoyed by the fact that World Number One Dustin Johnson has decided to make the trip this week, while perennial contenders such as Paul Casey and Matt Kuchar should provide stiff opposition this week. Harbour Town alumni Luke Donald will be looking to finally win an event that has just eluded him on so many occasions. Wesley Bryan is the defending champion after that fairy-tale conquest last season.

Past Winners
2017: Wesley Bryan (-13)
2016: Branden Grace (-9)
2015: Jim Furyk (-18)*playoff
2014: Matt Kuchar (-11)
2013: Graeme McDowell (-9)*playoff

To Win Outright
Dustin Johnson 17/2, Paul Casey 14/1, Matt Kuchar 20/1, Mark Leishman 28/1, Cameron Smith 30/1

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Value Bets

Adam Hadwin- To Win 33/1, To Place 7/1
The young Canadian started brilliantly at Augusta, but faded away as the event progressed. Shooting to fame with that 59 at the Valspar Championship last season, Hadwin is also not one of the biggest hitters on the tour. He finished 22nd here last season, but has shown a steady year-by-year improvement around this golf course. He has performed brilliantly at Copperhead, which is a great corollary course to this one- as evidenced by the fact that Patrick Cantley won both events last season.

Luke Donald- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Former World Number One Luke Donald is currently ranked 196th in the world, but he shares a special affinity for this event. He has unbelievably had seven top three finishes here since 2009, in what has become an event that essentially ensures his PGA Tour status every season. In that spell he has finished runner-up on five occasions, which along with a third place finish is perhaps as dominant as one can be without actually winning an event. He may be in poor form, but Donald has been in poor form for the last five years. This event just brings out the best in one of the forgotten men of the sport.

William McGirt- To Win 75/1, To Place 16/1
William McGirt is one of the shorter hitters on tour and needs to cash in when events like these come around. And cash in he has, with three top 10s since 2014 at Harbour Town. On all of those occasions he sat T19 or better after the first round. His recent performances haven’t been poor, they perhaps reflect his limitations. He had top 35 finishes at the Honda Classic, Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Championship. His last top 10 came at the RSM Classic. The Sea Island Golf Course is similarly short and strategic to Harbour Town, and he could be decent value in the palace markets.

The Man to Beat- Brian Harman- To Win 33/1, To Place 7/1
Relatively short but exceptionally accurate, this course should suit the left-handed Harman to the tee. He perhaps found Augusta a bit long, but one can’t ignore the fall form, that this man showed. He had a run of five top eight finishes though the fall and Hawaii. He also registered another top five in Mexico last month. He will be welcoming a trip to an event that had the shortest average drives on the PGA Tour last season.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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