Preview & Picks for the Tournament Known as “The One After the Masters”
Course Review (Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head, SC)
Established as a PGA Tour event in 1969, the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town better known as the tournament immediately following The Masters. This event is an invitational. As such, the field is typically around 130 players, as opposed to most with 150+.
It’s a Pete Dye designed course, surrounded by water but lacking in water hazards along the course itself. Sand is prevalent throughout the course, especially off the fairways. This makes it a great event for accurate drivers and strong ball strikers.
The Masters Review & RBC Heritage Preview
Last week, we nearly achieved greatness at The Masters. I know we’ve had close cashes before, but we had a lot of near-hits at Augusta, which makes it very painful. Paul Casey retired before the first round began. Homa crashed-out after making the cut, Hoge finished 39th (T-30), Henley finished 30th (T-5), Matsuyama finished 14th (T-10), Justin Thomas finished 8th (we had him winning), and Will Zalatoris finished 6th (T-5).
Our winners were Taylor Gooch (T-30 and finished 14th), and Cameron Smith (T-5 and finished 3rd). Had Zalatoris not been bumped on the final hole by Lowry and Morikawa, we’d have gone +3.4 units on the week. Instead, we finished at -3.4 units. It was an exciting week, but one we barely misplayed. Remember, you shouldn’t be taking ALL the picks. Take the ones you feel best about. If you take them all, the odds of a net profit go down, unless you really hit a lot.
The RBC Heritage will be a more aggressive play this week than we would normally utilize. Last week, we had the right guys, but we pushed a bit too hard on finishing positions. This week, we are doubling-down and hoping for retribution from the Golf Gods. RBC is great for accurate drivers and great ball strikers, so that’s where we will be looking this week.
Metrics to Track this Week
Long Irons and driving accuracy are crucial to a successful weekend at Harbour Town. We are focused on those particular proficiencies this week when selecting our card candidates:
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Past performance at Harbour Town
- Strokes Gained: Total
- Recent form
- Driving Accuracy
Good luck this week!
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Middle of the Fairway – Five Players to finish in the top 20
Brian Harman +230
Brian Harman was almost automatic for easy T-20 cashes a year ago. This season, the script flipped. Harman got off to a rough start and didn’t log a Top 50 finish until his sixth event. Since that sixth event, Harman has turned things around. He’s now 72nd in the FedEx Cup standings, and has seemingly gotten back on track (Four Top 14 finishes on the season). Brian Harman has four Top 25 finishes here in 12 attempts. He also finished 13th here a year ago.
Brian Harman is 20th in Driving Accuracy PCT, 56th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 47th in Sand Save PCT. Harman is good value here if you have faith he can shake his recent struggles. He has the quality to churn-out T-20 and T-10 performances with ease when he’s on.
Matt Kuchar +230
Matt Kuchar is 43 years old but still playing great golf. This season, he’s 46th in the FedEx Cup standings, notching three T-10 finishes on the season. His most recent finishes were 16th at Valspar and 2nd at the Valero Texas Open. Kuchar has played the RBC Heritage 18 times, finishing in the Top 25 eleven times. He also won this event back in 2016. For someone who has been playing well lately and won here before, these odds are too good to pass-up.
Matt Kuchar is 11th in Sand Save PCT, 24th in Scoring Average, 45th in Driving Accuracy, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 12th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 39th in Strokes Gained: Total. Kuchar has been so successful here over the course of his career. With the form he’s currently in, this pick is easy.
Cameron Young +250
Cameron Young has done a wonderful job blending-in as “that kid in class you don’t know the name of, but you’ve sat next to him for two years.” Young is just 24 years old, but he’s ranked #22 in the FedEx Cup. This season, Young has five Top 25 finishes in just 14 events this season. He also has a pair of second place finishes (Sanderson Farms and Genesis). His second year on tour has been a breakout and soon enough, he’s going to be much more well-known.
Cameron Young is 3rd in Driving Distance, 26th in Scoring Average, 9th in Birdie Average, 5th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 42nd in Strokes Gained: Putting, 40th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 33rd in Strokes Gained: Total.
Adam Hadwin +230
Adam Hadwin is as hot as it gets right now in the world of Golf. Prior to skipping The Masters, Hadwin cashed in consecutive weeks for us. He has three Top 10 finishes in his last three events. He has played this event six times, surviving the cut four times. Though his best finish here is 22nd, Hadwin is playing so well this season, we shouldn’t be shocked to see him break through this year at RBC.
Hadwin is 7th in Sand Save PCT, 31st in Birdie Average, 12th in GIRP, 28th in Driving Accuracy, 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 26th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 26th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 20th in Strokes Gained: Total.
Erik van Rooyen +300
Erik van Rooyen is part of that crew of South African golfers who pops-up in the Top 25 of the occasional tournaments. He’s 32 and ranked 126th in the FedEx Cup standings. Van Rooyen has finished inside the Top 25 in three of his last seven events. 2020 was his only appearance at the RBC Heritage, but he managed to finish 21st.
Erik van Rooyen is 75th in Driving Accuracy, 50th in GIRP, 21st in Strokes Gained: Approach, but a whopping 206th in Sand Save PCT. He doesn’t have the best metrics for this event, but there’s no denying his finish here in 2020 carries weight. At a 3:1 payout, it may be worth the risk.
Edge of the Green – Two Players to finish in the top 10
Kevin Na +600
A Top 10 finish here might be a little ambitious (we are gonna do T-20 at +250 and T-10 at +600). However, Kevin Na is coming-in hot and has the kind of accuracy off the tee to warrant such hope. Na is fresh off the 14th place finish at The Masters and a 9th place finish at Dell Match Play. Kevin also has five Top 10 finishes at Harbour Town in 15 attempts. The “recent form/history here” combo is elite.
Kevin Na is 15th in Driving Accuracy and 9th in Sand Save Pct (lots of sand at Harbour Town). Everywhere else, he’s pretty bad. Na looks like a terrible pick here, but that’s only due to his age and poor form prior to Dell Match Play and The Masters. Na was abysmal at the Genesis and API, but he’s also played just 9 events this season. Don’t take his metrics too seriously. Pay attention to his current form and past performances here.
Sungjae Im +350
Sungjae Im is quietly ranked 8th in the FedEx Cup standings this season. He won at Shriners and has five T-10 finishes on the season. Last week, Im finished 8th at Augusta, but fell out of contention during the final round. Still, the 24 year old Korean has the profile to succeed at Harbour Town. He’s improved his scores here in each of his three events and finished 13th here in 2021.
Sungjae is 13th in Scoring Average, 18th in GIRP, 41st in Driving Accuracy, 17th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 12th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 43rd in Strokes Gained: Putting, 13th in Strokes Gained: Total, and 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. We are optimistic for a strong finish this week, given his strong numbers in relevant categories and recent form.
Short Putt – Three Players to finish in the top 5
Russell Henley +450
Russell Henley is the 21st ranked golfer in the FedEx Cup standings. He finished 30th last week at Augusta and has had a solid season overall. Henley has played RBC Heritage eight times, finishing inside the Top 10 twice (2016 and 2018). He’s in pretty good form right now, but he’s going to have to elevate his game this week to pay-off the +450 odds.
Henley really checks the boxes this week from a metrics standpoint. Russell is 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 27th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 7th in Strokes Gained: Total, 9th in GIRP, 7th in Birdie Average, and 5th in Scoring Average.
Dustin Johnson +350
Dustin Johnson had his moments last week at Augusta. In the end, he simply couldn’t keep any momentum over the weekend, but he still managed to finish 12th. Prior to The Masters, DJ finished 4th at Dell Match Play. DJ has three Top 17 finishes here over the last four attempts. On the season, DJ is ranked 70th in the FedEx Cup. The reason, of course, is the fact he’s only played seven events.
Dustin Johnson is 13th in Birdie Average, 34th in Driving Distance, 20th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 31st in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 40th in Strokes Gained: Total. DJ isn’t the guy he was two years ago, but he’s still a very strong golfer and one who could easily have a solid week at Harbour Town.
Justin Thomas +225
Justin Thomas was our pick to win last week. Even though his comeback bid fell short on Sunday, JT finished 8th and now has some momentum heading into a tourney he is well suited for. Last year, JT finished 8th at RBC Heritage, improving his score in every round and firing a 63 in his final round. Justin Thomas has three Top 10 finishes in his last five tournaments and has finished inside the Top 11 at Harbour Town in two of three events.
Thomas is 15th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 35th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Total, 17th in Driving Distance, 17th in GIRP, 15th in Eagles, 2nd in Birdie Average, and 2nd in Scoring Average. He is the favorite to win this week, but the safest play is a modest T-5 finish.