The PGA will host its second event since the restart this week as the best players on the planet flock to Hilton Head Island to take on the Harbour Town Golf Links.
Just like last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, this week’s RBC Heritage has been moved to an unfamiliar month due to the pandemic and will be contested for the first time in June, assuming the original slot traditionally occupied by the U.S. Open and will finish on Father’s Day.
As of the start of the week, the 153-man field at Harbour Town Golf Links includes 117 who competed at Colonial Country Club last week including the top-5 players in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Charles Schwab recap
The golf finally returned last week and what a few days we enjoyed as, before Sunday’s final round, there were over 10 players within a couple of shots of the lead including, McIlroy, JT, Schauffele and Spieth – and it was a little surprising that besides Schauffele, who missed a 3 footer on 17th to miss the playoff by one, none of them were really in the reckoning.
Instead, we got a playoff between Collin Morikawa and Daniel Berger. Morikawa made his 22nd straight cut since turning pro, three short of Tiger’s record, with the second year pro ranked 2nd tee to green gaining over 9 shots, but when it mattered the most his putter let him down first missing a 6 footer for the win on 18th and then giving away the tournament with a miss from half that distance on the first playoff hole.
Daniel Berger certainly did his part to be in a spot to take advantage of the mistakes though. Ranking in the top 10 on Sunday off the tee, on approach and putting, he didn’t falter down the stretch to pick up his third PGA Tour victory and his first since coming back from a wrist injury a couple of years ago and is 29.00* to make it back-to-back wins this week.
As for our bets, the less said the better, but like a player who misses a cut, we dust our self-off and go again this week.
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links
Length: 7100 yards (Par71)
Greens: TifEagle Bermuda
Architect: Pete Dye
For the second week in a row, all the top 5 in the world will be at a course that usually gets a so-so field. This is, of course,e schedule related as The Heritage usually is the week after the Masters and now being the second tournament after the Covid-19 enforced break we will get a chance to see the worlds best at one of the classical PGA Tour courses.
The Pete Dye design is a short, narrow and treelined course with a links feel, and to an even bigger degree than Colonial, takes driver out of the hands of the golfers.
Harbour Town has some of the smallest Bermuda greens on tour. With the five last winners being C.T Pan, Wesley Bryan, Kodaira, Grace and Furyk this tournament seems to have been one of the few on tour that favours the short and straight hitters, but how getting the best in the world who most are bombers will influence this is uncertain. Since it is located just by the sea and is susceptible to wind make sure you check the latest weather updates.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at for:
- Par 4 scoring
- Strokes gained approach
- Proximity 150-200 yards
- Strokes gained around the green
- Bermuda putting
- Pete Dye record
2019/20 Season overview:
Wagered: 111.6 units
Won: 149.66 units
Result: +38.06 units
Outright winners: Hero World Challenge: Henrik Stensson 25-1, Farmers Insurance Open: Marc Leishman 50-1
The case against the new and bigger Bryson is that his newfound length off the tee could be somewhat negated around the narrow Hilton Head track. With that said he now has four straight top 5 finishes dating back to before the break and should have won last week had it not been for getting a flyer on his approach on 17th on Sunday.
He does, of course, gain off the tee each week but he has also gained both on approach and putting in 6 of his last 7 seven starts so for the few people that still think he just smashes it and hopes for the best that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
That he is one of the few world-class players that have played here regularly over the last years should not be overlooked either as he has a 3rd and a 4th at this place over the last four years.
Webb was horrendous in the first round last week losing 3.3 strokes on approach, but the world-class iron player turned it around overnight gaining 2.4 strokes on Friday.
Though that this wasn’t enough to make the cut and therefore giving the U.S Open champion a couple of days extra to prepare for a tournament where he has two top 5 finishes in previous years I see as a positive.
He is now back on Bermuda where he ranks 5th in the field putting and as a previous Players Champion, he of course thrive on Pete Dye courses.
The last we saw of the South Korean before the break was him once again going low around Sawgrass as the former Players Champion shot a -7 (65) and was sitting in second when the tournament got cancelled.
Now he is back on another Pete Dye track where he has played well, he lost in a playoff here two years ago and also has a T-14 in his three previous starts at this course.
On all Pete Dye courses, he ranks 6th in the field over the last 50 rounds. He did not play well last week and missed the cut, but he is known to pop up on courses he likes no matter the form.
How to watch
Sky Sports are showing live Featured Group coverage from 12:45 on Thursday and Friday, with full coverage beginning at 21:00 (UK and Ireland time) for the first two days. The third and fourth round live coverage begins at 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
*Odds subject to change
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