RBC Heritage Picks and Preview
The Heritage has always been a punters friend with a wealth of knowledge and stats to pour over from down the years. This year is no different and I will find it significantly easier than last weeks task where if bookies priced a market to finish 2nd at Augusta down the years I'd be retired to the golf course. Accuracy merchants here have dominated proceedings as Grace, Furyk, Kuchar, McDowell, Snedeker, Gay and co will testify to. Hitting the ball in the right parts of the fairway is a necessity for approach play here and down the last few years scrambling has played a fair part in finding the winner also. Distance off the tee does not hold any advantage around Harbour Town and those with the accurate game off the tee and sufficient approach play to the right parts will gain advantage over the rest.
Dustin Johnson leads the betting but it is worth noting those who appeared in the Masters the week before have a sketchy record here, especially those who contended the finish. DJ is one who could easily overcome that however this track doesn't exactly play to his strengths and bookies have taken that into account by pricing him at +700. To suggest Molinari and Schauffele can't overcome last weeks exploits would be foolish as they are top class golfers who have appeared to be very strong mentally in recent times. I have to say I'm mildly tempted to back either or both of them but understand the risk involved and will instead plump for a few at bigger prices.
One who I am sure can overcome last weeks disappointment is Bryson Dechambeau. The intricacies of Harbour Town give the scientist the chance to gain advantage on the rest by plotting his way around and positioning himself with precision on each hole. He will pay huge attention to the best places to play approaches from and this is evident in his finishes here. Two top 4 finishes in 3 years suggest this is a place where Bryson will eventually wear the winners jacket. The missed cut in between came in the midst some poor form and can be somewhat glossed over. He was ultimately disappointing last week having got to the lead at one stage at Augusta but many have succumbed to that course down the years and it is of no worry to me that he fell away. The price tempts me more than anything this week as he has played like a top 5 golfer in the world over the last 12 months and Dustin can rightfully be considered a very weak favorite.
2u - B.Dechambeau to win @ +1600
2u - B.Dechambeau top 10 @ +150
SungJae Im looks a must for our betting slips this week given he has barely put a foot wrong in the last few weeks and has posted very impressive results since joining the tour late last year. The |Korean finished 4th in his first standard tour event at the Safeway last Autumn. Since then Top 20s have followed at the Shriners, Sony, Desert and Valero events. Top tens are also piling up finishing 7th in Phoenix, 3rd at Bayhill, 4th at Copperhead and 7th in Punta Cana. There hasn't been many down the years who have started their tour career in such style and it may just be that he is a shade unfashionable that he hasn't quite got the plaudits he deserves. He putts well on Bermuda greens and it is worth noting that top 5 at Copperhead as form there has translated to this course on numerous occasions. The last two winners (Kodaira, Bryan) have both won on their first appearance here. Sungjae Im looks capable of continuing that trend.
1.5u - S.Im to win @ +5000
1.5u - S.Im top 10 @ +500
Matt Fitzpatrick looks the perfect fit for Harbour Town and it'd surprise me if he didn't seriously contend the finish here some time in the near future. The Englishman has seized opportunities on courses that suit him with regularity over the last few years and Harbour Town just has to fall into that bracket. He finished 14th here last year just four strokes of the winning score and a better effort can be expected this time around if he can overcome the Augusta hangover. Two wins and a runner up in Crans are a fine example of how Fitzpatrick plays to his strengths and rarely misses an opportunity to play an event where the course setup suits his game. A win at Woburn and two top 3 finishes in Hong Kong are other examples where he has capitalised upon tracks that setup well for him. I worry slightly about the lead in after Augusta but he is a young man with confidence looking his first win on the PGA Tour having finished an impressive 2nd at the Arnold Palmer earlier in the year. He is priced just about right but rates as one of the more likelier winners.
1u - M.Fitzpatrick to win @ +4000
1u - M.Fitzpatrick top 10 @ +500
Lucas Glover hasn't done anything special here down the years but given he arrives here in some of the best form in his career looks a bit overpriced to me. He hits a straight enough ball and proximity to the hole stats suggest he is hitting it close enough to targets this season also. This has been translated into some lovely results. In 12 appearances this season he has missed two cuts and hasn't been outside the top 20 in any of the other ten. That is incredible consistency for Glover who has struggled to make much of an impact on tour since winning the 2009 US Open. A win followed at Quail Hollow a few years later but it has been a barren spell since. That looks like it could potentially end soon and Harbour Town should suit an in form Glover
1u - L.Glover to win @ +4000
1u - L.Glover top 10 @ +400