(2.5u) Bryson DeChambeau to finish Top 10 @ +175
What a treat we witnessed last weekend with drama ten fold what I expected on the first week back after a long break. Often staged close to Major Championships the Heritage has struggled to gather the field it deserves year on year, but this term they have landed the motherload and pretty much the exact same field from Colonial last week makes the trip to Harbour Town. Going into Colonial last week we mentioned how it was a fiddly track very rarely overpowered. Plenty of drivers were executed though and some ripped up that rule book. Similarly Harbour Town is rarely overpowered and a strategic game where you can place the ball in the right part of the fairway to attack the small greens is paramount. Inevitably greens will be missed around here and scrambling becomes an important stat to look at. As always a glance back at last weeks statistics will prove interesting as we see whose game is in the best shape to tackle this fiddly track.
McIlroy heads the field after a disappointing effort last Sunday. It was a slightly worrying round of golf as sometimes these things get into his head for the short term. It's unlikely to affect him too much though. Harbour Town is another place where the bombers don't hold the same advantage. They flipped that somewhat at Colonial but I they don't have as many 'tiger lines' to go down this week and I expect a slightly different leaderboard. If McIlroy takes the right strategy he is tempting as they won't shoot the same scores as they did last week here at Harbour Town. Sometimes the Irishman can make it look incredibly easy whilst others flap about. I wouldn't put anyone off at the price.
I'll go in reasonably heavy on two towards the front of the market this week. First up is Bryson Dechambeau. I backed him in this last year at +1600-to-+1800 and although we have a much stronger field this week around the same price just doesn't quite look right. I'm of the opinion he is the best golfer in the world at this moment in time and should certainly be closer to McIlroy in the betting. Which price is the most out of whack I'm not totally sure but I do feel they should be sitting somewhat alongside. Bryson has two top 5s here when he played a completely different game. I think his new game isn't quite as suited but his interview on Sunday was so bullish when he said he was only a few putts dropping from running away with the thing. He is absolutely motoring on confidence and looks every bit the most likely winner as Rory does. He was monstrous off the tee last week and it'll be his handywork around the greens that will come under the most pressure this week. He is the best golfer in the field though right now and I can't help myself but get involved.
(2.5u) Xander Schauffele to finish Top 10 @ +225
Xander Schauffele was just a few good swings away from winning last week and he just let it slide on the back 9. Nevertheless he was hugely impressive and his scrambling was second to none. He was 51/51 inside 5 feet before the horrible horseshoe late on Sunday evening. He has let a few opportunities pass him by but last week was more evidence he is at his best on tighter, more strategic tracks, despite his prowess off the tee. I still believe he is slightly ahead of the handicapper in that he'll win more majors than most in his current category. Short game will once again be key here this week and I find it hard not to see him in the mix once again. His price about right with some juice on the exchanges. I'll be splitting up and hitting some win only also.
(1u) Tony Finau to finish Top 10 @ +500
I can't help but feel Tony Finau is worth a play this week around the +5000 mark. He was let down by his approach play last week but gained in proximity from 150-200 yards on the field. With the majority of shots coming in from that distance this week I'm hoping he can better his respectable top 25 finish last week. Most of his game was in fine shape last week and I think he's a shade overpriced. He has a very decent major record and Harbour Town is one of those tracks that is not easily overpowered and Finau has the knowledge to get around these slightly more difficult venues. He putted very well last week and that'll be crucial if you want to win this week with the amount of scrambling that will inevitably occur. It's a major field and he has shown his credentials when the field is at its best. Get the pen and paper at the ready for Sunday evening Mr Harrop!
(1u) Brian Harman to finish Top 10 @ +850
Brian Harman put up a fight last week despite not being able to keep up with the mega hitters. Theoretically this should be a simpler task this week and he looks a shade overpriced. He lost four strokes to the field off the tee last week but still managed to finish inside the top 25. He ranked 3rd in strokes gained around the green which should be a vital stat when we look at the leaderboard next Monday. Those strokes gained stats off the tee should surely come closer to zero and maybe even a positive number with slightly more room off the tee and another fiddly track. He gained proximity on the field from the 150-200 mark last week and a similar performance should see that amplified with the bombers less of a chance to overpower this track than last week. Everything going for him and he got a lot from his game last week.
(1u) Kevin Kisner to finish Top 10 @ +500
Kisner has unsurprisingly been backed early doors and his price is probably about right now. Nevertheless he looks a very likely contender having gone close here on multiple occasions. A win at Colonial and a runner up finish here is backed up by top 5s at East Lake and Waialae. Kisner is at his best at these strategic, coastal tracks and looks set for another solid effort here. His stats last week very solid in all departments with putting being the element that let him down ever so slightly. He is better suited to these greens and if he manages to hole a few putts he should be right in contention. Has his trouble closing on numerous occasions also so the pink button may need to be hit at some point, but we'll see.
(0.75u) Brian Stuard to finish Top 10 @ +2500
Brian Stuard was mentioned in some quarters last week and has been easily overlooked this week at a huge +30000. He was the top performer around the greens last week and was let down by making no gains off the tee. He has just the credentials we'd look for here with a win at Zurich, 2 runner up spots at Mayakoba and two top 6 finishes at Waialae. Add to that a top 5 finish here in 2014 and we have a proper sleeper in the pack. I'm very surprised he has been chalked up at 300. Of the others Sungjae Im is a precision player and could follow up with another win. The course suits Fitzpatrick and it'd be no surprise should he be right up there. An in play wager may be the best way to play the Englishman. Oosthuizen looks slightly overpriced also having made the cut last week losing strokes in most departments. He could bounce back. Ancer, Sabbatini, Reed and Cauley were others on a long list which is hard to whittle down.