RBC Heritage Betting Preview: Hideki Matsuyama was able to hold off the chasers last week to win the Masters for his first major championship. Xander Schauffele couldn’t close the gap for a win but did pay out a top 10 finish for us and Will Zalatoris continued his rise with a second place finish.
This week the tour heads to Hilton Head, South Carolina for the RBC Heritage. Harbor Town Golf Links plays host to the RBC and has done so for many years. Harbor Town is a par 71 playing around 7,100 yards.
This has been a Webb Simpson paradise as he won last year after a bunch of good finishes in years past. Harbor Town is one of the shorter, tighter courses on tour. It demands precision and strategic golf where length is not nearly as important.
The tree lined fairways and tiny greens make it really important to hit the fairway and get as many looks at birdie as possible. Good iron players with above average short games have succeeded here for the most part.
The greens are around eight percent harder to hit than the tour average making getting up and down more important than usual as many guys will be in the trees causing a punch out or just missing the really small greens. Strokes Gained: Around the Green will be key.
SG: Approach is always a key stat but even more so here as finding a way to get the ball in position on the greens will be imperative. This statistic is the most predictive week to week and has been the most indicative stat year to year at this event.
Also, considering a players ability to hit fairways and put the ball in play will be a useful lens to view players through as well. The trees are serious problems here if you cannot find the right spots in the fairway.
There have been some super longshot winners here as the field tends to be a bit weak. However, the field is pretty solid this week with some big names and a loaded group in the 20 to 40-1 range. This should be a fun event.
I would expect to see some names that casual fans dont know as this tournament brings a lot more players in to play with how short it is but with Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay among others in the field the winner will likely have to play some stellar golf.
The middle tier of players this week is loaded and the top end is a bit weak and it has pushed some outright numbers down and not left a ton of value in the range I usually like to bet. There are a bunch of players in pretty good form who are listed at lower odds than usual.
Finding a winner here has been tough with CT Pan and Saotashi Kodaira winning the previous two times here before Webb last year. Still there are some nice players teeing it up that I like.
Collin Morikawa +2100 (BetRivers)
Morikawa has shown up here a few times recently but unfortunately we missed out on his win a few weeks ago at the WGC. However, we’re back on him because the fit at Harbor Town is too good to stay away.
Beyond his fit here, Morikawa has shown his ability to win golf tournaments is spectacular. His career win percentage is super high so far in his career and given his win equity, I like this number.
On a course that rewards elite iron play, Morikawa is in his own tier of iron players in this field. He is first in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds in the field and top five in Opportunities Gained (per fantasynational.com). Morikawa had a solid top 20 last week at the Masters.
His form is really nice with a win and two other top 10’s this year and his iron play has been on fire. As long as the putter shows up, he should be in contention and he has proven he can close.
Chris Kirk +6000 (BetRivers)
Kirk has had a really nice season since he was able to retain his tour card earlier this season. He came back from alcohol addiction to resurrect his career. Kirk is a tremendous story and would be a cool player to see win.
Kirk’s game makes a lot of sense at Harbor Town. Kirk is a really good iron player who has a really nice short game as well. He ranks in the top 20 in SG: Approach and SG: Around the Green. He should be able to take advantage of what Harbor Town gives.
His game is really in nice form with four top 25’s in his last five starts and is due for another win. Early in his career he proved he could win on tour. If his putter comes around a bit he should have the game to win this event.
Longshots I like: Doug Ghim +12500 & Matt NeSmith +12500
Matt Fitzpatrick +200
Fitzpatrick’s game may not be more rewarded than at Harbor Town. Fitzpatrick relies almost all on irons and short game and this tournament is won from the fairway in. His putter should be able to shine.
Fitzpatrick has had a nice season since he came over from Europe with four top 11 finishes. His short game has been awesome gaining strokes around the green in the last five events and gaining strokes putting in his last four.
He finds fairways and that is never more important than at Harbor Town. He should be able to plod his way around and chip and putt his way into a top 10. He is one of the best bermuda putters on the earth as well.
Brian Harman +150
Harman is another player who makes up for his lack of distance with iron and short game. This course gives those shorter hits a chance and rewards the things Harman does well.
Harman is a bit of a Pete Dye specialist with lots of good finishes at TPC River Highlands and this event. Harman has also made eight straight cuts with three Top 12 finishes as well.
Harman has also gained strokes on approach in three of his last five starts. His game makes a lot of sense here and his form and Pete Dye history has me in.
Si Woo Kim +175
Kim is another Pete Dye specialist who has won at both the Players and this year at the American Express on Pete Dye tracks. Kim has also finished second at the RBC before.
For whatever reason Kim’s game seems to fit Pete Dye’s courses, and it makes sense with Kim’s iron play and short game. When Kim’s irons are on, he is an elite approach game player, and his short game is consistently solid.
Kim has gained strokes on approach in six of his last eight starts and gained strokes putting in four straight. His game seems to be in a good spot heading to a track he has had success at. Any time Kim pulls up to a course that Pete Dye designed he seems to pop up on the leaderboard.
Longshots I like: Chez Reavie +500 & Tom Hoge +600
Charley Hoffman +100 over Kevin Kisner
Normally this would be a course where you would like Kisner but his recent form just isn’t good. He hasn’t finished better than 32 since early January and has missed his last two cuts. This course should suit him but his game isn’t there right now.
Hoffman on the other hand is trending up. He finished second his last start out and had three top 20’s in his five starts before that. His iron game is really humming right now gaining over 4.8 strokes on approach in each of his last four events.
He has a good track record at this event and his putter has been working lately too with strokes gained putting in three straight.
Kisner may play alright this week but I’ll ride the hot hand here as an underdog.
Ghim popped sixth in my fantasynational.com model this week which surprised me a bit until I looked at his numbers. He is really a good iron player and is solid for the most part everywhere else.
He’s gained strokes on approach in eight straight starts and contended until Sunday at the Players another Pete Dye design. The other Pete Dye course the tour has played this year was the Stadium course at PGA West for the American Express where Ghim finished fifth.
There might be some Pete Dye specialty stuff brewing here and I like his iron game and his value here at +400 to top 20. His talent is immense and it will shine through eventually.