The PGA will be hosting its second event since the restart this week as players flock to Hilton Head Island to take on the Harbour Town Golf Links. DraftKings has a free-to-play pool on DraftKings Sportsbook that enables their users to get in on the action. To participate in the pool, choose winners on props offered up by the contest and compete for $5k in free prizes. Head here to participate: DraftKings Sportsbook Pools.
The venue this week has been a regular stop on Tour for quite some time, so there are plenty of players with solid course history in play. Harbour Town has small Bermuda greens that can be tricky to navigate and we’ve had plenty of winners in the late 30’s or older here over the years. Still, as we saw last week, where several younger players contended despite having almost zero course experience, overweighing course history may not be the best idea as the power and iron games from the younger players tend to be overwhelming everyone else at the moment.
Regardless of how you’re approaching things, I’ve written up my thoughts on this week’s DK Sportsbook pool and have tried to give you decisive picks and strategies to employ at each level. Hope you enjoy.
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Who will have the best finishing position? Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau or 2 or more Tie
We start off with arguably the toughest tier to navigate, as all three players showed flashes of brilliance last week. Of the three, DeChambeau undoubtedly performed the best as he led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green stats and missed out on the playoff by just a stroke. Both McIlroy and Thomas struggled on Sunday, with Rory’s “implosion” round sure to have many people nervous about clicking his name here. Still, you have to like the fact that going with Rory (still the number one player in the world) might be the contrarian play, especially since he’ll be playing a Pete Dye designed venue. Rory’s typically dominated Dye designs over his career with wins at Kiawah Island and TPC Sawgrass. Despite DeChambeau’s ever increasing driving prowess, I like playing Rory here for a bounce-back week to start things off.
Who will have the best finishing position? Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa or 2 or more Tie
Morikawa is coming off a heartbreaking finish as he missed a short birdie putt on 18 (which would have won him the event) and another short one in the playoff that would have pushed it to an extra hole. Despite the heartbreak though, I like going back to the 23-year-old as he gained over six strokes with his irons alone at Colonial and will be playing another tight venue in Harbour Town GL that accentuates iron play and accuracy over pure power. As for the other two, both Schauffele and Rahm had putter issues of their own last week with Rahm losing over three strokes on Friday alone with the flatstick and missing the cut. Still, Rahm is the highest ranked golfer of the three and doesn’t seem likely to string together two bad weeks. For me, it’s Morikawa here, although going with Rahm as a contrarian move makes sense if you’re not as confident in the younger Morikawa.
Who will have the best finishing position? Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger or 2 or more Tie
Berger is coming off a massive week, as he gained his first win on the PGA in over two years at Colonial. The American gained over five strokes with his putter last week on Colonial’s bentgrass greens and has actually been a better putter on Bermuda grass over his career (the style of this week’s greens). While Patrick Reed also played well last week and ended up just two shots out of the playoff, the decision for me is between Berger and Webb Simpson. Simpson has destroyed Harbour Town over his career and gained the seventh-most Strokes Total at this venue over the past five seasons. Despite Webb’s course history though, Berger’s solid iron game and hot putter just seems like too good of a combo to fade right now, and given how long between wins it was for him, I doubt we’ll see much of a hangover.
Who will have the best finishing position? Justin Rose, SungJae Im, Jordan Spieth or 2 or more Tie
All three of these men played well last week, with Rose ending up as the high man on the totem pole by landing himself in T3 for the week. Despite his better finish though, I’m still partial to fading the two major championship winners here and going with the young South Korean in SungJae Im. Im has now racked up three top-10 finishes over his last three starts and has clearly played the best of these three over their cumulative last five starts. I’m also wary of the fact that both Spieth and Rose gained over five strokes each with their putter last week and may be hard-pressed to duplicate that performance. I don’t see any of these three necessarily contending for the win, so taking the “2 or more tie” option might be a valid option here, but I think avoiding that high-risk option is the best play for the most part and going with the most in-form player here in Im makes sense.
Who will have the best finishing position? Matt Kuchar, Tyrrell Hatton, Hideki Matsuyama or 2 or more Tie
Both Hatton and Matsuyama will be making their first start of the season this week, while Kuchar will be looking to make a quick bounce back after a surprising missed cut at Colonial. There’s tons of reasons to like Kuchar here as he has gained the most Strokes (Total) at Harbour Town over the past five seasons, and also won the event in 2014. Still, Matsuyama looked ready to dominate right before the Tour went on hiatus and he was ranked third in SG: Tee to Green stats on Tour going into the break. These three men are all within five spots of each other in the OWGR at the moment so there may be a compelling argument here to pick the tie option again, but I like Hideki to prevail as he’s been the most consistent of the three in 2020 to date.
Who will have the best finishing position? Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland or 2 or more Tie
From a course fit standpoint, none of these three have a ton of appeal, as power is typically deemphasized at Harbour Town due to its multiple doglegs and small fairways. Woodland played the best of three last week, as DJ missed the cut and Finau struggled with his ball-striking to a T23 finish. Even though Dustin is the only one who has recorded some success at Harbour Town—he was T16 here in 2018—I think going with Gary is the better play. Woodland ranked first in SG: Approaches last week against a very tough field and has handled short, trickier venues like Harbour Town well in the past. I like taking him here, but this one feels less certain given that all three of these players can self-destruct with their putters at any time.
Who will have the best finishing position? Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka or 2 or more Tie
As tempting as it may be to take Koepka here—he is the fourth-ranked player in the world—I am going to go out on a limb and say Matthew Fitzpatrick might be the play here. Brooks lost over 4.9 strokes on his approaches last week, not a great sign considering Harbour Town generally requires some of the most accurate iron play on Tour. Watson was easily the best of the bunch last week but I’m not sure if he can put together back-to-back great putting weeks. Instead, I’ll take Fitzpatrick here, who has finished T39 and T14 at Harbour Town the last two seasons and looked to be in good form prior to the break, posting a T9 at the Arnold Palmer.
Who will have the best finishing position? Victor Hovland, Jason Kokrak, Branden Grace or 2 or more Tie
Despite both Grace and Kokrak having the much better course history at Harbour Town—Grace actually won the event in 2016—I like taking the 22-year-old Hovland here, who showed last week that he may be close to posting a big round or two soon. Hovland ended last week with a 66 and gained over 2.5 strokes with his irons alone in the final round. He also showed improved play around the greens last week, gaining strokes for the first time in that area in over 10 starts. Kokrak has also played well at this week’s venue, finishing inside the top-20 on three of his five starts here, but Hovland is the clear talent of this group and the other two players he’s paired with here have been inconsistent for much of their career, so I like going with youth in this spot.
Who will have the best finishing position? Ian Poulter, Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel or 2 or more Tie
None of these three men impressed much last week, with Fowler being the clear dog of the group as he missed the cut by one stroke. From a course history perspective, Poulter seems like the obvious choice here as he’s third at Harbour Town in SG: Total over the past five seasons and has finished inside the top-12 each of the past three years here. Still, I like going with Fowler as he’s the highest-ranked golfer in the OWGR of the three and seems unlikely to be the overly chalky pick based on his lack of success at the first event back. None of these three seem likely to contend, but Fowler has the clear upside even though he’s been up and down all year.
Who will have the best finishing position? Abraham Ancer, Scottie Scheffler, Kevin Kisner or 2 or more Tie
Our final group is an interesting one, as all three of these men played well in spurts last week and it wouldn’t be shocking to see one or more of them play well again at this week’s venue. Kisner has the clear course history advantage, as he’s not missed the cut at Harbour Town in any of the past five seasons and finished runner-up here back in 2015. Despite that, I’ll lean with recent form over course history and go with Ancer as my choice. He ranked seventh in SG: Tee to Green stats last week and was just a few putts away from getting in contention late. These three rank out quite evenly to me this week, so if there was ever a group where you might punt and go for the tie this would be it, but otherwise, Ancer gets my vote.
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