The TOUR will travel southeast to Hilton Head, S.C., for The RBC Heritage this week. Harbour Town Golf Links will play as a par 71, measuring 7,121 yards and will be putt on Bermuda greens. The tournament is back in its regular post-Masters spot in the schedule and has 135 golfers in the field at press time. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the home of the 2021 PGA Championship (May 20-23), is 120 miles up the road.
This Pete Dye design is not as innocuous as it appears on paper. The course has increased in distance since it was built back in 1969, but it’s still short compared to most other TOUR courses. The fairways are tree-lined, which will cause players to use more irons and driving metals Off-the-Tee to get the ball in the fairways. There’s a higher scrambling percentage than TOUR average and a lower Greens in Regulation hit rate here with the smallest greens on TOUR (approx. 3,700 square feet). The proximity to the coast can also present challenging conditions if inclement weather is in the forecast. The highest distribution of approach shots (approximately 25%) is coming in from 175 to 200 yards out, with players hitting fewer drivers.
That said, this isn’t a difficult golf course when the winds are down. Last season, it ranked as the fifth easiest course in scoring relative to par with little to no wind. Golfers striking the ball well won’t find Harbour Town GL tough to navigate, even though it presents some challenges with its design. Eagles are few and far between, but the three par 5s should be reasonably easy to walk away from with a birdie, recording a 40% birdie rate on average across all three. There are also two par 4s under 400 yards, which players will need to score on when given the opportunity. Placement off-the-tee is essential as well as approach, per all Dye courses. Will smaller greens, golfers should also have a decent short game to get it up and down when needed.
Daniel Berger (+2000 to Win, $10,000 on DraftKings)
His early departure from Augusta National shouldn’t steer you away from him this week, especially with how well he plays on Dye courses. Over the previous 12 rounds, Berger ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green on Dye designs and finished third here last season (in June). His Masters performance wasn’t pretty, but it had much to do with his putting and not his ball-striking, losing 3.03 strokes on the greens. Berger’s irons were solid at Augusta National, gaining a total of 1.74 strokes over Thursday and Friday. He’s also done well at some other coastal courses like Waialae CC and Pebble Beach and already has a win this season.
Paul Casey (+2800 to Win, $9,200 on DraftKings)
Casey should also be a consideration this week with how well he played at Augusta National, ranking 10th overall in approach. His success on Dye courses should also be evidence to roster him, as he ranks in the top 4 in Strokes Gained: Total over his past 50 rounds. Fatigue may be an issue for the Englishman, but it shouldn’t be enough to take you away from him this week with how well he’s playing this season.
Abraham Ancer (+2500 to Win, $8,900 on DraftKings)
Few have been better than Ancer on Dye courses recently, with Ancer ranking fourth in total strokes gained over the previous 24 rounds. Unlike Berger, Ancer made the weekend at The Masters, finishing T26 and carding a 2-under on Sunday. His final round last week was impressive, gaining 3.08 stokes with his approach, which is what you want to see heading into this week. Looking further back, Ancer has now gained strokes through approach in his past seven events. Harris English (+5000, $8,400) also looks the part and is someone to really consider after a top 25 at Augusta National last week. His success on coastal courses is undeniable, with wins or top finishes at Kapalua, Waialae CC, Sea Island Resort, Torrey Pines and down in Mexico at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.
K.H. Lee (+20000 to Win, $6,600 on DraftKings)
Lee is coming off a top 25 at the Valero Texas Open a couple of weeks ago, where he ranked inside the top 10 in approach. He also recorded a 32nd-place finish at The American Express, another Pete Dye design. A top 20 at the Sony Open to start the calendar year is also a good sign that Lee could do well here. Although he’s struggling with the putter, Bermuda greens are by far his preferred surface. Luke List (+15000, $6,900) should also be making the shortlist of golfers to back in this range. List is an unbelievable ball-striker and can get hot on these shorter courses. His success on Dye courses can be found in his top-3 finish here in 2018 and his 21st at The American Express earlier this year. List also ranks 27th in approach over his past 12 rounds on Dye courses.
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