The week after the Masters will again feature the RBC Heritage in its normal place on the schedule, after last year’s event was held in June. The Heritage often suffers from Masters fatigue in terms of strength of field but we have a solid field for 2021. World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson will headline as he continues to show up at all RBC hosted events thanks to his sponsorship with the RBC. Additionally, World No. 4 Collin Morikawa, World No. 9 Webb Simpson and World No. 10 Patrick Cantlay will all be partaking as well.
Simpson won this event last year and has a terrific record at this course. Last year’s sensation Will Zalatoris, fresh off his solo 2nd place finish at Augusta, will also be here, while the only WD thus far has been Bryson DeChambeau, who took himself out of the field Monday morning. The field is set at 137 players this week but be sure to check the DK Live app into Wednesday as we could see more golfers withdraw here after a tough week at Augusta.
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Par 71, 7,099 yards, Greens: TifEagle Bermuda
Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the most idyllic settings the players visit all year. The course was designed by Pete Dye and has some characteristics about it that make it quite unique, including some of the smallest Bermuda greens on the PGA TOUR (3,700 sq. ft. average) and narrow fairways that make placement off the tee crucial. Missing on the wrong side of the green or fairway can mean getting blocked out of an approach or having little to no chance at an up and down. The fact the course is set alongside the water means wind can often play a factor, too. The summer date last year saw idyllic conditions abound—and led to record scoring—but the return to an April date in 2021 increases the chances for poor weather to show up.
As far as setup goes, Harbour Town contains a nice mix of challenging and easier to score holes. Two of the par 5s set up well under 550 yards in length and present extremely good birdie and eagle opportunities for the players (assuming their drives find the fairway). There’s plenty of challenging holes here, too. Although the par 3s all measure in at a range of just 175-200 yards, a mix of small greens, water hazards and overhanging trees make them all tough to maneuver and they can yield a double-bogey or worse in an instant.
Harbour Town played as the 19th and 11th toughest course on the PGA TOUR in 2018 and 2019, but was only the 37th toughest (out of 41 courses) in 2020. Weather can play a massive role here and will likely dictate whether we get another birdie-fest, similar to last June. The course tends to cater to players with good short irons and around the green games as it calls for a lot of clubbing down off the tee. The average driving distance of the field here is 10-15 yards less than the average stop on the PGA TOUR and two of the last four winners here have lost strokes off the tee to the field for the week of their win. Hence, emphasizing distance off the tee or SG: OTT stats here is generally not a priority.
2021 Outlook: Despite the return to April, where cooler conditions and higher winds often dominate this event, the forecast for this week looks quite good. Highs will be in the low 70s for most of the event and none of the days have more than a small likelihood of precipitation. The sunny skies should mean good conditions for scoring and winds aren’t set to get above 10 mph for much if any of the four-day event. This can all change in an instant, but right now the expectation should be for another low-scoring event as the main defense to this course—the wind and cool weather—doesn’t seem likely to appear this week. Target solid ball-strikers and golfers with good recent putting form, as GIR% should be high here.
Last Five winners
2020—Webb Simpson -22 (over Abraham Ancer -21)
2019—CT Pan -12 (over Matt Kuchar -11)
2018—Satoshi Kodaira -12 (over Si Woo Kim playoff)
2017—Wes Bryan -13 (over Luke Donald -12)
2016—Branden Grace -9 (over Luke Donald and Russell Knox -7)
- Eight of the last 10 winners of the RBC had recorded TWO top five (or better) finishes worldwide in the year of their victory before their win at Hilton Head.
- Seven of the last 10 winners had recorded a T23 or better in a previous year at this event before winning (two of the last four winners have also been first-timers at this event).
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Webb Simpson (22-under-par—2020)
2020 lead-in form (MC-T61-win-T3-T10)
- This is very much a second shot course, so emphasizing approach stats this week is a good idea. 2018 winner Satoshi Kodaira finished seventh in SG: Approaches, while 2017 winner Wes Bryan finished second. Last year’s runner-up, Abraham Ancer, gained an incredible +11.8 strokes on approach here en route to a 21-under par score.
- Conversely, driving distance at Harbour Town typically isn’t a huge advantage. Two of the last four winners have lost strokes off the tee here for the week and none of the past four winners ranked inside the top-50 for SG: OTT or Driving Distance stats during the year of their win, for season-long purposes.
- Last year, both Webb and runner-up Abraham Ancer gained over +5-strokes on approach, but Webb gained far more on and around the greens. The greens here are flat and we don’t see many three-putts here as a result. Putting can be highly variable but strong career-long putters like Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson have typically thrived here on these easier greens.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Matt Kuchar ($8,000; best finishes: win-2014, 2nd-2019, T5-2015): Kuchar has played here 15 times since 2004 and never missed a cut. He won this event back in 2014 and has also finished 2nd here as recently as 2019. He leads the field in strokes gained total stats here over the past five years and was showing some improved form before missing the cut at Augusta.
2. Webb Simpson ($10,700; best finishes: 2nd (playoff loss)-2013, win-2020): Webb finally grabbed a win at Harbour Town last year, a venue which is tailor-made for his game. The veteran has not missed the cut at Harbour Town in 10 straight starts now and gained +6.6 strokes putting on these greens last year. He’s pricy, but his history at this course isn’t something you should ignore.
3. Ian Poulter ($7,600; best finishes: T10-2019, T7-2018): Poulter comes into this week having gained the third most Strokes (Total) at Harbour Town over the past five seasons. The Brit has finished inside the top-20 here in four of the last five years and was a solid T14 here in 2020, while competing against an elite field. A strong T26 at the Masters last week was a good sign his game is coming around and he makes for a decent play at $7.6K.
4. Kevin Streelman ($7,300; best finishes: T3-2014, T6-2019): Streelman is another straight hitter who has found consistent success at Harbour Town. He finished T6 and T7 at this event in 2018 and 2019 and was also T3 here back in 2013. After missing the cut here last season (his first in seven visits), expect a quick bounce back in 2021.
5. Patrick Cantlay ($10,900; best finishes: T3-2017; T3-2019): Cantlay’s typically excelled at this second-shot Pete Dye design, never finishing outside the top-10 here in three career starts. In two of his three starts at Harbour Town he’s gained at least +4.5 strokes putting. He’ll likely remain a polarizing pay-up option after his disastrous Masters appearance last week.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Corey Conners ($9,300) and Tyrrell Hatton ($9,500) too cheap to ignore
With Harbour Town being a classic second-shot course, aiming for the elite iron players makes sense. Both Conners and Hatton rank inside the top-10 in SG: APP stats over the last 50 rounds and are priced well below $10K this week, making them solid values. In the $8K range, Matt Kuchar’s ($8,000) course history (and recent form) should be respected at a very affordable salary and the likes of Chris Kirk ($7,500) and Emiliano Grillo ($7,300) also make for good value options for those seeking some salary relief. Other potential targets for this format include Daniel Berger ($10,000) and Kevin Na ($8,100).
Tournaments: Collin Morikawa ($10,500) and Cameron Smith ($10,200) good pay-up options
There’s a lot of players who received price bumps this week, but Collin Morikawa remains somewhat underpriced here relative to his 4th place ranking in the OWGR stats. The American ranks first in SG: Approach stats over the last 50 rounds and sets up beautifully for a venue that typically rewards the best iron players. Assuming his sentiment stays low, he makes for a good pay-up target in big fields. Cameron Smith ($10,200-see below) also makes sense as a potential low-owned pivot play here. Further down, Harris English ($8,400) has shown signs of life lately and is coming off a strong Masters finish, while Matt Wallace ($7,500) also made the weekend at Augusta and continues to play well. Other potential targets here include the likes of Lucas Glover ($7,100-see below), Matthew NeSmith ($6,900), Chase Seiffert ($6,700) and Kyoung-Hoon Lee ($6,600).
Top Recent Form
1. Will Zalatoris ($9,700; 2nd-T21): Coming off his first Masters where he finished in solo 2nd, Zalatoris walks into this week having also finished T22 or better in five straight starts.
2. Corey Conners ($9,300; T8-T14): Conners has now finished T14 or better in his last four starts and is coming off a second straight top-10 finish at Augusta. He has gained +6.6 strokes (or more) TTG in his last four starts as well.
3. Charley Hoffman ($7,800; T2-T34): With three top-10 finishes over his last six starts, Hoffman has gained +4.8 strokes (or more) on his approaches in each of his last four events played.
4. Brian Harman ($8,700; T12-T3): Harman has played extremely well over the last month, notching a T3 at the PLAYERS, a T12 last week and a quarterfinal appearance at the Match play. He sets up well for Harbour Town’s tricky layout.
5. Cameron Smith ($10,200; T10-T17): Smith posted a top-10 at Augusta last week, the third top-12 finish for him in the last four events. Smith has gained +6.8 strokes (or more) TTG in his last four starts as well.
MY PICK: Cameron Smith ($10,200)
Smith comes into this week’s RBC Heritage in great form after another strong finish at Augusta. The Aussie—who finished T2 there in Nov. 2020—posted a T10 at Augusta last week, his third top-10 at the event in his last four appearances. He’s now finished T17 or better in his last four stroke-play events and has gained +6.8 strokes or more, tee to green, in each of those starts. Smith’s strong play has mainly been carried by his approach game and putting, which is exactly the type of strengths this week’s venue plays to.
Smith’s gained strokes putting in 10 of his last 12 starts and has missed the cut in just one of his last 19 starts on the PGA TOUR. His record at the Heritage may throw people off, as he’s missed the cut here recently, but he finished T15 here in his debut in 2015 and will be playing Harbour Town for the sixth-time in his career. Well suited for the challenges of this tricky-Dye venue—and coming off another confidence boost from Augusta—I like him to continue his trend of big finishes and challenge for his second solo win this week.
MY SLEEPER: Lucas Glover ($7,100)
Harbour Town has been a good spot for veterans over the years, and some veterans—like Matt Kuchar ($8,000) and Jim Furyk ($6,800)—have even grabbed late career wins here. Glover is coming off a great week at Valero where he gained an eye-popping +7.1 strokes with his irons. The 41-year-old has now made five cuts in a row and seems to be finding some of that top-end tee to green form which often made him a great target on some of the tougher courses on the PGA TOUR.
The downside with Glover can often come on the greens but he’s been markedly positive there too, gaining strokes putting in three straight starts. He’ll be playing Harbour Town for the 10th time in competition this week and actually had one of the best finishes of his career here last June, when he posted a T21. Considering the fact that he’s not likely to get overly popular, his low $7K salary makes him a pretty attractive GPP target and a player I could see getting into contention, considering both the course setup this week and the recent form he’s shown.
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