Learn about this week’s course for the RBC Heritage and what types of players are likely to succeed on it for DFS courtesy of PGA expert @friedeggpaulie!!
Before jumping into the details of this week’s PGA Tour Event, I wanted to mention a timeline for all PGA DFS items that you can expect each and every week from Frank and myself:
- Monday: Course/Event Preview
- Tuesday: Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet, Livestream (8pm EST)
- Wednesday: Chat room to answer lineup questions
Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s event:
Event: RBC Heritage
Dates: Thursday June 18th through Sunday June 21st
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, SC (Pete Dye designed)
Field: 155 players including the top 5 players in the world (McIlroy, Rahm, Koepka, Thomas, D Johnson).
Cut: Field will be cut to the low 65 and ties after 36 holes (Friday evening)
Past winners: CT Pan (2019), Satoshi Kodaira (2018), Wesley Bryan (2017), Branden Grace (2016), Jim Furyk (2015), Matt Kuchar (2014)
- Thursday/Friday: 3pm-6pm EST (Golf Channel) plus PGA Tour Live featured groups available all day
- Saturday/Sunday: 1pm-3pm EST (Golf Channel), 3pm-6pm EST (CBS) plus PGA Tour Live featured groups available all day
- Harbour Town is a par 71 that stretches out to 7,100 yards.
- The course features only 3 par 5s, but they typically play very easy and yield a lot of birdies and eagles (especially hole #2). The field averages 1.25 strokes under par per round on these three holes.
- The course features 4 par 3s which are overall fairly short by Tour standards (177,201, 159, 163)
- This tree-lined golf course puts an emphasis on accuracy/precision over power.
- Combination of narrow, tight windows to place the tee shots and very small greens
- Last week, players had the option to try and hit driver to play risky and super aggressive. This week, driver is not even an option on many holes due to the overhanging canopies and claustrophobic landing areas.
- It is normally very windy but forecast is only 8-12mph all 4 days. This will be something to keep track of as the week progresses. If winds do enter the forecast, we will want to see if there is any advantage for a certain tee time wave.
What type of player typically succeeds here?
- We typically see one type of player succeed at Harbour Town: Precision/Accurate specialists with a deft short game touch (think Kuchar, Donald, Furyk, McDowell, Snedeker)
What areas of a player’s game will be tested the most this week?
- Accuracy off the tee (often with less than driver)
- With the tree-lined layout, being able to keep the ball in the fairway is key. Heck, on some of the holes, you actually have to be on a certain side of the fairway to have an unobstructed shot to the green. Players who keep it in the fairway will have the ability to control their approach shots. Those who do not, will be faced with penalties and/or difficult recovery shots. There is a lot of water, out of bounds and trees on this course. Each tee shot feels like a bowling alley.
- Approach shots from 150 to 175 yards
- 3 of the par 3s range from 159 to 177 yards
- A lot of the par 4s have extremely narrow openings inside 150 yards which requires players to lay back a bit off the tee. You could see upwards of 10 approach shots from this range each round.
- Scoring/Ability to convert birdies:
- Players will need to capitalize on the few easy holes out here and then just play conservative and try to make pars and maybe a birdie here or there on the rest of the course.
- 4 Notable Holes:
- The par 5 2nd is only 503 yards and typically can have a mid to long iron approach shot. This is the best chance for eagle on the course as this should play to a stroke average around 4.5 as it’s a glorified long par 4.
- The par 5 5th is a 535 yard dogleg left and will require a long iron for the 2nd shot into the green if in the fairway off the tee. This is another easy par 5 that players feel they will need to birdie.
- The par 4 9th is only is only 313 yards but is narrow off the tee and has a large bunker guarding the front of the green. I would expect the longer hitters to try and hit their tee shots into this bunker to allow for a fairly easy up and down for birdie. The shorter hitters will be forced to lay back to a full wedge distance on this hole, but it is no piece of cake as there is only about a 15 yard wide area to hit it to have an attackable angle into the green.
- The par 5 15th is 578 yards and results in most players hitting their 3rd shots in with a wedge. In order to reach the green in two shots, a player must hit a long drive down the right center of the fairway and then hit a towering fairway wood or long iron from 230 to 260 yards over monstrously high trees and water to a very narrow green.
- If we dig into the last 6 winners, we see that they were a combined -75 overall. They were -42 on these 4 notable holes and -33 on the other 14 holes.
- 2019: Pan -12 overall (-10 those 4 holes)
- 2018: Satoshi Kodaira -12 overall (-5 those 4 holes)
- 2017: Wesley Bryan -13 overall (-5 on those 4 holes)
- 2016: Branden Grace -9 overall (-8 on those 4 holes)
- 2015: Jim Furyk -18 overall (-7 on those 4 holes)
- 2014: Matt Kuchar -11 overall (-7 on those 4 holes)
- Around the Green (chipping/pitching)
- These are some of the smallest greens on Tour. Add that to the fact that we see a lot of approach shots from 150-175 yards and that yields a much smaller than normal percentage of greens hit. I would expect somewhere between 8-10% less greens hit than during an average PGA Tour round.
- Besides having more chances to chip/pitch, this course plays very tough around the green when a shot is missed because there is less green for the player to work with to land their chip/pitch shot. If a player just misses the green they typically will have an easy up and down but missing by 5+ yards may require some ingenuity and a deft touch.
Check back in on Tuesday for the Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet and Livestream (8pm EST).