The PGA Tour moves on from the giddy heights of the Masters last week where Blue Horseshoe tipped the first (18-1) and second placed finishers (40-1). This week we are at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Heads in South Carolina. At just a touch over seven thousand yards this is by no means one of tour’s monster tracks. But this Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus designed course is a tricky technical examination with tiny greens, which are hard enough to hit on a calm day but if the coastal breeze’s kick up (as they are forecast to do on Friday afternoon) the difficulty factor can be ratcheted up to 11.
The course places huge emphasis on driving the ball to the right spots off the tee in order to get a look at the flags on the postage stamp greens. This fact is borne out by the recent past winners of the tournament – all of whom while not particularly long off the tee are known for their consistently high rankings in the driving accuracy stats.
A good scrambling game also comes into great effect here as having to get up and down from around the small greens with their multitude of run-off areas and bunkers is a skill every player will have to employ his week.
Along with driving accuracy and scrambling I am placing a great deal of emphasis on players with proven form at Hilton Head. As this course has been the only venue for the RBC Heritage there is a wealth of course form to pore over.
Bryson DeChambeau – currently 18/1 with starsports.bet
‘The Scientist’ clearly has a liking for this track, finishing fourth in 2016 and third last year. He is just outside the top twenty in driving accuracy and while his scrambling rank is not as high as I’d like, his top twenty ranking on scoring average shows he rarely has a disastrous card.
Patrick Cantlay – currently 20/1 with starsports.bet
Patrick Cantlay has stated that this favourite club in his bag is his driver, because he feels so comfortable with it and hits it so straight. While that doesn’t actually prove itself to be true in the driving accuracy stats where he sits outside the top one hundred I am willing go past that due to his course form. In the last the two years Cantlay has finished this tournament seventh and third respectively. Moreover this ‘Masters hangover’ thing many talk about simply does not wash with me. These guys are professionals in the prime of their lives. They have been playing multiple rounds of golf since they were teenagers. Apart from a tardy beginning to the tournament Cantlay played brilliantly at the Masters to finish in a tie for ninth. He is ranked in the top twenty for scrambling this year and his putting game is superb. Cantlay’s game is right on point for a win.
Matthew Fitzpatrick – currently 35/1 with starsports.bet
Fitzpatrick is another player who started with an awful opening round but finished with a wet sail to end up in a tie for twenty first. Fitzpatrick tweeted this week that this is his favourite course on tour and he can’t wait to play here. I can see why he likes the track so much. Fitzpatrick’s game is all about accuracy both off the tee’s and from the fairways. The four time European tour winner is one of the brightest young stars in golf and went close to his maiden PGA Tour win on American soil with a second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago. (A tournament that many thought he should have won, having squandered the final round lead) But I am prepared to look past that slip up and think this course suits his natural skill set very well.
Kevin Kisner – currently 30/1 with starsports.bet
This South Carolina native knows the course and the local conditions like the back of his hand. His past form is solid too, with a second place finish in 2015, an eleventh in 2017 and a seventh last year. Another player who relies on accuracy rather than length, Kisner ranks in the top twenty in driving accuracy and repeatedly demonstrated whilst winning the WGC World Match Play Championships last month that his game on and around the greens is one of the strongest on tour.
Long Odds Each Way Hunch
Abrahm Ancer – currently 70/1 with starsports.bet
An accuracy based player who’s all round game is very solid and has a definite touch of class.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
1.5pts each way (1/5 6 places) BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU at 18/1 with starsports.bet
1.5pts each way (1/5 6 places) PATRICK CANTLAY at 20/1 with starsports.bet
1pt each way (1/5 6 places) MATTHEW FITZPATRICK at 35/1 with starsports.bet
1pt each way (1/5 6 places) KEVIN KISNER at 30/1 with starsports.bet
1pt each way (1/5 6 places) ABRAHM ANCER at 70/1 with starsports.bet
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