RBC Heritage Open Preview
After a sensational Masters week, the tour heads to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to Harbor Town Golf Links for the RBC Heritage. The par 71 track measures just under 7,100 yards and is a true test of accuracy and precision shot making. This course is home to the smallest greens on tour, so it's not just the tee shots that will need to be straight. Keep and eye on the weather, as this is a seaside track known to be windy. The field is certainly aided by the title sponsor, as many team RBC members are in the field this week, including Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Palmer and Graeme McDowell. The entire field is actually stronger than I anticipated, especially the week after the Masters. Eight of the top 15 in the Fed Ex Cup standings are in attendance, as well as nine of the top thirty in the world golf rankings. This is one of Pete Dye's signature designs that annually is ranked in the top golf courses in America. There is something to be said for playing well at Pete Dye layouts, and it's why I like players like Kuchar, Martin, Knox, Kisner and Steele this week. You're probably familiar with him after his solid Masters debut over the weekend, but this will be Bryson DeChambeau's pro debut this week, after turning pro and signing endorsements with Puma and King Cobra.
Key Stats for Harbor Town Golf Links
A lot of the usual key stats aren't as relevant this week, but there were a few that really jumped out to me. Par 4 scoring (P4S), is always something to look at on par 71 tracks, and five of the last six winners here have finished that season inside the top 20 in P4S. It's another reason to really like Kuchar and Martin this week, as they both rank inside the top 8 all time at Harbour Town in par 4 scoring average (via Fantasy Golf Metrics). Secondly, proximity to the hole (PROX) is really important this week with the tours smallest greens as targets. Last years winner Jim Furyk also led the tour in 2015 in proximity to the hole. Boo Weekly didn't make the final selections for picks, but the sample size is large with over 20 rounds here, and he's ranked top 10 all time here in proximity to the hole. Finally, scrambling (SCR) is the final key stat, as there will be lot of missed greens this week, and I want players I can trust to get up and down for par more often than not. Everyone inside the top 3 last year finished the season inside the top 35 in scrambling, as well as the last six winners of the event. Kevin Na, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald have all played this event at least seven times, and are ranked inside the top 10 in scrambling percentage. With only three par 5's on the course, I didn't weigh par 5 scoring as heavily as usual, but you're still going to need to score on them. Two of them are very reachable in two shots for almost anyone, so eagle average, although tough to predict, is another stat I weighted in my decision making. Driving accuracy and strokes gained putting were two secondary stats I used as well. Onto the picks!