Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: RBC Heritage
After one of the most thrilling, competitive, and ultimately satisfying sporting events in recent memory, the PGA Tour dusts off the confetti celebrating Tiger Woods' victory at The Masters and heads to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for the RBC Heritage.
Harbour Town Golf Links is the host, a coastal course measuring 7,099 yards and playing to a par 71. As is the case with many Pete Dye-designed tracks, precision off the tee and on approach are the name of the game at Harbour Town. There is no bomb-and-gauge at the Heritage, as it sported the second shortest average driving distance on Tour last year at just 278.5 yards. It hasn't been outside the top five in that category since 2013 when it was seventh.
Golfers face tree-lined fairways and bunker-protected greens, and doglegs left and right throughout the course. It's little wonder most elect to club down off the tee and line up the all important second shot. Even still, Harbour Town ranked out as the sixth lowest greens in regulation percentage last year, and when the wind gets blowing it only gets tougher.
And speaking of the wind. It gets pretty gusty down out there and tee time splits absolutely must factor into DFS lineup construction if there looks like one wave will get the worst of it. Target golfers who don't mind the wind or have played well here and at other coastal courses in the past.
The traditional follow up event to The Masters, the winner of the RBC Heritage earns a delightfully ugly plaid jacket for their trouble. Last year was a photo finish with Satoshi Kodaira riding a Friday 63 and a Sunday 66 to come from behind and leapfrog some of the top players in the world en route to his first PGA Tour win in a playoff over Si Woo Kim.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links
Distance: 7,099 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Celebration Bermuda
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
Guess which years the wind picked up?
Given the Pete Dye connection, it is little wonder that TPC Sawgrass pops as a comparison. Ballstriking is key, but so are discipline and strategy. Relative unknowns have earned the plaid jacket in recent years, with Kodaira last year and Wesley Bryan the year before. The latter has been out with an injury most of the year, and for both it is their only career win. The three years prior were closer to household names, but still not the guys headlining Titleist commercials or moving the needle on television ratings (Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, and Matt Kuchar).
Shorter hitters who can keep the ball in the short grass and get up and down when they don't are the way to go this weekend.
These stats have proven vital to success in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town GL.
|Key Stats for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
As covered above, the second shot will be essential this week based on the shorter driving distance and low greens in regulation percentage. In that same vein are opportunities gained, which measure greens in regulation inside 15 feet. Last year, half the top 10 finishers were 15th or better in strokes gained: approach for the week. Ditto for 2017.
An even better indicator is par 4 scoring. Last year 9 of the 11 top gainers on par 4s finished inside the top 10. There is one fewer par 5 to take advantage of at this par 71, and the short, 332-yard ninth hole actually cracked the top three in birdie rate last year. It has been one of the 20 easiest par 4s (by score relative to par) in each of the past two years.
Given the way scoring has trended this year, the winning score this week is expected to once again push for 15-under par or better, barring any extreme windy conditions. Birdies or better gained in conjunction with opportunities gained will underscore which golfers can go low and sustain it with solid ballstriking rather than a hot putter.
On the flip side, since so many greens will be missed this week, golfers need to be able to save par whenever they find themselves in trouble. Last year's leaderboard featured both solid ballstrikers and solid scramblers like Kim and Webb Simpson. Even Bryson DeChambeau and Luke List, better known for their abilities off the tee and on approach, are solid around the green players who booked top 5s here last year.
Course History Studs
Matt Kuchar seems to be the chalk here every year, and with good reason. Now this year he enters in some of the best form of his long, successful career. The 40-year-old won the event in 2014 and has not finished worse than last year's T23 since then.
Luke Donald has thrived here even in his post-prime, booking three runner up finishes in four years before missing the cut here last year. He shot 76 and was absolutely awful before bouncing back with a Friday 67 that was too little too late. One bad round in five years at this course is forgivable.
Russell Knox, Branden Grace, and Ian Poulter fit the mold of mudders who thrive in rough conditions and are used to the wind and links-style golf from their experience on the European Tour. All three have posted multiple top-11 finishes here in the past four years, with Grace leading the way as the 2016 winner.
Kevin Kisner has played terrific of late, but he has always played well at Harbour Town. The South Carolina native lost in a playoff to Furyk in 2015, and after stumbling to a T69 in 2016 has had back to back top-11 finishes. He is the opposite of the Euros above - if the conditions look calm, fire him up with confidence.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.