Daily Fantasy Course Primer: RBC Heritage
After a dramatic return to competitive golf that saw a stacked leaderboard, a Sunday charge, and a playoff that only happened thanks to a lipped out putt by one of the sport's brightest young stars, the PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head, South Carolina for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
It will be hard to match the drama at Colonial, but many of the top golfers in the world are in the field once again this week. The 7,099-yard par 71 does not typically host to such an elite field, partly because it's spot on the schedule immediately follows The Masters, and partly because the course does not play to the strengths a typical top golfer.
Accuracy is much more important than distance here, tiny greens mean scrambling, and bunker play are essential. In response to training and equipment gains, golfers in today's PGA hit it longer than ever, and most courses have responded by lengthening to mitigate the gains made by the field. But Harbour Town is unique in that it requires strategy, accuracy, and creativity.
The sun shined all week in Texas, and the absence of strong winds further softened Colonial. While we expect fair weather once again this week, the wind most definitely will be blowing off the Atlantic. Rain earlier in the week should be mostly dried up by the time the golfers tee off on Thursday, but if anything the earliest starters will likely have a slight advantage.
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
Fairways/Rough: Celebration Bermudagrass
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
You can tell which years the wind was really blowing. Last year, two of the rounds were classified as "Moderate" while two others were delightfully labeled "Windy AF" by Fantasy National Golf Club. The course routinely ranks among the 5-10 shortest average driving distance on Tour, as well as the 5-10 hardest greens to hit in regulation.
You can be sure Bryson DeChambeau will test the limits here, but generally, Harbour Town forces the field to club down off the tee and make long iron approaches into small, heavily guarded greens.
As covered last week, Harbour Town and Colonial share similar bones, and Waialae Country Club in Hawaii is another correlated track that requires precision and performance in the wind. The Seaside and Plantation Courses at Sea Island also check those boxes. The event will take place two months later than its typical slot on the schedule, so use caution as it's possible this year's edition stands out as an outlier.
These stats will be the keys to success in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
|Key Stats for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links|
|Greens In Regulation Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Total Strokes Gained in Windy Conditions|
No surprises here -- you'll need precision off the tee and on approach are key, and the ability to clean up after yourself when you miss.
Generally speaking, the more predictive statistics in golf are ballstriking-related. Anyone can make light it up with the putter for a few rounds or chip in from the rough, but the shorter hitters are never going to match the distance of the big guys. Harbour Town presents a unique challenge to the daily fantasy player or handicapper because those predictive metrics are de-emphasized.
With a three month layoff and either one or no competitive PGA events for most of the field, an unpredictable event gets ratcheted up another level. We can look at long term form and performance in the wind either as a tiebreaker or disqualifier this week.
Course History Studs
They delayed once again referring to this event as the Matt Kuchar Invitational, though we hold out hope the change goes into effect next year. Kuchar won here in 2014 and in the years since has been 5th, T9, T11, T23, and runner up last year. All told, he flopped here in 2003 and has played almost every year since without missing another cut.
Luke Donald fell to Kuchar by one stroke back in 2014, one of five(!) times he's been runner up at Harbour Town. He has two third-place finishes as well, making him the permanent bridesmaid at the Heritage. Many of those finishes are well distanced from his days as the world No. 1. Short hitter, good out of the sand, a scrambler and grinder in general -- he's the type of golfer we see succeed here.
Ian Poulter has played here each of the last five years and has just one finish outside the top 20. He has some visits way back in his career, but nothing noteworthy except that he's never missed a cut in nine visits.
Before a T61 last year amidst a career downturn, Branden Grace had three great finishes here of T7, WIN, and T11 from 2015-2017. If his form at Colonial is any indication, he's exorcised his demons and is ready to get back to the best days of his career.
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.