After a stop at Colonial Country Club, the PGA Tour is set to visit another course that values precision over power.
The Pete Dye-designed Harbour Town Golf Links, host of this week’s RBC Heritage, is at times claustrophobic off the tee, with the trees overhanging many fairways. Players will be forced to hit their tee shots to certain areas to have a look at the pin. After errant tee shots, they will have to manufacture creative recoveries in order to save par. But trees aren’t the only defense that the course has. The greens are among the smallest on Tour, which means players are bound to miss them and face tricky chip shots.
Typically at Harbour Town we see a winning score between -10 and -16. About half of the winners’ under-par amount has come from the three par fives and the drivable par-4 ninth. Players will need to take advantage of those holes. So if we are building the ideal player for this week’s RBC Heritage, we want accuracy off the tee, solid iron play, deft touch around the greens, and an ability to score on par 5s.
Hideki Matsuyama $9,500
Matsuyama makes for a great large-field tournament play this week. At his $9,500 price tag, we should see ownership under 10%, as a lot of people will flock to Collin Morikawa at $10,000, Sungjae Im at $9,700, Webb Simpson at $9,000, or Daniel Berger at $8,900. Matsuyama did not play last week, so his form is unknown, but I’m willing to take a chance on him. He is top 20 in the field in approach, around the green, birdies, and par-5 scoring. This is the exact profile we are looking for this week.
Patrick Reed $8,800
Reed finished seventh last week at Colonial and seems primed to add another high finish this week. He is one of only two players in the field to be top 40 in putting, approach, birdies, around the green, and par-5 scoring (the other is Rory McIroy). This makes him a great fit for Harbour Town. Reed is playable in both cash games and large-field tournaments.
This is one of the best spots on the PGA Tour schedule to use Kuchar. He has finished 14th or better in six of the last ten years at the RBC Heritage. His game is predicated on precision, which always allows him to linger near the top of the leaderboard here.
I expect Morikawa to be a popular choice this week—and for good reason. He nearly won at Colonial last week, and he now comes to a course that suits him just as well. He is second in this field in approach, seventh in birdies, and fifth in par-5 scoring. In his 22 events on the PGA Tour, Morikawa hasn’t missed a cut, and he has produced a ton of high finishes.