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RBC Heritage Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 04/16/2013
It doesn’t get much better than what we saw last week at the Masters with Adam Scott defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff and while this week is a definite letdown, there is still some solid golf on tap. The PGA Tour moves three hours southeast to Hilton Head for the 45th edition of the RBC Heritage from Harbour Town Golf Links which has followed the Masters 29 of the past 30 years.
Even though the RBC is a mainstay on tour, it has been considered a letdown for the green jacket champion as 11 of the last 12 years has seen the winner not play in Hilton Head. That will be the case with Adam Scott this week but he has some pretty good excuses. Winners of the last seven Heritage events are all back including defending champion Carl Pettersson and 2011 champion Brandt Snedeker.
While Scott and Cabrera are taking this week off, 14 top 25 finishers from last week have made the trip including notables Jason Day, Snedeker as mentioned, K.J. Choi, Tim Clark, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Bo Van Pelt. Bombing the ball does not help here as Harbour Town measures just 7,101 yards and while being a par 71 contributes to that somewhat, short is not easy here.
Harbour Town Golf Links is ranked second over the last 10 years on tour in hardest to hit greens in regulation. The only event that ranks higher is the U.S. Open so that is saying something. The main reason is the size of the greens as they are small and well protected. Being able to hit the green is important but being able to putt on them is just as big because that is where the par saves come from. Scrambling success is enormous.
Defending champion Carl Pettersson (+5,000) shot a 65 on Friday and cruised to a five-shot win over Zach Johnson in last year's edition. He had only one top ten heading into the event and that is the case again this season as his T8 at the opening Hyundai TOC has been his only strong finish. He is coming off a solo 65 at the Masters which was good enough for last place thanks to a Sunday 81.
Brandt Snedeker (+1,200) comes in as the favorite this week but these are the type of players that you need to be careful of as he was clearly disappointed last week as he felt he gave it away on Sunday. Another player that could fit that mold is Jason Day (+2,500) as he said after the tournament that he should have won.
Luke Donald (+1,500) is one of the leading candidates this week following another Majors disappointment as he finished T25 at the Masters. Last year at the RBC, he opened with a Thursday 75 and finished T37 but prior to that, his last three finishes here have been solo second, T3 and T2.
Graeme McDowell (+3,000) was a disappointment last week at Augusta as he missed the cut, his second MC of the season. He negates that with three top tens though, his most recent being a T3 at the Cadillac Championship. He has played here only once which resulted in a T61 in 2011 but he is ranked first in scrambling and 10th in GIR .
Boo Weekley (+3,000) is one of the best ball strikers on tour which makes this course set up perfectly for him. He is a two-time champion here back in 2007 and 2008 but his success did not end there as he has a T13, T12, T46 and a T6 the last four years with the latter coming in 2012. His solo second in Tampa shows he could be back.
Webb Simpson (+4,000) has missed the cut in his last two events including the Masters last week. The last time he missed consecutive cuts was last year and he went on to win his next event after that which was the U.S. Open. He had a rough time at Harbour Town last year but he does have two top 15's to his credit prior to that.
For a longshot this week, we will take a shot on Aaron Baddeley (+5,000). He did not play last week at Augusta but his most recent start resulted in a T15 at the Valero Texas Open. He is a former champion here as he won in 2006 by a shot over Jim Furyk and while he missed the cut last year, he had five straight top 25's following his win.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the RBC Heritage (all for One Unit)
Luke Donald (+1,500)
Graeme McDowell (+3,000)
Boo Weekley (+3,000)
Webb Simpson (+4,000)
Aaron Baddeley (+5,000)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 11 events: -6.4 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units