RBC Heritage Preview8 min read
After arguably the greatest comeback story in sport, the PGA Tour moves on to the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. Tiger Woods’ remarkable win at the Masters, his 15th major title, sparked euphoric scenes at Augusta National on Sunday. The new world number six does not feature this week but Dustin Johnson is a short-priced favourite after finishing in a tie for second.
This is a totally different test with the 7,099-yard par 71 unable to be overpowered. Finding the right sides of the fairways and an excellent scrambling game is vital to success this week. Big hitters are neutralised and two-time winner Jim Furyk is an example of the golfers likely to succeed at Harbour Town. Strong winds as the tournament progresses will only increase the challenge at this fiddly layout.
Bryson DeChambeau is worth backing again this week despite failing to contend on the weekend at the Masters. There were enough positive signs from his performance at Augusta to keep faith with him though as he finished tied 29th. An opening round of 66 saw him share the early lead before slipping down the leaderboard. His first hole in one, on the final day, will send him into this week in a great frame of mind.
DeChambeau has impressed on several occasions at Harbour Town and is extremely comfortable at the Pete Dye design. An excellent debut in 2016 saw him tie for fourth spot and he finished joint third 12 months ago at the course. Since then he has added five titles and the American is backed to challenge for another win at 18/1 each way.
Patrick Cantlay comes in this week after his best finish at a major and the American is strongly fancied to mount another title challenge. He thrust himself into contention, with a brilliant third round 64 at Augusta, briefly leading during the closing stretch on Sunday before slipping back to a tie for ninth. This confidence booster is bound to send him into this week bursting with self-belief.
Cantlay has enjoyed plenty of success at Hilton Head during his short career already. The 27-year-old tied for third place on his debut two years ago and backed it up last season after he finished joint seventh. Cantlay, who has five top tens this season, is 20-under-par for his eight rounds at Harbour Town. It would be a surprise if he fails to feature on the leaderboard and merits support at 20/1 each way.
Kevin Kisner has been exceptionally consistent this season and has not missed a cut since November. The accurate American landed the biggest win of his career last month after victory in the WGC Match Play. He is on a run of eight consecutive top 30 finishes and a confident Kisner will be relishing this week’s tournament.
Kisner has described Harbour Town as one of his favourite courses on the PGA Tour and the South Carolina layout is ideally suited to his tidy tee to green game. He finished runner-up in 2015 and tied for seventh place last season. Coming in off a career best at the Masters of 21st place, Kisner heads to a much more suitable venue and should contend this week at 28/1.
Si Woo Kim was extremely unlucky to miss out on victory at Harbour Town last year but could go one better this time around. The South Korean topped the leaderboard over the weekend but a poor putting performance on the final day saw him agonisingly slip to second. His only other start at the tournament saw him finish 14th in 2016 so there is no doubt the course fits his eye.
Kim has been in impressive form in recent months with three top-fours in his last seven starts. A tie for fourth at the Texan Open two weeks ago could have easily been better and 21st place at Augusta was an encouraging effort. He is second for putting average and 17th for scrambling this season so his sharp short game should set him up for another title push at 33/1 each way.
Branden Grace has fond memories of this tournament after landing his first PGA Tour title here three years ago. The South African has felt at home playing the course, with a tie for 11th in his title defence and seventh place on his first visit in 2015. After missing last year, due to his wife giving birth, he will be hungry to perform at one of his favourite tracks.
Grace finished runner-up at the Phoenix Open in February as he threatened another victory and wins over Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama at the WGC Match Play suggest he is close to finding his best form. Windy conditions will hold no fears for Grace with his low ball flight and a history of wins at the Alfred Dunhill Links and the Qatar Masters. Grace looks a likely contender at 40/1 each way.
Bryson DeChambeau each way
Patrick Cantlay each way
Kevin Kisner each way
Si Woo Kim each way
Branden Grace each way