RBC Heritage: Expect Shane Lowry To Start Fast

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Patrick McDonald
·5 min read
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The RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links is set to tee off in less than 24 hours. While we will have to wait till Sunday evening to crown the eventual champion, some of our bets won’t have to.

With outrights locked in, DFS lineups taking shape, I bring your attention to the coveted first round leader bet. The objective is simple, select the player who you believe will shoot the lowest score on Thursday.

Oddsmakers at PointsBet Sportsbook have priced the first-round leader market. Defending champion Webb Simpson and world number one Dustin Johnson lead the way at +2500. Simpson opened with a six-under 66 last year, one shot shy of first round leader Ian Poulter.

Odds to Lead After the First Round (via PointsBet):

+2500: Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson

+3300: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton, Will Zalatoris

+4000: Brian Harman, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa, Corey Conners, Daniel Berger, Kevin Na, Paul Casey

+5000: Abraham Ancer, Charley Hoffman, Harris English, Matt Kuchar, Sungjae Im

The odds may look familiar, and that’s because they are. The market looks rather similar to the outright market, albeit longer odds for some of the favorites and shorter odds for some of the longshots. A more condensed odds board so to speak.

The reasoning behind this is simple, it is very difficult to string four quality rounds together and win a golf tournament. While still not easy, the difficulty level is lowered when needing only one great round to cash in on a major payday.

It’s always important to discuss the weather leading up to a tournament, but even more so when honing in on the first round. As of now, there is a chance of winds freshening and thunderstorms creeping in during the afternoon wave of play. This could go one of two ways. The thunder and lightning hold off and the players continue to play or play is suspended and players will have to wait till Friday morning to complete the first round. Without knowing for sure, I’ll be selecting a player from each wave who I believe will take advantage of the potentially soft conditions.

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!

To Lead After the First Round (Odds via PointsBet):

Shane Lowry (+6000): Don’t look now, but the reigning Open champion has found some form. You’ve been seeing Lowry’s name on the leaderboard thanks in part to his ability to get out of the gate fast. It’s nothing new for Lowry, as it was here just two years ago that he captured the first-round lead by himself.

Lowry opened the 2019 RBC Heritage with a six-under 65. Two years earlier in 2017, he did something similar and opened with a five-under 66. All in all, in three appearances at Harbour Town, he’s averaged a first round score of just over 68. I won’t put too much stock in last year’s tournament, simply because the conditions were completely different having been played in June.

In 2021, Lowry has been able to carry his hot starts to other venues. At the Honda Classic, Lowry opened with a three-under 67 in difficult conditions. At The Players, while many will look to his weekend charge, it was actually his first round of four under that set him up for success. In total, his 2021 scoring average in the first round is 70.

Lowry tees off towards the front of the afternoon wave, meaning he could get caught up in the weather. However, if the players are pulled off the golf course due to lightning and play is suspended, I want to have someone who can take advantage of the soft conditions afterwards. That player is Lowry.

Tom Hoge (+10000): With afternoon play having the potential for a weather suspension, it is smart to look into someone who plays in the morning. Look no further than Hoge who is playing amongst the first few groups that tee off in the early wave. Hoge is more of a boom-or-bust option compared to Lowry, but that’s almost what you want in the first round.

In 10 starts this year, Hoge has broken 70 in the first round in five of them. He is a notoriously fast starter who tends to fade off the leaderboard as the week progresses. He opened the Sony Open with a 65 only to miss the cut. He did it again at the Waste Management Phoenix Open a few weeks later when he opened with a 66 and missed the cut.

To us, that’s fine, because we are only looking at his first-round scoring. He was near the top of the leaderboard a couple of weeks ago in San Antonio before Camilo Villegas made a surge towards the end of the day. He ended up carding a 68 and finishing a few back. He’s just a kick here or a bounce there away from securing a first round lead. He’s out early, so the greens should roll true and help Hoge post a low number for the other players to chase.

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