Yahoo Golf Talk: RBC Heritage

Josh Culp
·3 min read

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Don't be fooled by the low scores last year, Harbour Town Golf Links presents a tough challenge for competitors.

Kevin Kisner had this to say in his Tuesday presser, "If we don't get a lot of rain, I think they can progress the conditions to playing more difficult than we've seen in years past, and if we get a little bit of sea breeze, I think it'll be a really stern test with the conditions that I saw today." I think Webb Simpson's record of 22-under last year is safe this week.

With an average square footage of just 3,700 these are some of the smallest greens they'll face all year. That means around-the-green play should be important because greens will be tough to hit, even for the strongest of iron players.

We also know there is OB on nearly every hole at this course which means extremely errant tee shots will be punished.

With those two factors in mind, let's take a look at recent driving accuracy and around-the-green play to see who might be ready to shine at this tricky Pete Dye design.

Precision off the Tee

Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the few courses on TOUR where precision is just as important as power. Over 60% of recent top-10 finishes at this event have arrived with positive driving accuracy in the lead-up to the event. That is well above the average event which is usually 50/50.

Let's see who has hit the most fairways compared to the field in the 12 lead-up rounds to this week's event:

Brian Stuard
Brice Garnett
Brendon Todd
Chez Reavie
Abraham Ancer
Sungjae Im
Collin Morikawa
Corey Conners
Doug Ghim
Ryan Moore
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Denny McCarthy
Mark Hubbard
Kevin Kisner
K.J. Choi

Matthew Fitzpatrick ($37): You'll have to pay a pretty penny to roster him this week but he's cited his love for Harbour Town for years now. It makes sense when you consider his fairways-and-greens style of play. Fitzpatrick's accuracy has helped him land 13.2 more greens in regulation than the field average, during his last three trips to the RBC Heritage.

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Around-the-Green Prowess

"It’s tough to hit a lot of greens. You have to be very good around the greens, which is a strong part of my game." -Luke Donald in 2018

"You’re going to miss some of the fairways, so you need to scramble well." -Kevin Chappell in 2016

On top of the golfer quotes, historically it's also been an event where steady around-the-green play has usually been a shared characteristic of top-10 finishers.

Let's see what golfers have gained the most strokes around-the-green in their last 12 measured rounds played:

Kevin Na
Robert Streb
Brandon Hagy
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Adam Hadwin
Dylan Frittelli
Troy Merritt
Cameron Smith
Scott Harrington
Paul Casey
Shane Lowry
Carlos Ortiz
Byeong Hun An
Richy Werenski
Webb Simpson

Adam Hadwin ($30): The Canadian is finding some form again with three straight top 30s. In addition to that, four of his five career podium finishes have come on courses with overseeded bermuda which is what he'll face this week at Harbour Town. Don't be surprised if he extends his top-30 streak to four, by week's end.

Hopefully, these stats will give you some names to dive into when it comes to researching your final selections this week over at Yahoo!