Starts: 18th June 2020
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links, S Carolina
Par: 71 (36-35)
Length: 7,099 yards
Grass Type: Bermuda
Overall Profit/Loss: +3.05pts
Pre-Event Six to Watch
T64th Collin Morikawa - 25/1
T41st Matt Kuchar - 45/1
T3rd Tyrrell Hatton - 50/1
MC Jason Kokrak - 70/1
T21st Rory Sabbatini - 125/1
MC Graeme McDowell - 150/1
In-Play Bets: +3.05pts
18 June 2020 (+1 PT)
2pts Kevin Kisner Top 20 Finish - 10/3 @ Betfair
1pt Matthew Nesmith Top 40 Finish - 3/1 @ Boylesports
19 June 2020 (-5.4 PTS)
1pt Webb Simpson Bogey Free Round - 16/1 @ Skybet
1pt Bryson DeChambeau Bogey Free Round - 12/1 @ Skybet
0.5pts Matt Kuchar Bogey Free Round - 18/1 @ Skybet
0.5pts Gary Woodland Bogey Free Round - 18/1 @ Skybet
2pts Harris English to beat Byeong Hun An (Mythical 2 ball) - 21/20 @ Skybet
1pt Each Way (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Dylan Frittelli 2nd Round Leader - 28/1 @ Bet365
1pt Each Way (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) Brice Garnett 2nd Round Leader - 28/1 @ Bet365
0.5pts Win Only Ryan Palmer 2nd Round Leader - 20/1 @ Boylesports
20 June 2020 (+7.7 PTS)
1pt Each Way (1/5 1,2,3,4,5) Abraham Ancer - 25/1 @ Boylesports
2pts Abraham Ancer Top 10 Finish - 7/4 @ Skybet
2pts Tony Finau Top 10 Finish - 2/1 @ Skybet
2pts Matt Wallace to beat Mark Hubbard - 11/10 @ 888 Sport
1.5pts Bubba Watson to beat Rory McIlroy - 9/4 @ Betfair
1.5pts Michael Thompson to beat Ernie Els - Evens @ Betfair
Harbour Town is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour, but with greens amongst the smallest it poses a harder than average test. Only once in the last seven years has the winning score been better than -13, and on a number of occasions it didn't reach double figures.
Located in Hilton Head, Harbour Town Golf Links is tree lined but, as the name suggests, is beside the ocean. It is exposed in places and wind does play a part around here (watch out for the closing hole in particular).
The course is designed by Pete Dye with input from Jack Nicklaus. The tournament has been played here for over 50 years so we have ample course form to analyse.
It is a par 71 and the front 9 plays significantly easier with two very scoreable par 5s (the 2nd and 5th). The sole par 5 on the back 9 (the 15th) is significantly harder (the top 5 here in 2019 only managed to play it cumulatively in 1 under par in the final round).
Each of the par 3s tend to average over par, so be aware in-play.
This is only the second tournament to be played since the PGA Tour was suspended in March. It is also normally played in April, immediately after The Masters, so in June the greens will be firmer and harder to hit than normal.
Continue to exercise caution at the outset, especially in relation to those who did not play last week and keep a watching brief in play.
Harbour Town isn't a course which favours debutants. Only two in the last 12 years have won on their first appearances - Sotashi Kodaira in 2018 and Wesley Bryan in 2017. However, as we saw last week at Colonial, there are more course debutants teeing it up after golf's hiatus. so we should place less emphasis on this particular trend.
Of the ten players who had competed here prior to winning in the past 12 years, only one did so without having previously recorded a top-25 finish. That was Graeme McDowell, who obviously has significant pedigree on narrow, wind exposed courses.
We should treat Graeme as the exception to the rule as previous experience here counts for a lot. To emphasise that point, Luke Donald recorded an incredible SEVEN top-3 finishes in NINE years between 2009 and 2017, while Davis Love III is a FIVE time winner here.
Between 2000 and 2011 American golfers dominated, winning nine of the twelve tournaments. However, since 2012 only three Americans have prevailed.
From 2010 there have been five play-offs and three one-stroke victories, so barring a few outliers it is generally a tight race. In the last 20 years the margin of victory hsa been greater than two shots on only three occasions.
There are trends with another Pete Dye designed course, TPC Sawgrass. Home of The Players Championship, Sawgrass also demands accuracy off the tee and challenges players visually, as Dye likes to do.
Certain players have excellent records at both venues. A few notables include:
Davis Love III is a multiple winner of both tournaments
Jim Furyk has won the Heritage twice and been runner up twice at Sawgrass
Matt Kuchar has won at both venues
Si Woo Kim has won The Players Championship and has a runner up finish at Hilton Head.
Traditionally, driving distance isn’t an important stat here. Only one winner in the past six years has ranked better than 50th for Driving Distance. It is not a course where bombers can cut corners and bypass the trees.
Accurate iron play is important and it's no surprise that we've seen Luke Donald and Jim Furyk excel here. However, last year's winner C.T. Pan showed that it's possible to compensate for inaccurate iron play (he ranked 37th Greens in Regulation) with a hot putter. He was fifth for Strokes Gained: Putting and finished second in putting average for the week. Despite Pan's success, we are looking for players with high Strokes Gained: Approach statistics.
Given the small size of the greens, even the very best players are going to miss them this week. It is therefore essential that any pick has excellent scrambling stats. C.T. Pan was 16th last year, Kodaira was 13th in 2018, and in the two prior years the winner hadn't been worse than third in scrambling.
Remember the back 9 plays harder than the front 9. So don't get overly excited with a fast start from a player on the front side.
It is possible to get off to a slow start here and still win. Last year C.T. Pan opened with a level par 71 and found himself 6 shots behind first round leader Shane Lowry.
In 2018, Satoshi Kodaira was a full 9 strokes behind the first round lead after he opened with a 2 over par 73. In fact, in the last ten runnings of the Heritage the winner has started with a score in the 70s five times.
Round 3 leaders have a very poor record here in recent years and there have been some stunning wins from players off the pace. The last seven winners have come from at least 2 shots back, and in six of those years the winner came from three shots back.
Even more impressively, in 2018 and 2011 Kodaira and Brand Snedeker came from six shots back, while in 2004 Stewart Cink overturned a NINE shot deficit.
Six To Watch
As outlined in our Tipping Record, our tipping strategy is to focus on speciality bets and value in-play. However, we have identified the following six players if you do wish to place a bet before the event begins:
Collin Morikawa - 25/1 @ William Hill
Collin hasn't played the Heritage before but his game is ideally suited to the premium on accurate iron play here. He was very unlucky not to win last week and should contend again. His maiden win at Barracuda last year followed a 4th and 2nd place, so he's showed he can stay hot for consecutive weeks.
5th in SG: Tee to green and 2nd SG: Approach the green indicate he is one of the best ball strikers on tour if not the best.
Matt Kuchar - 45/1 @ William Hill
Matt won here in 2014 and in the last five years he's only finished outside the top 11 on one occasion (23rd). He did miss the cut last week, but only only after double bogeying his last hole in the second round so we shouldn't be too worried.
He won the Singapore Open in January after missing the cut at the Sony Open.
Tyrrell Hatton - 50/1 @ BetVictor
Tyrrell didn't play last week but this is factored into his price and he could potentially be superb value at 50/1. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and finished 6th in the WGC-Mexico Championship on his only two starts this year.
The Mexico finish came after 12 weeks off with a wrist injury so he has proved he can return sharp. Also won the Turkish Airlines Open in his penultimate start of 2019, which makes it two wins in his last four starts.
1st for SG: Approach the green this year, a superb iron player and proven in the wind.
Jason Kokrak - 70/1 @ BetVictor
Jason finished 65-64 over the weekend at Colonial and hit 17 of 18 greens in his final round. He ticks the course form box, having recorded four top 20's in his last six appearances, including a 6th place finish in 2016.
Stats wise he was 6th last week for both Greens In Regulation and Scrambling, two key attributes this week. Jason backed up his best finish of 2019 (2nd place at the Valspar Championship) with a 7th place at the Texas Open so we know he can follow up a near miss with a good finish.
Rory Sabbatini - 125/1 @ William Hill
Rory has an extremely impressive record here with six Top-25's in eight appearances. He finished with a closing bogey free 65 to end up 14th last week, destroying Brooks Koepka in his two-ball match. He is one of the better scramblers on tour and is generally solid all round - in 2019 he was in the Top-100 for all strokes gained categories.
Graeme McDowell - 150/1 @ William Hill
Graeme won this in 2013 and also boasts three other top-30 finishes. The course suits his strengths perfectly - a strong iron player and great scrambler/putter. This also negates him being one of the shorter drivers on the Tour.
He currently sits 19th on SG: Approach the green and in 2019 was 4th SG: Putting, so if he can combine these two this week he will have a strong chance.
Missed the cut last week right on the line, but his win at Saudi earlier in the year followed a missed cut so it is not a major issue. It helps us get a great value price.
From 2021, the annual subscription for our tips will be £249 and we are delighted to be partnering with Premier Sports Plays (www.premiersportsplays.com) to bring you this service.
We will be in full charge of the Telegram group and Premier Sports Plays will handle the payments and administrative functions, allowing us to focus on the golf.
You can sign up by clicking the button below.