Starts: 15th April 2021
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina
Par: 71 (36-35)
Length: 7,121 yards
2020 Champion: Webb Simpson
Overall Profit/Loss: -6pts
Pre-Event Bets: -9pts
1pt EW Harris English 40/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-8)
1pt EW Matt Kuchar 50/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.75pts EW Brandt Snedeker 110/1 @ Labrokes (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts EW Patton Kizzire 150/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
0.25pts EW Troy Merritt 350/1 @ 888Sport (1/5 1-8)
1pt Doc Redman Top 20 finish 7/1 @ 888Sport
1pt CT Pan Top Asian 7/1 @ Betfair
In-Play Bets: +3pts
16 April 2021 (-3pts)
1pt EW Sergio Garcia (1/5 1-5) - 50/1 @ William Hill
0.5pts EW Robert Streb (1/5 1-5) - 300/1 @ Bet365
17 April 2021 (-1pt)
1pt Win Only Emilliano Grillo - 16/1 @ Betway
18 April 2021 (+7pts)
1pt Maverick McNealy Top 5 Finish 11/1 @ Paddy Power
Used Since: 1969
Rough: Bermuda (0.75 inch)
Greens: TifEagle Bermuda (12.5 stimp)
Water Hazards: On 7 holes
Par 5's: 2nd, 5th and 18th
Premium on: Accurate approach play
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
This event was played in June last year. Treat last year's results with caution as the course was softer.
The forecast is mixed this week with rain possible on three days.
Max 11mph winds forecast
Max 9mph winds forecast
Max 8mph winds forecast
Max 8mph winds forecast
We saw a tournament record winning score last year of -22. Jim Furyk won with a score of -18 in 2015 but other than that, winning scores here from 2010 to 2019 were between 9 and 14 under par.
Only two players in the last thirteen years have won on their debut in this event. Of the ten players who had competed here prior to winning in the past 13 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.
Only one of the last five champions had posted a top 60 finish in their last start prior to winning here. Recent form isn't essential.
The world ranking of the past five champions has been 9-111-46-73-14. Winners are generally inside the top 100.
Between 2000 and 2011, American golfers dominated, winning nine of the twelve tournaments. However, since 2012 only four Americans have prevailed.
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
Webb Simpson has won both
Si Woo Kim has won The Players Championship and has a runner up finish at Hilton Head.
SG: Off The Tee
The last four winners have ranked 54-79-10-107
The last five winners have ranked 46-87-98-89-59. In general, distance is unimportant.
The last five winners have ranked 54-99-11-85-83. Accuracy off the tee isn't essential either.
The last four winners have ranked 8-23-10-3. Approach play is key.
SG: Around The Green
The last four winners have ranked 60-11-96-18.
The last five winners have ranked 4-5-22-14-11. A hot putter is essential
The 3rd and 4th holes have ranked inside the top four hardest holes in each of the past two years. The par 3 14th hole is also traditionally a hole ranked amongst the three hardest on the course.
The par 5's (2nd, 5th and 15th) play as the easiest holes. The easiest hole outside of those is the short par 4 9th.
Given the last couple of holes are exposed to the water, the severity of the wind often determines how difficult these holes play. The 18th hole played as the hardest hole on the course in 2019 but was only 6th hardest last year. The par 3 17th plays over par more often than not.
Fast or Slow Start
Webb Simpson started fast last year and was never outside the top 3 after each round. However, it is possible to get off to a slow start here and still win. In 2019 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. Similarly, in 2017, Wesley Bryan was in 35th position after round one. In fact, in the last eleven 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. Seven of the last eight 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.
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RBC Heritage In-Play Blog
18 April 3pm
Pre-event 125/1 shot Stewart Cink maintained his five shot lead yesterday but has a different chaser in the form of world number 4 Collin Morikawa. Bookmakers rate Cink 2/5 to finish the job and you can get 5/1 on Morikawa to catch him.
Cink continued his excellent approach play, hitting 83% of greens in regulation. The lead could arguably be a lot more had he not had a cold day with the putter. Missed birdie chances on 6,7,8,9 and 15 might come back to haunt him.
Given his experience though, it’s more than likely it will take something special for Morikawa and the other chasers. He won as recently as last September at the Safeway Open and should be able to plot his way round sensibly.
If there is a chance he goes backwards, it will most likely be because of the driver as he ranks 32nd in the field off the tee. We won’t be taking on again though and we will cheer on yesterday’s 16/1 recommendation Emalliano Grillo rather optimistically.
We will have one play for the final round in the top 5 finish market.
Round 4 Bet
- 1pt Maverick McNealy Top 5 finish 11/1 @ Paddy Power
Maverick got off to a slow start on Thursday with a 71 but has played beautifully the last two days shooting 67 on Friday and 66 on Saturday. We were really impressed with how he handled the pressure at Pebble Beach earlier this year when finishing 2nd and expect him to finish strong here too.
17 April 00.30am
|Four Players Tied||-9|
Stewart Cink rolled back the years with a second 63 to take a commanding five shot lead into the weekend at the RBC Heritage. His five shot lead is the largest 36 hole lead on the PGA Tour since 2005 and has seen his odds tumble to as low as 13/10.
Cink leads the field in SG: Approach and is 3rd SG: Putting. He's only dropped one shot in the opening two days and looks extremely relaxed as he aims to win for the second time in nine months. He claimed the Safeway Open in September with a pair of 65s on the weekend and similar scores would almost certainly win him the tournament this week. However, with the lead he possesses, a couple of under par rounds will probbaly be enough to see him go close.
Round two leaders haven't had the best of records here in recent times with four of the last five leaders at halfway failing to finish the job. Webb Simpson bucked that trend when winning last year and Cink should take heart from his success. It should also be noted that none of those four leaders who failed to convert had anywhere near the lead Cink has. The largest lead held in the last five years has been two shots.
Of the players chasing Cink, only two players are priced up at single figures. Corey Conners is 11/2 2nd favourite, with Collin Morikawa available at 8/1. For all Conners stellar play this year, including 8th last week at The Masters, he's not for us at 11/2. He was 2nd here at halfway last year before weekend rounds of 69-70 saw him slip back to 21st. He's an improving player but we'd far rather have Morikawa of the two. Whether either is worth backing at single figure odds given Cink's lead is debatable though.
With conditions set to remain fairly benign, scoring should remain good. The forecast for Saturday is a max wind of 8mph with no rain.
Round 3 Bet
- 1pt Win Only Emiliano Grillo 16/1 @ Betway
We're keeping this small stakes given Cink has such a large lead. Emiliano isn't a player we're normally keen to back as he's hugely unreliable under pressure. However, this particular scenario might actually play to his advantage and the fact he will likely have to play catch up the next two days will suit him. The pressure will be off and he can attack Cink rather than deal with the pressure of being in and around the lead. He ranks 2nd SG: Approach and SG: Off The Tee this week so he should be setting up plenty of birdie opportunities over the weekend.
16 April 9.55am
|Three Players Tied||-5|
Cameron Smith leads the way after an afternoon 62 which included a 2 at the 17th from the bunker. He has a one shot advantage over the early pacesetter Stewart Cink and Collin Morikawa is lurking three shots back.
Hopefully FRL backers of Cink cashed out as it was looking extremely unlikely he would be caught. Smith’s round was even more impressive as he was already eight shots behind before he’d teed off.
Bookmakers now rate Smith a strong 3/1 favourite and given he was a winner in 2020 and carries very consistent form, it’s a fair price. He ranked in the top 10 of every strokes gained department yesterday apart from approach play.
I don’t know if it’s a mistake in the figures recorded but apparently he was 79th in the field for approach! That’s a slight concern going forward, or maybe we should be concerned how good he could score if he improved his iron play.
The value on Smith is gone now and with Morikawa only three back, along with his recent collapse at the WGC Workday Championship which you can read about here, he’s not for us at that price.
Morikawa would be preferred out of the favourites, with his killer instinct recently in closing tournaments. Stewart Cink can’t be written off either and it’s unlikely he will go away.
With all that said, it’s only Friday and our preview highlights that winners can come from way off the pace here, so we’re happy to chance a couple further down the list.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Sergio Garcia 50/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-5)
Sergio is three under par and has some ground to make up. He hit the ball well yesterday, hitting 14/18 greens and was 12th in the field off the tee. It's also interesting to see him positive strokes gained with the putter. Finished 5th here last year after an opening 70, Sergio will have positive memories of a strong finish last year and is worth backing at 50/1.
- 0.5pts Each Way Robert Streb 300/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
We have selected Robert purely on the value of his price. He is currently three under par. He was a winner on tour at the end of 2020 at the RSM Classic and 13th in his last start prior to the Masters at the Honda Classic. Have a nibble at 300/1.