Starts: 14th April 2022
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina
Par: 71 (36-35)
Length: 7,121 yards
2021 Champion: Stewart Cink
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 15th
Premium on: Accurate approach play
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
This event was played in June in 2020. Treat those results with caution as the course was softer.
Cloudy - Max 14mph winds forecast
Potential thunderstorm - Max 10mph winds forecast
Cloudy - Max 8mph winds forecast
Cloudy - Max 10mph winds forecast
Last year, Stewart Cik won with a score of -19. In 2020, we saw a tournament record 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 fourteen years have won on their debut in this event. Of the 12 players who had competed here prior to winning in the past 14 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 two of the last six 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 six champions has been 115-9-111-46-73-14. Winners are generally inside the top 125.
Between 2000 and 2011, American golfers dominated, winning nine of the twelve tournaments. However, since 2012 only five 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 five winners have ranked 20-54-79-10-107
The last six winners have ranked 7-46-87-98-89-59. In general, distance is unimportant.
The last six winners have ranked 104-54-99-11-85-83. Accuracy off the tee isn't essential either.
The last five winners have ranked 2-8-23-10-3. Approach play is key.
SG: Around The Green
The last five winners have ranked 5-60-11-96-18.
The last six winners have ranked 25-4-5-22-14-11. 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
The last two winners, Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson, were 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 nine 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.
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Webb Simpson 40/1
The 40/1 on Webb was extremely tempting this week given he's not finished outside the top 16 in this event in the past 5 years. However, recent form has been patchy and doubts over whether he can put four rounds together at the moment
Jordan Spieth 40/1
We may regret passing up 40/1 on Jordan come Sunday evening but a missed cut last week was alarming. None of his 15 career victories have been preceded by a missed cut and others marginally preferred.
Maverick McNealy 50/1
Maverick was 4th last year and has been in solid form so far this year. May be one to add in-running.
Kevin Streelman 90/1
Kevin has 3 top 8 finishes in his last 7 starts at Harbour Town and comes into the event with decent recent form. However, last start he was 7th last for GIR and that was enough to put us off.
Anirbhan Lahiri 150/1
Excellent current form and a player who holds form well. Hasn't cracked the code here at Harbour Town (hasn't made the top 40 in five attempts) and other events may suit better.
Brendon Todd 160/1
4th here in 2015 and 8th last time out in Texas, a lot to like about the three time PGA Tour winner. One to keep an eye on in-play.
Hudson Swafford 250/1
Hudson has been playing extremely well of late, including vastly exceeding expectations at last week's Masters. However, he too has struggled here in the past and was discounted on that basis.
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