With the 82nd Masters in the books, the PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head Island, S.C., and the antithesis of Augusta National, Harbour Town Golf Links.
Harbour Town isn’t a long course, a par 71 measuring at 7,099 yards, but it does demand hitting fairways and greens. The greens are small and difficult to hit, which will make scrambling especially important. To make things harder, strong winds are expected over the weekend, though early-week rain and expected showers on Sunday will cause soft conditions and help players.
This week I’m going to look at four statistics: strokes gained: putting, strokes gained: approach-the-green, scrambling and driving accuracy.
Dustin Johnson headlines the field, but might not be the favorite as guys like Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson have all had strong success at Harbour Town and are coming off top-30 finishes at the Masters.
With further delay, here are my top 25 fantasy golf options for the RBC Heritage
1. Webb Simpson: Has made seven straight weekends at the Heritage, including finishing runner-up in 2013 and T-11 last year. He also has three top-8s this year on Tour and just posted his best career finish at the Masters, a T-20. Top-10 player on Tour in SGP and scrambling, and is 28th in SGATG.
2. Paul Casey: Nearly tied the course record Sunday at Augusta National before shooting 65 and tying for 15th. Ranks top 10 on Tour in SGATG and scrambling, which bodes well for Harbour Town, a place he’s played four times with three finishes of T-22 or better.
3. Matt Kuchar: Has missed just one cut in 14 trips to Harbour Town, and that was in his tournament debut in 2003. He has six top-11s at the Heritage, including his win in 2014. Coming off a T-14 showing at the Masters and I like his low ball flight in the weekend wind. He is the 22nd-ranked putter on Tour, too.
4. Dustin Johnson: T-10 at Masters was his eighth finish of T-16 or better in his last nine worldwide starts. At Heritage, however, he’s missed the cut in both attempts, in 2008 and ’09. Ranks 32nd in scrambling and T-14 in SGP, but Harbour Town will limit his biggest weapon – length.
5. Cameron Smith: Has made two previous starts here, tying for 29th last year and sharing 15th in 2015. Enters this year in nice form after T-5 at Masters and quarterfinal appearance at Match Play. Ranks 11th in scrambling.
6. Brian Harman: Owner of seven top-10 finishes this season, but just two in nine career trips to Harbour Town. Top-10 player on Tour in SGP and driving accuracy, and solid in scrambling (62) and SGATG (68).
7. Kevin Kisner: Lost in a playoff here in 2015 and was T-11 last year. Followed Match Play runner-up with T-28 at Masters. Ranks 11th on Tour in driving accuracy and eighth in SGP, but he needs to hit more greens or scramble better to win this week.
8. Marc Leishman: After some early-year struggles, he’s back on track thanks to a T-7 at Bay Hill and solo ninth at Augusta National. He’s posted just one top 10 in eight Heritage starts, but he ranks 36th in SGATG and looked good around the greens at the Masters.
9. Zach Johnson: Just twice in 12 career trips to Harbour Town has he finished better than T-33, but those finishes were a sixth in 2007 and second in 2012. Hasn’t missed a cut this season while posting seven top-26 finishes in 10 starts. Coming off a T-36 in Augusta. Ranks 11th in SGATG and 27th in scrambling, though he’s typically better in the latter.
10. Adam Hadwin (WD on Wednesday): T-24 finish at Masters was his fifth straight top-25 finish of the season. His best finish in three starts at Harbour Town is T-22, though his improved ballstriking (23rd in SGATG) should allow him to better that this year.
11. Ian Poulter: Top 20 in driving accuracy and SGATG, and coming off a win two weeks ago in Houston. Needs more from his putter and around the greens to continue his resurgence. Has never missed a cut in seven Heritage starts and was T-11 last year.
12. Tyrrell Hatton: T-29 in Heritage debut last year and has the game to excel here – straight off the tee, deft touch around the greens and a hot putter (he’s fifth in SGP). Coming off first made cut at Masters and has three top-10s in last six worldwide starts. One concern is his iron play.
13. Charley Hoffman: Final-round ace at Augusta National helped him to a T-12 Masters finish. Now, he heads to Harbour Town, where he has three top-15s in eight starts, though he did miss the cut last year. Ranks 37th in SGATG, but he will need four good rounds around and on the greens to really contend.
14. Brandt Snedeker: 2011 champ has teed it up here 12 times with just three MCs. T-11 last year here. But he doesn’t have a top-10 since last summer’s U.S. Open. His iron play hasn’t been great, but he could surprise here with his short game and driving accuracy. He ranks 14th in scrambling.
15. Kevin Na: Has four top-10s in last nine trips to Harbour Town. Still hasn’t done much on Tour this season aside from a T-2 at Riviera. He is fifth on Tour in scrambling, though, to go along with solid iron play and putting.
16. Emiliano Grillo: Making Heritage debut this year. T-3 at Houston was his third top-8 in last five worldwide starts. Top-20 player in driving accuracy and SGP, and his iron play and scrambling ability have been good this season, too.
17. Will McGirt: Continues to slide down world rankings, but maybe a trip to Hilton Head is what he needs? Boasts three top-10s in last four starts here, including a T-3 last year. Accurate driver and is top 50 in SGP and SGATG, and 26th scrambling.
18. Russell Knox: In four trips to Harbour Town he has gone T-9, T-18, T-2 and T-11. Still not in the best form, but has shown flashes at Valspar (T-16) and Pebble (T-15).
19. Ryan Moore: T-28 last week in Augusta and has three top-10s this season, but he hasn’t played here since a MC in 2008. Top-30 player in driving accuracy and scrambling.
20. Bryson DeChambeau: Followed runner-up at API with T-38 at Masters. Was T-4 in pro debut here in 2016, but missed cut last year. Ranks 32nd in SGATG and fairly accurate off the tee. Needs a big week from putter, which has given him problems for much of his pro career.
21. Charles Howell III: Enters the week with three straight top-20 finishes. No top-10s in 12 trips to Hilton Head, though he does have four top-25s. Top-50 player in SGATG and scrambling.
22. Xander Schauffele: Making first appearance at Harbour Town this year. T-18 or better in four straight starts before T-50 at Masters. Solid across the board, statistically this season.
23. Beau Hossler: Makes Heritage debut two weeks after nearly winning in Houston. Ranks 30th on Tour in SGP and is creative around the greens.
24. Jason Dufner: T-11 last year came after his eighth straight made cut at this event. Ballstriking a little off this season but has improved on the greens. Not in best of form with two MCs in last three stroke-play starts.
25. Patrick Cantlay: Coming off missed cut at Augusta National, but that was his first MC on Tour since 2014 and he was T-3 in his Heritage debut last year. Outside the top 100 in scrambling and driving accuracy, so don’t invest too much.