2019 RBC Heritage Betting Preview

2019 RBC Heritage Betting Preview

After the events that unfolded at the 83rd Masters this past weekend, it would be easy to forget that normal service resumes this week.

Although Tiger Woods will not tee it up this week, after winning his 15th major title on Sunday, the fans and event organisers at the RBC Heritage will still be very pleased with the field that’s come together here.

Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the most renowned courses on the PGA Tour and despite being short in length, it tests every facet of a golfer’s game. Harbour Town simply cannot be overpowered, so the winner this week will have to think their way around this golf course.

Favourites

You would think this course would be the opposite of suitable for Dustin Johnson but that is because people often overlook his iron and wedge ability, instead focusing on his power off the tee. After missing the cut on debut in 2008 and suffering the same fate a year later, Johnson decided not to return to this golf course, until he teed it up here last year. He finished 16th here 12 months ago, shooting three rounds of 69 or less, with a third-round 72 costing him a chance of victory. Opening rounds of 69-69 followed by a Sunday 67 proves Johnson can play here if in form and judging by his effort at Augusta, he should be right there again this week. Despite being a little shy of what was required for much of last week, Johnson put together four birdies in his closing five holes, to put the pressure on the leaders. In the end he was ultimately one shot shy of Woods’ 13-under total, but it was a valiant effort from Johnson who managed his career-best effort at Augusta. Johnson ranks 11th in SG: Approach this season which is a key factor on this course, as it demands accurate shots into the green. Also important is finding the right part of the fairway and whilst Johnson ranks well down the list in Driving Accuracy, he does have the option to club down here on this shorter course, which will allow him to position himself well for his approach shots. If he is to miss a few greens along the way this week, he ranks an impressive 12th in Scrambling as well, so his game is in good shape to go well here. The World No.1 is rightly the favourite this week.

This should be the perfect golf course for a player of Francesco Molinari’s qualities, but previous course form suggests it’s not worked out that way for the Italian. In four starts here, Molinari has a best finish of 22nd but he has made the cut here in each of the last three years, after missing the weekend on debut in 2011. A record of 45-22-49 doesn’t exactly standout, but we know how much Molinari has improved as a player over the past couple of years and last week was further evidence of that. The problem is, last week may be the very reason he can’t find victory this week. Molinari went into the final day with a two-stroke lead over Woods and Tony Finau, and for the front nine looked unbeatable as he consistently defied the odds, with brilliant scrambling keeping him on track for victory. Double bogeys at 12 and 15 put to bed his chances of victory however, as he went into the water hazards on both holes, and his two-over par final-round saw him concede the title to Woods. A level-par Sunday from Molinari would have been good enough for a play-off but the pressures down the stretch got to him, as he looked to add a second major to his trophy cabinet. It was still an incredible effort from him and he will go on to win again soon enough, it just seems unlikely this week with course form and mental fatigue counting against him.

Bryson DeChambeau co-led with Brooks Koepka after an opening 66 last Thursday at the Masters, unfortunately he followed that spectacular round with rounds of 75-73 on Friday and Saturday respectively. A two-under-par 70 on Sunday was an improvement, but even that came courtesy of a hole-in-one on the Par 3 16th, and as a whole he will be disappointed with his week’s work. Still a T29 finish is not the end of the world and considering he has won five times worldwide since he teed it up here 12 months ago, he should still be confident of a good week here. Unlike Molinari and Johnson, DeChambeau did not endure the Sunday pressures that come with contending for a major title and he can instead reset and go again here. In three starts here, DeChambeau has finished 4-MC-3, so chances are if he makes the weekend he can definitely contend for another PGA Tour title. Since heading over to the European Tour earlier in the year, where he won in Dubai and finished 6th in Saudi Arabia, DeChambeau has seemingly struggled to put four rounds together, so he will want to get his form back on track and he can do so on a course he has played well on two occasions already.

Another player who finished T2 behind Woods last week at Augusta, and also like Johnson has won twice already this season, is Xander Schauffele. The former Rookie of the Year continues to impress, despite still being in the infancy of his PGA Tour career and a major championship victory is surely in his very near future. To be fair it felt that way before last week but his performance at the Masters reaffirmed that and it will be interesting to see how he gets on this week. Not considered the best at anything, but very solid across the board, Schauffele definitely has the profile to win here and showed promise in his course debut 12 months ago. Two opening rounds of 68 saw Schauffele go into the weekend with a great chance of winning but weekend rounds of 71-72 put a stop to that happening and he ultimately finished in a tie for 32nd. He’s been typically solid all season long, ranks 14th in SG: Approach-the-green and it seems almost inevitable that he’ll get to three wins this season one way or another. With all that and last week’s performance considered, there’s every chance win number three on the season comes here at Harbour Town.

He never really threatened the leaders last week, but he was right there for the most past and Matt Kuchar can use another fine Masters performance as a springboard for further success. T12 last week, Kuchar continued his imperious form this season, which has been highlighted by two victories and a runner-up finish at the WGC Match Play. 6th in SG: Approach, Kuchar is hitting the ball as well as anyone on Tour let alone the field this week and his previous experiences here have been largely positive. In the last five years in particular, Kuchar has a win, a 5th and a 9th place finish and in that time has not finished worse than his 23rd place effort 12 months ago. He was well on course for another top finish here a year ago, but a final-round 73 put a halt to his chances and instead saw him tumble down the leaderboard. In much better form this time around, Kuchar has to be considered one of the players to beat this week.

Former Stanford standout, Patrick Cantlay put in a valiant effort at the Masters, briefly leading the way in the final round after an eagle at the 15th hole put him at the top at 12-under. Two bogeys over the last three holes followed though and he fell into a tie for 9th, but it was a promising weekend nonetheless. After a slow start (73-73), Cantlay had to go low over the weekend to even feature and he did exactly that shooting 64-68 to show his undoubted ability and also give him a timely confidence boost. I say timely because of course he wants to peak at majors championships, it’s what a player of his ability demands and desires, but he also has a great record at this course. If Cantlay wants to go from promising talent, who consistently performs, to one of the best in the world, he needs to add to his lone victory at the 2017 Shriners. He has two 2nd place finishes at the Valspar (2017) and again when defending the Shriners last season, but there is surely still plenty to come. After a few tough years on and off the course, Cantlay reminded everyone how special he was in 2017 and has continued to do so since, so another win will hopefully follow soon. Because of his time away, he has only played this event twice, but he finished 3rd here on debut two years ago and backed that up with a 7th place finished last season. A Friday 72 cost him this time last year but if he can get off to a quicker start than he did both in this event last year and at the Masters last week, a second PGA Tour victory would certainly be within his grasp.

Jordan Spieth’s effort at Augusta last week epitomises the player he has been for the past year. Since finishing 3rd at the 2018 Masters, Spieth has finished inside the top-10 just once (T9 2018 Open Championship) and he is clearly battling some serious demons in his game. A first round 75 did not fill him or anybody else for that matter with confidence last week, but he battled back greatly to shoot three under-par rounds (68-69-71) to finish just one shot out of the top-20. Looking at his last eight rounds in isolation – most recent first (71-69-68-75-72-73-68-68) there have been as many sub-70 rounds as there have been over, and more under-par rounds than over so there is signs that his game is getting better and he will look to continue that this week. The Texan has not played here since 2015 but from 2013 (his debut) to 2015, Spieth never finished outside the top-12 here, with his 9th on that debut in 2013, his best effort. A top-10 here would have to be considered a success considering his current run of form, but that doesn’t look completely out of the question now, after his bounce back at Augusta.

Dark Horses

South African, Justin Harding made plenty of noise at Augusta last week as he was in and around the lead all week long. To many this was a shock, but when you consider he has won five times and finished inside the top-25 a further fourteen (!!) times in the last 12 months, it it perhaps less surprising. Many will dismiss four of those victories as worthless as they came back in his home country, on the Sunshine Tour but at the end of the day, winning is winning. He put to bed any doubts when winning the Qatar Masters earlier this year, and did so again last week when finishing T12 on his Masters debut. Four rounds of par or better is no mean feat for anyone at the Augusta, but for a debutant in particular, it is quite something, so we should stand up and take notice. He ranks 7th on the European Tour in SG: Approach and with none of those above him playing anywhere near as many rounds as him, he can easily be considered the best in that area this season. This will be a first start for him at Harbour Town but if he can play anywhere near as well as he did last week, he’s going to extend his current run of good form, which stands at 12-MC-2-1 in his last four stroke play events.

Luke Donald has finished 2nd or 3rd in 7 of his 10 starts at Harbour Town, since 2008. Only once in that time has he missed the cut, and that came last year when his health prevented him from playing golf at a competitive level. At the Valspar two starts ago, Donald had a very real chance of getting his first win anywhere since 2012 but a Sunday 73 saw him fall four strokes shy of fellow Englishman, Paul Casey. That was the first time he completed four rounds in a tournament since finishing T64 in the same event a year prior, having only teed it up five times in between. There’s every chance that his week at the Valspar was a one off, with his body still not in the best shape, but if he is going to back that performance up any time soon there is no better course for him than Harbour Town. It is unbelievable to think that none of the seven top-3 finishes he boasts here transcended into victory even when at his pomp, but he can find his way into the top-5 again, despite missing the cut last time out.

Recommended Bets:

Patrick Cantlay to win (each way) at 20/1 with SkyBet – BET HERE

Justin Harding top-10 finish at 10/1 with Unibet – BET HERE

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