It’s an interesting week to evaluate the top of the board at the RBC Heritage. While there are plenty more big names than usual this week, most of the big dogs are sputtering coming into Hilton Head. Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay are probably the two best pure golfers in the field this week, but they both come here in woeful form over their last few starts. It’s hard to make sense of why they’re playing so poorly recently, so because of that, I’m not really taking a firm stance for or against either of them this week. I do however have strong feelings both for and against the 3 Faves and and Fades below, so let’s get straight into it.
Webb Simpson (+1100, $10,700)
There is plenty to like about the defending 2020 RBC Heritage champion this week. For starters, he is the third highest-priced player on Draft Kings at $10,700, despite being the odds on favorite on many books as low as +1100, so you’re getting some inherent value off the bat in DFS.
Webb Simpson also has one of the most repeatable, predictable games on Tour thanks to his consistently solid ball striking and short game, and that is amplified when you shorten the course distance and put him on Bermuda greens. Over the last 50 rounds, Webb ranks #1 SG: TOT on courses <7,200 yards and #10 SG: P on Bermuda.
We know Bubba Watson has certain #BubbaTracks where he consistently contends year over year regardless of form (Riviera, River Highlands, Augusta) and the same applies to Webb Simpson. He is known for dominating Sedgefield CC, earning his first career Tour victory at the Wyndham Classic in 2011, naming his first born child Wyndham to commemorate it, and then following that up with 7 T11-or-better finishes over the next decade. Harbour Town, like Sedgefield, is a short, coastal, Bermuda-grass, Carolina track, and so it should be little surprise that that consistent success at The Wyndham has started to translate over to the RBC Heritage as well. He’s never missed a cut here in 8 career trips, and in addition to his victory last year, also carries a T2, T5, T11, and T16.
I consider Webb a high floor, high ceiling play this week riding some hot recent performances at The Masters (T12) and WGC Workday (T6), and I will be looking to get plenty exposure to him in DFS this week.
Collin Morikawa (+2100, $10,500)
Collin Morikawa is giving me early signs of Justin Thomas at THE PLAYERS vibes this week, which is a very good omen. In my course preview article I talked about Morikawa jumping out to me on a short, shot makers course, as he can easily pound fairways and set up his approach shots like we saw him do successfully on a more demanding track in The Concession. So I was ready to bet Morikawa this week even if it meant dipping below the 20/1 line, and was delighted to see him regress to a more palatable 21/1 number. Of course we have to wonder about the putter, but we are only two starts removed from his win at the WGC Workday where he gained 4 strokes putting with his new, famed saw grip, so I’m feeling encouraged coming to Harbour Town.
It’s pretty crucial to have a good ARG game at Harbour Town for the mere mortals of the field who are bound to miss these small, undulated, and shelled greens. Players are hitting these greens in regulation at a clip of 57%, which is amongst the lowest of any course on Tour. Collin Morikawa, however, is not a mortal golfer, he is a freak of nature with his irons. I often compare Morikawa’s irons to Bryson’s Driver, in that his skillset is at its own top-tier level that nobody else in the field can match if he is clicking. For Bryson, when Fairways are tight and everyone’s missing them, he gets a leg up by being closer to the hole for his second shot. In the same vein with Collin, when everyone is missing the greens in regulation, his pinpoint accuracy is going to give him a huge leg up to not have to scramble for pars as often as the rest of the field.
Morikawa’s a popular play this week, that’s mainly because the books have disrespected him and butchered his odds. But when we’re handed a gift, it’s best not to ask any questions, take it, and wait to cash in on Sunday.
Brian Harman (+3000, $8,700)
The winner of the RBC Heritage last year was +3000, and there are a number of viable options in this range this year that are worth a look. For me, my favorite value bet at the top of the board is Brian Harman. He’s got everything you want in a contender this week: Recent Form (coming off a T12 at The Masters and T3 at THE PLAYERS), Course History (2 T10s and 7 made cuts in nine career trips), Pete Dye History (#2 SG: TOT on Dye tracks), and he’s a local Savannah, Georgia guy with plenty course familiarity outside of the competitive rounds.
Brian Harman has gone 20 (!) consecutive events now dating back to July 2020 in which he has gained SG: TOT and has missed just one cut over that span. From a course profile standpoint, Harman’s game coming in stacks up perfectly. He’s a fairway finder (#26 Fairways Gained) who won’t be penalized for his lack of distance (#107 Driving Distance). He’s 16th in Birdies Gained, 13th in Scrambling Gained, and a solid 27th T2G. Harman is a prolific putter, but I’m most encouraged by how consistently he has delivered on the Harbor Town greens, having gained at least one stroke putting in 8 consecutive trips to the RBC Heritage.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+2100, $9,100)
My heart still holds a grudge against Matt Fitzpatrick after a very disappointing showing at The Masters last week. Despite his reputation as one of the best putters on Tour, he was snake bitten by a number of 3-putts and missed 5-footers at Augusta. Even with that disappointing recent Masters showing, Fitzpatrick is the co-4th favorite to win this tournament, tied with Collin Morikawa at 21/1 and only trailing Webb, DJ, and Cantlay at the top of the board.
Fitzpatrick has good, not great history at the RBC Heritage with 2 MCs and 3 T25s over 6 career trips to this event. He has never finished better than 14th at this event however, so it’s hard for me to buy into his place on the odds board and DFS pricing this week.
Abraham Ancer (+3000, $8,900)
The books have been absolutely torturing me these last few weeks. I love Abe Ancer and I want to be hanging his name up in the rafters when he does get his first win, but 30/1 is an unplayable number for me, and I know people are jumping to play him on Draft Kings at $8,900 following his Runner Up here last year.
The case against Ancer is that despite his great history of Ball Striking on short courses and Pete Dye tracks, he is still searching with his putter. We saw a rare breathe of life in the flat stick at the Valero Texas Open, but before that, he’d lost strokes putting in 5 consecutive events. Even in his 2nd place finish at the 2020 RBC Heritage, he still lost strokes putting, and he MC’d in his only other appearance here in 2019.
Over his last 12 starts, Ancer has just one T10 finish, so it’s hard for me to justify a 30/1 outright on a guy who has never won on the PGA Tour before and is not making a concerted push toward the top of the leaderboard on Sundays recently. Brian Harman’s checking all of those boxes, so it’s an easy pivot for me to go to him over Ancer in the same price range.
Sungjae Im (+3500, $9,000)
I love Sungjae and it’s not easy for me to bet against him in this region of the country which he’s proven to dominate, but the weakest points in his game right now are the areas that are most important at Hilton Head. Believe it or not, Sungjae has plummeted to 99th SG: APP, 113th SG: ARG, and 114th Opportunities Gained over the last 24 rounds and is 111th SG: TOT – RBC Heritage. And those numbers don’t even factor in how terrible he was at The Masters. That is downright awful for a $9K player at 35/1. Add on the fact that Sungjae has 2 MCs in his two career trips to Harbour Town, and I’ll be actively looking to target against Sungjae in the Matchups market this week.