Another loaded field.
Another classic course.
Week II of the “new season” takes us to Harbour Town Golf Links and Pete Dye time!
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
|Yards: (per official scorecard):||7,099|
|Greens:||TifEagle Bermuda; 3,700 square feet on average.|
|Rough:||Celebration Bermuda not even an inch and a half.|
|Architect(s):||Pete Dye (1969)|
|Purse:||$7.1 million; $1.278 million and 500 FedExCup points (winner).|
|Defending Champion:||CT Pan (-12), 272.|
|Fact of the Week:||113 TOUR winners in the field|
|Fact of the Week II:||First time since 1981 event does NOT follow the Masters.|
2019-2020 Season Winners
*- First-time winner
**- First-time winner AND rookie winner
|A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier||*- Joaquin Niemann|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||*- Sebastian Munoz|
|Safeway Open||Cameron Champ|
|Shriners Hospitals for Children Open||Kevin Na|
|Houston Open||*-Lanto Griffin|
|CJ CUP AT NINE BRIDGES||Justin Thomas|
|ZOZO Championship||Tiger Woods|
|WGC-HSBC Champions||Rory McIlroy|
|Bermuda Championship||Brendon Todd|
|Mayakoba Golf Classic||Brendon Todd (2)|
|The RSM Classic||*-Tyler Duncan|
|Hero World Challenge||Henrik Stenson|
|Sentry Tournament of Champions||Justin Thomas (2)|
|Sony Open||Cameron Smith|
|The American Express||Andrew Landry|
|Farmers Insurance Open||Marc Leishman|
|Waste Management Phoenix Open||Webb Simpson|
|AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am||Nick Taylor|
|The Genesis Invitational||Adam Scott|
|WGC-Mexico Championship||Patrick Reed|
|The Honda Classic||*-Sungjae Im|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Tyrrell Hatton|
|THE PLAYERS Championship||Abandoned due to COVID-19, no winner|
|Charles Schwab Challenge||Daniel Berger|
Horses for Courses publishes at PGATOUR.COM Tuesdays. It’s a look who has played well here recently so I suggest reading it as I won’t replicate all of the information here.
Recent Event Winners
|2019||CT Pan, -12||Fourth consecutive first-time winner on TOUR.|
|2018||Satoshi Kodaira, -12||Fired a second round 63 and came from SIX back on Sunday to defeat Si Woo Kim in a playoff.|
|2017||Wesley Bryan, -13||Only hit 40 GIR but became first South Carolinian to win.|
|2016||Branden Grace, -9||Came from three back to catch and pass Luke Donald for his first TOUR victory.|
|2015||Jim Furyk, -18||Closed with 63 to force and win a playoff over Kevin Kisner.|
Facts and Figures:
|Tournament Record:||264; Brian Gay, 2009.|
|Course Record:||61; Troy Merritt, Round 2, 2015.|
|Defending Champion(last):||Boo Weekley, 2007-2008.|
|Multiple Winners Entered:||Furyk (2010, 2015), Stewart Cink (2000, 2004) and Davis Love III (5 times; last 2003).|
|First-time – TOUR||Last four winners!|
|First-time – Event||Kodaira, Bryan|
|Oldest Winner:||Hale Irwin, 48 (1994).|
|Youngest Winner:||Davis Love III, 23 (1987).|
|Low Rounds 2019:||65; Shane Lowry (Round 1), Pan (Round 2) and Webb Simpson (Round 3).|
|Local Winners:||Wesley Bryan only one.
Dustin Johnson (Myrtle Beach) led after 54 holes last year.
Kevin Kisner (Aiken) lost in a playoff to Furyk.
|Odd Fact:||CT Pan is the only winner of the last SEVEN not to make up more than three shots en route to victory in the final round.|
|Odd Fact II:||No Poa Trivialis overseed necessary this time of year. Pure Bermuda.|
My rust showed last week as my course-horse angle was blown out of the water by guys who had been playing well 90 days prior.
Life and learn, aye!
Daniel Berger rolled on to 29 (?!?) consecutive rounds under-par and his third TOUR victory. Collin Morikawa racked up his 21st consecutive payday as a pro and learned a tough lesson about finishing. They’re both back this week with a loaded field of 152 (Kevin Na and Scottie Scheffler pre-tourney WD).
Good News, Bad News: Another massive field this week will make our jobs difficult again. Of the 152 entered, 113 have won on TOUR. The laid-back chill-out Low Country will be on the boil this week as the pressure of playing a major the week prior isn’t there.
Changes in Latitude, Changes in Altitude: Hey, look! Bermuda greens! The weather will be perfect this week and so will the greens, again. No Poa to green them up since it’s June and the forecast looks perfect. If there’s no wind, and there isn’t any currently in the forecast, I’d expect a winning score above the 51 year average of 11-under.
So What? So Let’s Dance! New year, new month for the event but same tree-lined, tight-driving conditions and greens that are almost as small as Pebble Beach. They’ve added an acre of fairway that will eliminate some pine straw areas but there are plenty of trees to navigate up, around and through. The lack of rough on this course will help with recovery shots and scrambling greenside. There’s water on all 18 holes in some way, shape or form so hitting it all over the yard could make for a messy 36 holes.
The first-time winner angle that SHOULD be in play in a NORMAL year is out the window, for me, with a field of this magnitude. The best players this week aren’t coming off a grinding week at the Masters. They’re fresh and ready to go and already took some medicine at a tight Colonial last week.
Fool me twice, shame on me…
OWGR Superstars – Top 25:
Rory McIlroy: Wonderful challenge this week will either show off his adaptability to shaping and making shots or his frustrating ability not to grind it out. I’m guessing the former as he took a beating Sunday at Colonial. Lesson learned.
Jon Rahm: First time at this event should have his attention after back-to-back MC at Colonial. His worst finish in the last 365 days is T17 when not cut. Last MC-MC was 2019 PGA and Colonial, last May.
Brooks Koepka: Continues to baffle in boring regular TOUR events but obviously has the talent to win anytime he tees it up. As usual, harness him for his defense in Memphis or PGA Championship the following week when you’re going to get a guaranteed response.
Justin Thomas: Didn’t make anything on Bentgrass last week and finished T10. Yep, standard operating procedure these days. Enjoys the classic courses and this Pete Dye gem qualifies.
Dustin Johnson: I’m still in shell-shock from last year. Leading after 54 holes with gusty winds forecast, it was in the bag, game over. 77 shots later and T28 it was. Didn’t close at the Masters the week before (splash) T2. Last win was WGC-Mexico in 2019.
Patrick Reed: Stormed into contention last week with 63 on Saturday before cashing T7. His run on TOUR is currently T7-T15-WIN in his last three. Sizzle.
Webb Simpson: It was five consecutive top 10s before T61 (WGC-MEX) and MC last week. Cashing in nine straight here with seven of nine T16 or better should fix him right up. Giddy up.
Xander Schauffele: Whatever I wrote about him copy and paste again this week. He’s 0-3 now with the 54-hole lead but I doubt he neither knows that nor cares. T3 last week and 3rd in SG: TTG.
Justin Rose: No form, no clubs, no apparel sponsor, no problem, T3 last week. And now, no Sean Foley as they split after Colonial. Interested to see if those sticks stick and he can rip off some quality before he heads to Memorial where, if he plays, he’ll by on my short list.
Bryson DeChambeau: Led the field in SG: TTG last week and did everything but make the playoff. Should be a positive memory this week as he was T4 in his pro debut here in 2016 and T3 in 2018 after leading after 36. BEEF CAKE!
Tony Finau: T23 last week was solid but this week squeezes even tighter and with more penalties. I prefer him on a course where he can open it up and swing it.
Matt Kuchar: I remember when he MC it was big news. He’ll miss a few more but not this week as he’s 15 of 16 career. The 2014 champ has added four more T11 or better since including solo second last year. All you can get as he doesn’t have to chase bombers and his short game doesn’t hurt either.
Gary Woodland: Solo ninth last week after dropping some timber over the break. Fantastic hands and winning a U.S. Open at Pebble suggests he’s familiar with working it into small spaces.
Louis Oosthuizen: In one trip he posted 69-67-69-67 for T7. I’m always nervous.
Shane Lowry: FRL is my call as he’s opened 66 and 65 the last two years. Played in the final group with DJ last year and beat him by seven shots (T3).
Tyrrell Hatton: Look who’s back! Before the shutdown he was T6 in Mexico and WON at Bay Hill. Third visit to HHI.
Hideki Matsuyama: Look who’s back! Before the shutdown he tied the course record (63) at TPC Sawgrass before THE PLAYERS was abandoned. Now, who designed TPC Sawgrass again…?
Sungjae Im: Gives zero f*cks. None. Nada. I’m never fading him again. Lesson learned. T3 in scrambling last week. T10-3rd-WIN last three. I SURRENDER.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: “Should be perfect for him” is the cry annually at Harbour Town. 10-under the last two years with seven of eight rounds par or better. Fifth trip.
|2020 Colonial||Top 10 SG:TTG (Colonial)|
|01 Daniel Berger|
|02 Collin Morikawa||01 Bryson DeChambeau T3|
|03 Jason Kokrak||02 Collin Morikawa P2|
|03 Bryson DeChambeau||03 Xander Schauffele T3|
|03 Justin Rose||04 Daniel Berger WIN|
|03 Xander Schauffele||05 Justin Thomas T10|
|07 Bubba Watson||06 Harold Varner III T19|
|07 Patrick Reed||07 Abraham Ancer T14|
|09 Gary Woodland||08 Jason Kokrak T3|
|10 Sungjae Im||09 Justin Rose T3|
|10 JT Poston||10 Gary Woodland 9th|
|10 Jordan Spieth|
|10 Justin Thomas|
|14 Patrick Rodgers|
|14 Rory Sabbatini|
|14 Peter Uihlein|
|14 Cameron Champ|
|14 Abraham Ancer|
|19 Joel Dahmen|
|19 Corey Conners|
|19 Harold Varner III|
|19 Branden Grace|
|23 Lucas Glover|
|23 Viktor Hovland|
|23 Rafa Cabrera Bello|
|23 Brian Harman|
|23 Tony Finau|
|23 Chesson Hadley|
Look Closer (those not listed in Horses for Courses):
Daniel Berger: He’s won before and it’s always led into the U.S. Open. Not this time. The streak is real and he’s doing it with clubs he used in high school. Yep. Opened with 66 here last year before fading to T33.
Collin Morikawa: If you torch Colonial you can play anywhere on TOUR. Just added another chapter to the manual last week and should more than excited to get out again.
Jordan Spieth: I liked what I saw, for the most part, last weekend. Now let’s see if it continues, well, minus the 2-footers he missed.
Jason Kokrak: T51-T18 and T3 last week in his last three. Simple trend. Had a few sniffs here too which should buoy him.
Abraham Ancer: Six straight, second on Dye’s Stadium Course in the desert and T14 last week.
Ben An: Shit, why not. Hasn’t MC in six either. Figures he’s MC-T7 the last two here. Sigh.
Maverick McNealy: T5 at Pebble, T11 Honda highlight a streak of 12 makes in 13 tries.
JT Poston: T6 on debut last year and led the field in scrambling and bogey avoidance. Went on to win at Wyndham later in the year without squaring a bogey. T10 last week his first since that historic win.
Joel Dahmen: T19-T5-T5-T14 last four on TOUR. 25th SG: Total. T16 on debut last year.
Viktor Hovland: Always keeping an eye on the kids especially after winning back in March. He should be free as a bird now and T23 at a tough CCC grabbed my attention.
Russell Henley: T8 Honda and T17 Riviera in his last two starts. Not exactly pitch and putts.
Billy Horschel: Seems like he can be in here every week. Six straight on TOUR and two top 10s here.
Max Homa: Time to re-light the candle as he’s T25 or better in six of his last eight but MC last week.
Talor Gooch: 13 straight on TOUR. First trip here.
Harry Higgs: Six straight on TOUR. First trip here.
Scott Piercy: 17-under the last two years here. Veteran knows when to go and slow.
Rory Sabbatini: Probably should have been in course horses as last nine have produced seven T23 or better.
Patrick Rodgers: Gotta move him up as seven of his last eight are T35 or better; last three T24 or better.
Brian Stuard: Closed with 64 at Colonial and has cashed in his last three on TOUR. Won’t be bombed away here.
Matt NeSmith: South Carolinian has cashed eight of nine this season. Another who won’t mind tight driving and approaches.
Ted Potter, Jr.: Seaside tracks with small greens? Penny for my thoughts.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.