Horses for Courses: RBC Heritage 2021

Back to the regular spot on the TOUR calendar!

Although the June Shootout of 2020 was fun, it looks like it’s back to firm, fast and breezy in April.

Might wannna dig a bit deeper than Webb Simpson’s record-setting performance from last year.

Good luck!

via @PGATOUR Twitter

Another tradition returns to the TOUR this week as Harbour Town Golf Links and the RBC Heritage returns to its normal spot on the calendar.

Every event since 1982 at Pete Dye’s Hilton Head Island design had followed the green jacket presentation before last June as COVID-19 rearranged the schedule.


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Every event since 1982 at Pete Dye’s Hilton Head Island design had followed the green jacket presentation before last June as COVID-19 rearranged the schedule.

For the second week in a row, “rough” won’t be an issue. The “second cut” of over-seeded Bermuda doesn’t even reach an inch here. The major difference off the tee will be tight driving chutes and only 22 acres of fairway compared to 100 acres last week. TifEagle green complexes are on average only 3,700 square feet, second smallest on TOUR behind Pebble Beach, and are over-seeded with Poa trivialis (think TPC Scottsdale). The layout was NOT over-seeded in June of last season and 22 yards were added to Par-3 No. 17 after that event. Harbour Town now plays 7,121 yards (Par-71) for 2021.

The return to April should see the wind pick up and the scoring increase. With water is in play on all 18 holes, doglegs swinging both right and left plus Pete Dye’s mind tricks, it’s no wonder why the winning score in April hovers around 11-under par. The comedown after Augusta is also real for a significant part of the field. I’m not dismissing the 2020 results but I’m more interested in like-for-like conditions of the April events.

The last seven April champions have trailed by a least two shots entering the final round as no lead has been safe. First time TOUR winners have slipped on the tartan jacket in the last four editions in April. The winning score has been lower than 14-under exactly once last decade. The formula is simple: score when you hit GIR and scramble for pars when you don’t!

As we return to spring, the field will consist of 135 players, including defending champion Webb Simpson. On the line is a prize pool of $7.1 million ($1.278 first place), 500 FedExCup points and the historic tartan jacket.

Recent Event Winners Stats

Year2020201920182017
PlayerWebb SimpsonCT PanSatoshi KodairaWesley Bryan
Score262 (-22)272 (-12)272 (-12)271 (-13)
     
MOV11Playoff (Si Woo Kim)1
Cut4-under !!!!EvenEven1-under
Age34272827
     
Disantance – All DrivesT33T502770
Driving AccuarcyT33T59T4T55
GIRT12T37T7T66
Ball-Striking1659T17T71
ProximityT33717
Putting: Birdie or Better %342317
SG: Off-the-Tee3450667
SG: Approach-the-Green81872
SG: Around-the-Green3776610
SG: Putting251611
SG: Tee-to-Green71176
ScramblingT27T16T131
Bogey AvoidanceT11T10T5T1
Par-3 ScoringT52T43T28T4
Par-4 ScoringT2 T12T1
Par-5 ScoringT4T7T31T37

Recent Winners and Notables

2020: Webb Simpson (-22, 262)

Broke out of a three-way tie with Abraham Ancer and Tyrrell Hatton after 54 holes to win by a shot. … Closed with 64 (-7) to set the tournament scoring record by two shots. … Made a career best 187 feet of putts in Round 2. … Of his four rounds he signed for 65 twice and 64 to close. … Led after 36 holes on 12-under. … Breaks a streak of four consecutive first-time TOUR winners at the event. … Wins for the seventh time on TOUR. … Wins in his 11th attempt at Harbour Town. … Picks up his seventh T16 or better in his last nine starts here. .. MC previous week at Colonial to open COVID season but won in February at TPC Scottsdale.

Notables:

Abraham Ancer (2nd) hit the most GIR (65/72) in this event since 1980 and led the field in Strokes-Gained: Approach. … Daniel Berger (T3) ran out of holes as he closed 63-65 as he tried to being the COVID season with back-to-back wins. … Tyrrell Hatton (T3) posted a career TOUR low 63 in Round 3 and led the field in Strokes-Gained: Putting. … Sergio Garcia (T5) played his last 54 holes 18-under. … Dylan Frittelli (T8) missed the course record on Sunday by a shot as he signed for 62. … JT Poston (T8) and Michael Thompson (T8) both hit the top 10 in back-to-back years. … Defending champion CT Pan (T52) could not join Boo Weekley (2007-08) as the last to back it up. … Ian Poulter (T14) and Mark Hubbard (T33) shared the 18-hole lead. … Round 3 was the easiest in TOURNAMENT HISTORY. … The top 51 players were 10-under or lower. … Cut was 4-under. … 69.137 was the fifth lowest on TOUR last season.

2019: CT Pan (-12, 272)

Came from two shots off the pace on Sunday to win by a shot. … First TOUR win in his 79th start. … Becomes fourth consecutive first-time TOUR winner at Harbour Town. … Fifth international in eight events. … One of five players 10-under or better. … Closing round 67 was T-second-best round in Round 4. … 13 one-putt greens in the final round. … Made 19 birdies (T2) on the week. … First winner at the event who did NOT trail by three or more shots in seven years. … Last 54-hole leader to win in April was 2014. … Won on his third visit (T44 on debut in 2017, T23 in 2018). … Sat T4 after 54 holes in 2018. … Entered the week without a top 10 on the season.

Notables:

Matt Kuchar (2nd) also fired 67 in Round 4 to claim his fifth T11 or better in his last six visits. … Patrick Cantlay (T3) makes it three straight visits T7 or better. … Shane Lowry (T3) led after 18 and 36 holes. … Scott Piercy (T3) was the other player 10-under for the week. … JT Poston (T6) closed 67-66 and didn’t make a bogey all weekend as he led the field in scrambling. … Kevin Streelman (T6) had his run of seven straight weekends broken last June. … Sam Burns (9th) circled 19 birdies and an eagle but also had nine bogeys and two doubles #volatile. … Troy Merritt (T10) shares the course record (61) and has a pair of top 10s in his last four visits. … Rory Sabbatini (T10) is T23 or better in his last three visits. … Dustin Johnson (T28) led after 54 holes by a shot before stumbling home with 77. … Defending champion Satoshi Kodaira was 70th and last. … Alex Noren (T28) led the field with 20 birdies. … Gusty winds all weekend. … 71.70 for the week was the 11th toughest on TOUR. … Cut was Even.

2018: Satoshi Kodaira (-12, 272)

Defeated Si Woo Kim on the third playoff hole. … First TOUR win in his 15th start. … Second consecutive winner at the event playing for the first time. … Began the final round six shots behind leader Ian Poulter. … Became six consecutive winner to rally from three or more shots back in the final round. … Posted the lowest round of the week, 63, in Round 2. … Only six players 10-under or lower. … Third consecutive winner in 20s at age 28. … Continued the streak to four straight of winners leading or second in Par-4 scoring. … T28 previous week at the Masters.

Notables:

Si Woo Kim (P2) trailed by one after 36 and 54 holes and led the field with 22 birdies. … Luke List (T3) trailed by one, shot 72, and missed the playoff by a shot. … Billy Horschel (T5) sat two back after 54 holes but posted 72. … Webb Simpson (T5) was the only player to sign for all four rounds in the 60s. … Kevin Streelman (T7) closed 67-68, the first of back-to-back top 10s. … Patrick Cantlay (T7) T2 GIR. … Native Kevin Kisner (T7) looked to join Wesley Bryan (T42) as the only South Carolinians to win the event. … 54-hole leader Ian Poulter (T7) limped home with 75 in gusty conditions. … 18-hole leader Rory Sabbatini (T23) posted 64. … No bogey-free rounds on Sunday. … Weather forced early morning tee times on Sunday. … Defending champion Wesley Bryan also won on his first visit. … Cut was Even.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. * – Top 10 here since 2015 or past champion

Par- 4 ScoringGolfer
  
1Russell Henley
3Emiliano Grillo
4*Webb Simpson
6*Patrick Cantlay
6Chris Kirk
10Austin Cook
10Carlos Ortiz
10*Abraham Ancer
10*Daniel Berger
10*Si Woo Kim
17Peter Malnati
17Anirban Lahiri
17Collin Morikawa
17*Sam Burns
17Patton Kizzire
17Corey Conners
28Charles Howell III
28*Tyrrell Hatton
28*Kevin Streelman
28Tom Hoge
28Charley Hoffman
28Chase Seiffert
28Dustin Johnson
28Cameron Davis
28Doug Ghim
28Sungjae Im
  
Strokes Gained: Around the GreenGolfer
  
1Christiaan Bezuidenhout
3*Kevin Na
4*Byeong-Hun An
5Adam Hadwin
6*Dylan Frittelli
7*Patrick Cantlay
8*Webb Simpson
10Dustin Johnson
12Brandon Hagy
13Bill Haas
17Chris Kirk
20Tommy Fleetwood
21Robert Streb
22*Si Woo Kim
23Wyndham Clark
24Cameron Smith
28Ben Martin
29Carlos Ortiz
30*Shane Lowry
  
Strokes-Gained: Tee to GreenGolfer
  
3Collin Morikawa
4Will Zalatoris
6Dustin Johnson
8*Patrick Cantlay
10*Sergio Garcia
12Corey Conners
13Matt Wallace
18Paul Casey
20Charley Hoffman
23Russell Henley
24 Chris Kirk
25Matthew NeSmith
26Doug Ghim
27Matt Fitzpatrick
28Aaron Wise
29Tyrrell Hatton
30Harold Varner III

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10s Top 25sMost RecentRecent Others
     
Webb Simpson (10/11)37Win (2020)T5 2018, 2nd 2013; nine consecutive made cuts 
Abraham Ancer (1/2)112 (2020)MC debut 2019
Daniel Berger (3/3)11T3 (2020)Trending — T33, T72 prior
Tyrrell Hatton (2/3)11T3 (2020)MC, T29 previous 2 events
Sergio Garcia (2/4)12T5 (2020)First visit since 2010
Dylan Frittelli (2/2)11T8 (2020)T32 2018
Michael Thompson (4/8)23T8 (2020)T10 2019; cashed in three straight
JT Poston (2/2)22T8 (2020)T6 2019; of eight rounds five are 67 or better
     
CT Pan (4/4)12Win (2019)T23 2018; 14 of 16 round par or better
Matt Kuchar (16/17)6102 (2019)2014 win,  5th 2015, T9 2016
Patrick Cantlay (3/3)33T3 (2019)T7 2018, T3 2017; 30-under in three April visits
Scott Piercy (4/6)12T3 (2019)T16 2018
Shane Lowry (2/3)11T3 (2019)MC last year; T44 2017 debut
Kevin Streelman (7/10)34T6 (2019)T7 2018, T3 2013
Sam Burns (1/2)119th (2019)All four rounds 70 or better
Rory Sabbatini (8/11)48T10 (2019)27 under last 3; T23 or better
Kevin Na (10/14)57T10 (2019)Last seven visits resulted in four top 10 paydays
Troy Merritt (4/6)22T10 (2019)3 (2015)
KJ Choi (6/10)12T10 (2019)Only top 25 last seven
     
Satoshi Kodaira (2/2)11Win (2018)Debut winner; 70th in defense
Si Woo Kim (2/4)12P2 (2018)Should have won 2018; T14 debut 2016
Luke List (3/6)11T3 (2018)Nothing before, after
Bill Horschel (6/8)22T5 (2018)T9 debut 2013
Ian Poulter (10/10)25T7 (2018)T14 or better in last four visits
Kevin Kisner (6/8)23T7 (2018)Lost playoff to Furyk in 2015
Chesson Hadley (3/6)11T7 (2018)T38 is next best
Byeong Hung An (2/4)11T7 (2018)MC last two
     
Wesley Bryan (3/3)11Win (2017)Debut winner; Only SC native
Luke Donald (11/15)782 (2017)2nd 2009, 2011, 2014 & 2016; T3 2010, 2013
William McGirt (6/8)33T3 (2017)T9 2014, 2016; cashed his last six trips, native SC
Brian Gay (11/20)34T6 (2017)last top 25 after his 2009 win
Brian Harman (7/11)23T9 (2017)T23, MC, T28 followed
     
Branden Grace (5/5)23Win (2016)T7 debut ’15; T11 defense
Russell Knox (5/7)24T2 (2016)First four visits are the best four results; last three visits are worst three
     
OthersTop 10sTop 25sMost RecentRecent Others
     
Jim Furyk (15/21)810Win (2015)2010 winner; 2nd 2006;  MC  three times and T70 last four
Graeme McDowell (8/11)12Win (2013)T23 defense
Brandt Snedeker (11/15)15Win (2011)64 in 2018

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