2021 RBC Heritage Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter The Most at Harbour Town?
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Si Woo Kim at the 2020 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Just a short two hour drive from Augusta National, the PGA TOUR heads to Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to play the 2021 RBC Heritage. Hilton Head Island is a golfer’s paradise and Harbour Town is one of the most beautiful and scenic courses on PGA TOUR.
Harbour Town Golf Links is a par 71 course measuring 7,121 yards and features Bermuda-grass greens. A Pete Dye design, the course is heavily tree lined and features small greens and many dog legs protecting it from “bomb and gauge” type golfers.
The field is very strong this week with 138 golfers, which may be partly attributed to many top European players sticking around with the PGA Championship being in the area next month.
Some notable golfers in the field are Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Casey, Webb Simpson and Daniel Berger.
Past Winners at Harbour Town
- 2020: Webb Simpson (-22)
- 2019: CT Pan (-12)
- 2018: Sotoshi Kodaira (-12)
- 2017: Wesley Bryan (-13)
- 2016: Branden Grace (-9)
- 2015: Jim Furyk (-18)
5 Key Stats For Harbour Town
Let’s take a look at five metrics key for Harbour Town Golf Links to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their past 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes gained: Approach is exceedingly important this week. The greens at Harbour Town are about half the size of PGA TOUR average and feature the second-smallest greens on PGA TOUR. Typical of a Pete Dye design, golfers will pay the price for missed greens.
Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Collin Morikawa (+31.4) (+1800)
- Charley Hoffman (+28.2) (+5000)
- Corey Conners (+24.6) (+3000)
- Cameron Davis (+22.2) (+7000)
- Will Zalatoris(+21.2) (+2800)
2. Fairways Gained
The fairways at Harbour Town are tree lined and feature many dog legs. Bombers tend to struggle at the course because it will force layups and not allow long drivers to overpower it. Accuracy is far more important than power this week.
Fairways Gained Over Past 24 Rounds
- Brian Stuard (+44.0) (+25000)
- Corey Conners (+43.1) (+3000)
- Brice Garnett (+42.0) (+20000)
- Ryan Moore (+40.0) (+15000)
- Sungjae Im (+38.4) (+3300)
3. Strokes Gained: Total at Pete Dye Designs
Pete Dye specialists tend to play very well at Harbour Town. Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson are all Pete Dye specialists who have had great success at Harbour Town. It is likely we see some more Pete Dye specialists near the top of the leader board this week.
SG: TOT Pete Dye per round over past 24 rounds:
- Brian Harman (+2.0) (+3300)
- Dustin Johnson (+1.9) (+4150)
- Abraham Ancer (+1.9) (+11000)
- Paul Casey (+1.7) (+2500)
- Webb Simpson (+1.7) (+1200)
4. Strokes Gained: Short Game (Bermuda)
Strokes gained: Short Game factors in both around the green and putting. With many green-side bunkers and tricky green complexes, both statistics will be important this week. Past winners such as Jim Furyk, Wes Bryan and Webb Simpson highlight how crucial the short game skill set is around Harbour Town.
SG: SG Over Past 24 Rounds
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+30.6) (+5000)
- Brendon Todd (+29.3) (+10000)
- Andrew Putnam (+25.0) (+12500)
- Adam Hadwin (+24.9) (+10000)
- Sungjae Im (+23.9) (+3300)
5. Greens in Regulation Gained
The recipe for success at Harbour Town Golf Links is hitting fairways and greens. Missing either will prove to be consequential, and golfers must be in total control of the golf ball to win here.
Greens in Regulation: Gained over past 24 rounds
- Corey Conners (+31.9) (+3000)
- Will Zalatoris (+29.0) (+3000)
- Dustin Johnson(+28.8) (+1000)
- Collin Morikawa (+28.4) (+1800)
- Matthew NeSmith (+27.0) (+15000)
The RBC Heritage Model Rankings
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (26%), Fairways Gained (20%), SG: SG (18%), SG: Pete Dye (18%) and GIR Gained (18%)
- Abraham Ancer (+2500)
- Corey Conners (+3000)
- Paul Casey (+2500)
- Jim Furyk (+20000)
- Webb Simpson (+1200)
- Daniel Berger (+2000)
- Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
- Russell Henley (+6600)
- Dustin Johnson (+1000)
- Kevin Streelman (+8000)
2021 RBC Heritage Best Bets
Paul Casey (+2500): In his past 24 rounds, Casey ranks sixth in the field in Greens in Regulations: Gained. The formula to win at Harbour Town is to keep the ball in the fairway and consistently find the green on approach shots.
Casey isn’t the longest golfer off of the tee, but that won’t have much of an impact this week. The Englishman thrives at Pete Dye tracks ranking fifth in the field in his past 24 rounds in Strokes Gained: Total on Dye designs. In addition to the tricky green complexes at Harbour Town, another potential factor is wind.
With fifteen victories on the European Tour, the veteran is no stranger to coastal windy conditions and that should give him an advantage if weather becomes an obstacle. Casey has been trending towards a win in 2021 and the RBC Heritage is an ideal fit for him to add a fourth win to his PGA TOUR resume.
Sergio Garcia (+3500): Garcia burned a lot of people last week at Augusta, myself included. However, all of the reasons I loved him last week still apply this week. His ball striking statistics were peaking prior to The Masters and he was playing some of the best golf since he got his green jacket in 2017.
In the 2020 RBC Heritage, Sergio finished in fifth place while gaining 13.9 strokes from tee to green and a whopping 9.9 strokes on approach. Garcia has some impressive history on Pete Dye designs in his career including a PLAYERS Championship victory (2008) and ranks 22nd in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye tracks.
Sergio also boasts a victory at the Wyndham Championship (2012), which can be looked at as a corollary course as a few notable players have had some crossover success including Webb Simpson and Si Woo Kim. For reasons unknown, Sergio can’t compete in major championships anymore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t back him at the RBC Heritage this week.
Si Woo Kim (+4000): Death, taxes and Si Woo Kim on Pete Dye tracks. Following an 18th-place finish at the Masters in 2018, Kim lost in a playoff at the RBC Heritage to Satoshi Kodaira. Coming off of a 12th at Augusta this year, Kim seems to be in a great position to contend at Harbour Town once again.
Going into Sunday at The Masters, the South Korean led the field Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and is clearly feeling very comfortable with his ball striking. Kim also comes with win equity as he has three wins on TOUR.
Shane Lowry (+4500): Lowry has quietly been playing some excellent golf of late. Coming off of a 21st place finish at The Masters where he was very good on approach, he seems to be trending towards contention.
Prior to the encouraging start at Augusta, he gained 3 strokes strokes on approach at THE PLAYERS and 1.9 at the Honda Classic. However, the real strength of his game in those events has been his around the green play; gaining 3.8 and 2.5 strokes respectively. With both approach and around the green being major factors at Harbour Town, Lowry fits the course well.
In addition to the proper skill set, Lowry also has shown he likes the course with a third-place finish in 2019. Watch out for him this week, especially if the coastal winds pick up on the exposed finishing stretch.
Lucas Glover (+10000): Glover is a longer shot with some eye-opening value this week considering his current form. The 41 year old veteran followed up a 19th place finish at the Honda with an extraordinary ball striking performance at The Valero Texas Open where he finished in solo fourth.
Glover was immaculate gaining an absurd 12 strokes tee to green which was the best measured statistical performance of his career. While putting is always a struggle for him, he has gained strokes around the green in three consecutive events, which could help him avoid costly bogeys with the flat stick. Fairways and greens in the recipe this week and few do that better than Lucas Glover when he is in peak form.