2024 RBC Heritage Round 2 Data-Driven Pick: Bet Brian Harman Over Sungjae Im

2024 RBC Heritage Round 2 Data-Driven Pick: Bet Brian Harman Over Sungjae Im article feature image

(Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images) Pictured: Brian Harman.

Don't look now, but the unbeatable Scottie Scheffler is 26th on the leaderboard after Thursday. I know — it's shocking!

After each round, I like re-projecting a tournament to figure out where players shifted too far from their baseline expectations with their short-game metrics. I often find that to be the best blueprint for understanding where regression (positive and negative) will most likely hit throughout the event. 

As you will see below, a certain someone is lurking when given a "true" leaderboard calculation after day one, which only further convolutes the process in the outright market.

I am going to stand pat with my outright ticket on Russell Henley at 55/1 from pre-event and hope for him to continue this quality play, but here is one matchup for you to consider Friday.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user input to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

2024 RBC Heritage Round 2 Matchup Predictions

Brian Harman -107 over Sungjae Im (BetRivers)

On a scale of 1-10, we have a spot here with Brian Harman over Sungjae Im that probably lands at a five when we consider our advantage for round two Friday.

My sheet projected Harman to get by Im 55.75% (-126) of the time, which eclipsed the 51.69% (-107) output we got specifically at BetRivers for this head-to-head battle. 

Im's profile from a pre-tournament perspective is okay. Quality upside numbers and good course history demonstrated a golfer who has the prerequisites to succeed at Harbour Town because of his corollary success when given similar green complexes. However, that same return is popping to the forefront of the equation for Harman, even though he didn't realize that anticipated outcome in round one in quite the same fashion we got out of Im. 

The troubling answer when diving into all of the data stems from this recent outlook within my model that shows Im grading as one of the worst trending golfers compared to his baseline tee-to-green metrics after drifting from 25th inside of my two-year running model down to 53rd out of 69 players this week.

I get that this enormous +2.06 shot output from Im on the greens in round one is well within a plausible return, since his projected shift with his putter from 40th at any course to 15th at Harbour Town shows that positive trajectory that we love to see out of a golfer, but I just don't love the long-term view of what that means when it gets accompanied by a bottom-10 showing with your irons.

A lot of those struggles recently have come because of his lack of distance control, so while I do think Sungjae's ability to scramble and salvage a score is massively pronounced compared to others at this specific venue, it is hard to be overly encouraged when paired against a golfer who excels with the same area of his game and brings better form into the mix. 

My model thought Harman should have beaten Im by 1.45 strokes Thursday. The actual result landed with Harman winning by two, which makes this one of your classic regression spots at an enticing price.

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