RBC Heritage Round 3 Betting Tips: Using Strokes Gained to Find an Edge

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Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau and Webb Simpson

Friday’s round was delayed due to weather, but the remaining 33 players were able to finish their rounds later this evening.

The cut finished at -4, which means Kevin Kisner, Rickie Fowler and some other big names will be going home.

There are still a bunch of longshots at the top of the board going into the weekend, although Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau were able to move into first and second, respectively, after excellent Friday rounds.

DeChambeau is knotted with Corey Conners, who continues his surprisingly solid play since the return from the COVID-19 layoff, while Ryan Palmer and Matthew Fitzpatrick are tied for fourth.

Let’s dive into Friday’s data and figure out who to buy and fade moving forward ahead of the weekend.


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Golfers to Buy, Fade in Round 3

Alright, we obviously have to start by talking about Webb, who put together one of the most ridiculous putting rounds you’ll ever see.

Looking at advanced metrics, he gained an absolutely stupid +6.01 strokes putting; again, you’ll rarely see numbers like that. He actually lost 2.13 strokes tee-to-green, so it’s incredible he was able to shoot 6-under.

The question, of course, is what to do about him moving forward into the weekend. I’ll admit I’m writing this as someone who is holding a pre-tournament ticket on him, but I’m not sure he’s a fade based on Friday’s data.

Sure, it’s concerning, but the dude has been hot before with the short stick, and he probably underperformed with the rest of the game. Even if his putting regresses a bit, if he gets back to Thursday form with his irons, he’ll be right there.

Bryson is perhaps the story in golf, and while I haven’t heard it in the public sphere, I’ll just go ahead and say it: This dude might be the World No. 1 in a year from now. I’m a little worried about the weight and swing long-term — he hits the hell out of the ball now — but in the short-term he might be the best player in the game right now … at any course.

He was second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green Friday; Jhonattan Vegas was first at +4.71 and put together an incredible 8-under round to get into fifth. Below them Friday were Tyler Duncan, Doc Redman, Sergio Garcia — a brilliant call by yours truly yesterday, if I do say so myself — and Conners.

Simpson was obviously heads and shoulders above the field in terms of SG: Putting, and next on the list were Harry Higgs, Maverick McNealy and Dylan Frittelli, all of whom will make the cut and play into the weekend. Those guys all lost strokes tee-to-green and are likely to fall back the next two days.

If I had to handicap the tournament — and I guess that’s my job here — I’d put the win probability in this order:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau
  2. Webb Simpson
  3. Brooks Koepka
  4. Ryan Palmer
  5. Matthew Fitzpatrick
  6. Corey Conners

Brooks looked his best since the layoff, but he’ll obviously really have to move in order to best Webb and Bryson at the top. Palmer is probably the sneaky guy here: He’s second in the field so far overall in SG: Tee-to-Green, only behind Sergio Garcia, who I fear is too far back at 7-under.

And that makes things interesting since Palmer is somehow all the way down at 28/1 at DraftKings to win. He’s in fourth with Matthew Fitzpatrick, just two shots back and striking the ball very well — that’s too far down. Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson are ahead in odds; those guys are obviously incredible, but that’s just not right given the data and leaderboard we currently have.

He’d be the guy to target in my opinion on outrights, and unfortunately I don’t think there’s much value left on Webb or Bryson at nearly 3/1. Brooks might be worth a look at 9-10/1, if you’re feeling frisky and think he’s getting back to form. And of course, I like identifying guys to buy and fade in matchups using Strokes Gained data you can see below.

Alright, enough talk. Here’s the data for all players for Friday.

Strokes Gained Data for Every Player in Round 2

(Note: The graph below is interactive. Click/hover to see data.)

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