The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and other industry metrics to highlight notable golfers.
Welcome to the house that Luke Donald attempted to build on several occasions only to come up a few bricks short every time. From 2011 to 2017, Donald finished second here 5 times. Davis Love III has won at Harbour Town five times so technically it’s the house that DL3 built. Of course, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Hale Irwin, Fuzzy Zoeller, and hell — even Boo Weekley have won here multiple times so it’s without a doubt a course that fits certain players really well.
So is it a course history (GASP!) course? I’d say, more so than most other PGA venues. It also usually is played the week after The Masters so a lot of the huge names take the week off for Harbour Town. Not in the COVID-infected PGA TOUR season of 2020 though, so it will be interesting to see how the course history players and the big dogs showing up for the first time — names like Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, John Rahm, and Rory McIlroy — fare against one another.
What we do know is that it’s a shorter, Pete Dye track with Bermuda greens (cue up the Keith Mitchell) that will take the driver out of play on a lot of holes, and players positioning off the tee and angle to the green will often times be much more important than how far they bomb it.
Tough approach shots and smaller, difficult to hit greens typically mean that Greens In Regulation (GIR) and Scrambling (SC) will be keys for players who end up hanging around until Sunday.
Key metrics: GIR, SC, Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score), LT Birdies, Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP) , and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (AG: ARG).
DFS Breakdown for 2020 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
I used the key metrics mentioned above to quickly make a Fantasy Labs model and here are some if its top-rated players.
Rory McIlroy ($10,400 DraftKings; $12,200 FanDuel) is the model’s top-rated player thanks in part to his field-leading 67.6 LT Adj Rd Score and his 64 LT SC percentage which ties him for eighth in the field. McIlroy’s 17.4 LT Birdie Avg is second in this week’s field to only Collin Morikawa who is the same model’s second rated player. McIlroy’s current 44,4 percent Odds to Top10 top the Labs model and his 1.008 SG; APP ranks sixth overall in 2020 per the data provided by the PGA Tour.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,200 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel) hasn’t played since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, where he finished 56th and in his last appearance at Harbour Town he missed the cut (2014). Matsuyama’s 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score is tied for fourth, his 16.7 LT Birdie Avg ranks fifth, and his 63.5 LT SC percentage is tied for 11th in this week’s field. Hideki’s .549 average SG: ARG rank 7th this season on the PGA Tour.
Jon Rahm ($9,800 DrafKings, $11,700 FanDuel) flamed out at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge and missed the cut. The last time Rahm missed a cut at the Charles Schwab, he went on to finish 3rd at the U.S. Open in his next start and the last time Rahm missed a cut period (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship), he posted back-to-back victories in his next two starts at the Open de Espana and DP World Tour Championship. Rahm’s 68 LT Adj Rd Score is second overall and his 17.3 LT Birdie Avg ranks third.
Other Model Plays: Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Bryson Dechambeau, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Sungjae Im
For these players, I created a model that heavily weights Course Adjusted Round Score and incorporates a little bit of LT GIR, SC, and Bird.
Since 2014 at Harbour Town, Matt Kuchar ($8,300 DraftKings; $10,400 FanDuel) has won, finished as the runner-up (last season), bagged a top-5, finished 9th, 11th, and all the way down to 23rd Kuchar’s 67.5 Course Adj Rd Score is tops amongst anyone with more than one start at Harbour Town. Tread cautiously into these waters as Kuchar’s iron game has been pretty awful this season, ranking 99th on tour with only 2.170 total SG: approach accumulated in 23 measured rounds. If the early returns on the Fanshare Buzz Score and Sentiment Rating are any indication, Kuuuuuuuch is likely to be heavily owned this week.
Ian Poulter ($7,600 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel) was never in contention at Colonial last week but he did stick around for the weekend and shot 66 on Thursday with a 67 on Saturday so his game seems to be in OK shape. Poulter has finishes of 11th, 10th, and 7th at the RBC Heritage the last three years and his 68.5 Course Adj Rd Score is second to only Kuchar among players with more than one start here.
Others: Luke Donald, Branden Grace, Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak ($7,900 DraftKings, $9,900 FanDuel) was en fuego over the weekend (65, 64) so he’s likely showing up to the RBC Heritage in good spirits after slamming in 21 birdies at Colonial. Kokrak’s 69.3 LT Adj Rd Score, 62.2 LT SC percentage, and 14.5 LT Birdie Avg are all more than respectable in this field.
JT Poston ($7,500 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) is coming off a top-10 finish at Colonial last week thanks to four rounds of 68 or better and finished sixth in his debut ar Harbour Town last year. Poston checks in with a solid 69.5 LT Adj Rd Score and 62.3 SC percentage — his 13.8 LT Birdie Avg leaves some room for improvement but he did manage to roll in 16 last week.
Corey Conners ($7,400 DraftKings; $9,000 FanDuel) ranks second in the field with a 72.5 GIR percentage and he shot three rounds of 67 or better last week on his way to a top-20 finish.
One more cat to consider as a cheap, low-owned GPP play has got to be Russell Knox ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel) who missed the cut both last week and at this tournament last year but his 68.7 is tied for eighth among players with more than two starts here and his 70 percent LT GIR ranks seventh in the field.