Paulie's Picks: 2018 RBC Heritage

This week, the Tour heads to Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage. Harbour Town is one of the most unique courses played all year. The landing areas off the tee are very small and claustrophobic. There is a big emphasis on placing your ball in the correct area off of the tee. On top of that, the greens are some of the smallest on the PGA Tour. Everyone in the field will be missing greens. Players who can miss in the correct spot and scramble will have the best chance to succeed.

DraftKings:

Kevin Kisner $8,700

Harbour Town is a perfect fit for Kisner. He drives the ball straight, can work the ball both ways and has an impeccable short game. Even though he is known as a short-hitter, he is able to gain an advantage off the tee at this track with his accuracy. Over his last four appearances at this event, he has gained over 12 shots off the tee. His best finish was a playoff loss to Jim Furyk in 2015. Interestingly enough, he has succeeded at other Pete Dye tracks (2015 playoff loss at TPC Sawgrass, 2018 runner-up at Austin CC, 2017 Zurich Classic playoff loss).

Adam Hadwin $8,100

Hadwin continues to trend in the correct direction. He now heads to a course that requires the same skill set as Innisbrook, where he was victorious last year. Hadwin played solid at Augusta. I look for him to build upon his 24th place finish and contend this week. Prior to Augusta, he had three straight top 12s in stroke play events. During that time, he gained over 16 shots on approach. He finished 22nd in this event last year while gaining over 7 shots on approach. However, he had his worst putting performance in the last 3 years. If he had putt at his long-term strokes gained average, he would have been in a playoff with Wesley Bryan.

One-and-Done

Luke Donald

Donald is your typical horse for a course. He has finished in the top three in seven of the last nine years!!! That’s enough evidence for me to consider playing Donald regardless of current form.

Matt Kuchar

When you think of plodding around a golf course and keeping the ball in play, Matt Kuchar often comes to mind. The 2014 RBC Heritage champion has finished in the top 11 the last four years. He comes into this event in solid but not spectacular form.

Webb Simpson

Webb has contended multiple times at this event. In 2013, he lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell. Last year, he faltered on Sunday and ended up finishing 11th. If he merely played the last 14 holes of the event at even par, he would have been in another playoff. Webb’s all-around game has been solid as of late. His short game has shown improvements, which should yield dividends this week.

Longshots:

Matthew Fitzpatrick (80-1 to win)

Fitzpatrick is a younger version of Luke Donald in my eyes. He is a short-hitter who has a great iron game paired with an impeccable short game. He has not had success at this event in the past, missing the last two cuts. However, I can’t ignore how good of a course fit this is for him. I’ll take a world class player at 80-1 all day. 

Charl Schwartzel (90-1 to win)

Schwartzel continues the theme of world-class players who seem to be undervalued here. Schwartzel has mentioned over the last few weeks that his game is turning around. At 90-1, I’ll take a shot to see if that is true.

Patton Kizzire (100-1 to win, 7-1 top 10)

How often can you get a player who has won twice on Tour in a year at 100-1? Both of those wins came on tracks that required accuracy off of the tee, oftentimes with less than driver (OHL Classic and Sony Open). Hmmm, that sounds awfully familiar to this week.

Austin Cook (100-1 to win,  7-1 top 10)

Cook’s game is predicated on keeping it in play and managing his way around the course. This course is one of the best fits on Tour for him. Even though this is Cook’s first appearance, he should be able to lean upon his caddie, Kip Henley, who caddied for Brian Gay during his 2009 victory.

Wesley Bryan (150-1 to win, 14-1 top 10)

I know the field is strong this year and that Bryan hasn’t been playing well, but I was utterly surprised to see the defending champion listed at 150-1. This price should drop to around 75-1 by Thursday. We featured him last year at 80/1 and rode the ticket to victory. Bryan, the South Carolina native, is very familiar with Harbour Town as he played a lot of junior golf there. He would stay in a place each year adjacent to the first tee when visiting Harbour Town. He is a great fit for this course as he is able to use his shotmaking and creativity to make his way around the course.

Davis Love (400-1 to win, 26-1 top 10)

Love has won here five times during his career. We have seen some of the older players on Tour have success this year. Let’s not forget, less than three years ago, he won on the PGA Tour. Maybe this is the place for Love to pick up a top ten and contend again?