This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links (7,099 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,278,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The field will be stacked again this week in South Carolina, as the vast majority of the players who teed it up in Fort Worth hopped on the PGA Tour's charter flight to Hilton Head Island. Harbour Town Golf Links has hosted the RBC Heritage every year since Arnold Palmer won the inaugural event in 1969. The Pete Dye design, with its extremely narrow tree-lined fairways and small greens, will force golfers to play much differently than they are accustomed to at other PGA Tour courses. This tournament is typically held the week after the Masters, which has impacted the field quality, so it will be exciting to see more of the best in the world attacking this unique challenge. The forecast looks ripe for scoring, with temperatures in the mid-80s and winds expected to be fairly benign.
Key Stats to Victory
Lately the RBC Heritage has taken on an international feel, with five of the last eight winners coming from outside the United States. Even more so than last week at Colonial, driving distance is pretty much irrelevant at Harbour Town. Even if you hit some fairways, it's no sure thing you will have a clean shot at the green. When you do put yourself in good position off the tee, the landing areas on the greens are some of the smallest we see all year on Tour. This kind of test really opens things up for every player in the field. This week I'm honing in on great iron players who also have a strong short game.
FanDuel Value Picks
Webb Simpson, ($11,400)
It was a rare off week for Simpson at Colonial, but that was the case for a number of the top players. I'm sticking with Simpson and hoping his MC last week leads to lower ownership this week. His game fits exactly what I'm looking for in a player at Harbour Town: Simpson ranks top-11 in both SG: Approach and GIR percentage, and is also top-15 in scrambling and one-putt percentage. The 34-year-old has six finishes of at least T16 in 10 career starts in this event.
Hideki Matsuyama, ($11,000)
Matsuyama elected to skip the CS Challenge and restart his season at Hilton Head. He was having a really strong campaign before the suspension of play, making 10-of-11 cuts and recording eight finishes of T16 or better. Matsuyama ranks ninth in SG: Approach and third in SG: Tee-to-Green, which really is not a surprise. It is his improved short game that is of note heading into this week, as he is gaining the seventh-most strokes around-the-green per round. If his putter is just average, Matsuyama will have a chance to take home the title.
Gary Woodland, ($10,500)
Woodland led the field at Colonial in SG: Approach and was T7 in scrambling. Long hitters are not typically who you go after at Harbour Town, but Woodland is one of the more accurate in that department, ranking 53rd in driving accuracy. He also is sitting top-10 this season in SG: Approach, GIR percentage, and scoring average. The former Kansas Jayhawk has six top-12 finishes this season, including three in a row. His wedge game and putting have taken him to the next level as a player the last two years.
Matt Kuchar, ($10,400)
Harbour Town is one of Kuchar's best courses on Tour. In 16 starts he has only missed one cut and owns 10 top-25's. The 2014 RBC Heritage Champion has finished T11-or-better in five of the last six years in this event. Kuchar is great at target golf and this season he also ranks seventh in SG: Putting. He's another player who missed the cut at Colonial, which should make his ownership slightly lower than expected.
Longer Shots with Value
Tyrrell Hatton, ($9,800)
I really think Hatton is a steal at just under $10,000. Over his last eight starts worldwide, Hatton finished top-20 in seven of them, including wins at the Turkish Airlines Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The long layoff might be a threat to his form, but the last time the Englishman took three months off from competition he went T6 in Mexico and followed that up with a win at Bay Hill. It's a small sample size but Hatton is currently leading the PGA Tour in SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-green, and SG: Total, not to mention he's 12th in SG: Around, ninth in GIR percentage, fourth in birdie average, and third in scoring average.
Ian Poulter, ($9,400)
Poulter finished T11-T7-T10 the last three years at Harbour Town, and could easily have added a win in there had it not been for final rounds of 73-75-73 in those starts. Quietly Poulter is 21st overall this season in SG: Total. He knows how to play this style of golf, and his short game and putting are in great shape. Poulter ranks top-20 in all of SG: Putting, sand save percentage, one-putt percentage, and putts per round this season.
Rory Sabbatini, ($8,900)
Sabbatini got his season back on track with a T14 at Colonial last week, which included four sub-70 rounds. This has been one of Sabbatini's better courses on Tour, as he has posted four top-10s and seven top-25s in 10 career starts. He gained over 5.5 strokes with the putter at Colonial, which was the fourth-most for the week.
Luke Donald, ($8,300)
If you're going to take a shot in the dark at Harbour Town, who better than Donald? The fact that he still hasn't won here is quite amazing when you look at his record. The former World No. 1 has five runner-up finishes and two other third-place efforts. And while he has only made five starts this season, Donald is currently 10th in SG: Approach and 15th in SG: Around-the-Green. With everyone still shaking off the rust from this three-month hiatus, this is the best time to go after someone like Donald, who has great course history, even if he does not have full PGA Tour status.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
For a course as unique as Harbour Town, I'm leaning toward avoiding some of the top dogs who normally skip this event and focusing on slightly-cheaper options to put together some very-balanced lineups. There's a lot of value between, say the $9,000 to $11,000 range, where many of the options have plenty experience on this course. I also think you need to avoid players who's highest strokes gained number is off the tee, as there just won't be a lot of strokes to gain with the driver. Other good value plays that have had success at Harbour Town include Brandt Snedeker, Brian Harman, Jim Furyk, and Graeme McDowell.