This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links (7,099 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,278,00 and 500 FedExCup points
After a high stress week at the Masters, there's really no better place for players to come to decompress than Hilton Head. Many of the top players in the world got a taste of Harbour Town last summer due to it being the second event in the return from the COVID-19 break and that has in turn resulted in a very strong field in the traditional April slot. Over 40 players who teed it up at Augusta will in the field this week including South Carolina native and No. 1 ranked player in the world Dustin Johnson. Webb Simpson will be back to defend his title after setting the all-time scoring record last June at 22-under-par. Will Zalatoris is also part of the field after his sensational first-time showing at the Masters that resulted in a runner-up finish. All together 13 of the top-25 in the OWGR will tee it up at this historic Pete Dye design. Harbout Town Golf Club really is a much different style course than we traditionally see these days on the PGA Tour. Length is pretty irrelevant and the keys are much more about setting yourself up with good angles. We should get the traditional ocean wind gusts this week that protect this course. The biggest threat of precipitation will be on Thursday and Saturday, which may soften the course up and allow for better scoring, which is what we saw last June. Over the last 10 years at Hilton Head we have seen American's and International's split the trophies with five a piece.
2020 – Webb Simpson
2019 – C.T. Pan
2018 – Satoshi Kodaira
2017 – Wesley Bryan
2016 – Branden Grace
2015 – Jim Furyk
2014 – Matt Kuchar
2013 – Graeme McDowell
2012 – Carl Pettersson
2011 – Brandt Snedeker
2010 – Jim Furyk
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- Driving Accuracy
Harbour Town is a precision course that is suited towards accurate ball-strikers. This is one of the only courses where you can be in the fairway, but have no shot towards the flagstick because of overhanging branches. It's all about angles off the tee to be able to set yourself up to attack these small greens. Expected precipitation should soften the putting surfaces up somewhat to be more receptive, but it should play firmer that what players experienced last June. The rough at Harbour Town, much like last week at Augusta, is almost non-existent. Avoiding the big miss will be important, because one bad bounce into the dense trees that surround a majority of these fairways could lead to a quick double-bogey or worse. The bermuda greens will be prepped to run around 12.5 on the stimpmeter. Due to the small size of the greens, putting numbers should take a backseat to approach play. Scrambling will also be an important factor, as players will face a myriad of different shots around these greens that can challenge even the best short game players in the world. If you're in control of your ball, you can put up a bunch of birdies, but if you're off by just a little you can routinely find yourself with some very difficult shots.
FanDuel Value Picks
Webb Simpson ($11,800)
When you think about players who would be perfect for Harbour Town, not many should cross your mind before Webb Simpson. He's deadly accurate both off the tee and with his irons, and this season he ranks eighth in SG: Around-the-green, first in scrambling, and 13th in SG: Putting. It's no surprise that he was finally able to get that victory here last year which is one of seven top-16 finishes in 11 career starts.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,600)
Yeah he had a very disappointing performance at the Masters last week, but where better for the UCLA product to bounce back? In three career starts he has gone T3-T7-T3 at Harbour Town with a 68.50 scoring average. Cantlay is eighth in SG: Tee-to-green this season and ranks top-seven in both SG: Around-the-green and scrambling. He has eight top-20's in 12 starts this season.
Corey Conners ($10,600)
Conners is arguably the best ball-striker in golf right now and there's no reason to quit riding him this week. He has four top-15 finishes in his last five starts, including a T8 at the Masters last week. The Canadian's putting continues to show improvements and he's top-15 on Tour this season in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-green, SG: Total, driving accuracy, GIR percentage, and scoring average. Conners also scored a top-25 at Harbour Town last summer.
Brian Harman ($10,200)
Harman is playing some of his best golf in years right now. Over his last three starts he has gone T3 at the PLAYERS, T5 and the WGC-Match Play, and T12 at the Masters. That is some pretty impressive play at some very big events. Harman's putting is very strong again this season, ranking top-25 in SG: Putting, putts per round, and three-putt avoidance. He is also historically a very accurate player off the tee despite his lack of distance, which will play at Harbour Town. Harman has a pair of top-10's and four top-30's here since 2014.
Longer Shots with Value
Charley Hoffman ($9,700)
Only a handful of players are hitting the ball better right now than Hoffman. It's been a real resurgence for the 44-year-old who has four top-20 finishes in his last six starts, including a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open. Hoffman ranks top-30 on Tour in SG: Off-the-tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-green, SG: Total, scrambling, and scoring average. He's 8-for-11 with a pair of top-10's and four top-25's in his career at Hilton Head.
Matt Kuchar ($9,600)
Harbour Town is arguably Kuchar's best course. In 17 starts he has missed just one cut with six top-10's and 10 top-25's. His chip-in from the bunker on 18 back in 2014 gave him his lone victory here. It definitely wasn't the start to the season the 42-year-old wanted, but he is starting to find his stride with a third place showing at the match play and a T12 at the Valero Texas Open. Kuchar has historically been one of the most accurate players off the tee and has had one of the tidiest short games throughout his career.
Russell Henley ($9,400)
He's had some mixed results at Harbour Town with four missed cuts against a trio of top-26's, but this season on paper he looks to be primed for a good result. Henley ranks sixth in SG: Approach, eighth in GIR percentage, seventh in proximity to the hole, and fifth in scrambling percentage. Not many might realize this, but Henley actually leads the Tour in scoring average at 69.70. To get the current Vardon Trophy leader at just $9,400 this week seems like a no brainer.
J.T. Poston ($8,700)
It hasn't been the season Poston was probably hoping for, but if there's anywhere he can turn it around it's Harbour Town. The 27-year-old has gone T6-T8 in two appearances with a scoring average of 67.75. Poston's putter is an elite weapon if he can find the putting surface enough. He's finished inside the top-30 in four of his last seven starts. Poston is an interesting option to complete a lineup with.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
The biggest thing I'd keep in mind this week is not to overreact to players that had a poor performance at the Masters. Historically, the players who finish near the top of the leaderboard here did not have a great finish at Augusta the prior week. I'd also be careful with Will Zalatoris this week considering the high he was on last week during his coming out to the world with his solo second at the Masters. Harbour Town is definitely a ball-strikers course, but the small greens and tricky areas around them put added emphasis on short game play. Players that are rated high in both approach play and scrambling numbers are probably where you want to go this week. Some other long shots that are interesting plays this week are Doug Ghim ($8,500), Doc Redman ($8,100), Jim Furyk ($8,000), and Chase Seiffert ($7,900).