Following what was yet another memorable Masters, it’s back to the cut and thrust of the PGA Tour. This week we’re in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where the RBC Heritage takes place at the beautiful Harbour Town Golf Links.
RBC Heritage General Information:
- Date: April 14 – April 17, 2022
- TV-Time: Golf Channel 3:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Harbour Town Golf Links
- Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Prize Money: $6,000,000 ($1,125,000 1st Place)
- Winner last year: Stewart Cink
- Our expert picksPick #1Shane Lowry Top Ten FinishBest odds+275Units: 3/10Additional PickKevin Kisner Top Ten FinishBest odds+500Units: 2/10Additional PickJoaquin Niemann Top Ten FinishBest odds+350Units: 2/10
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
The calm after the storm, and what a storm it was, as Scottie Scheffler continued to prove why he’s the new world number one, winning his first Major on golf’s most hallowed turf. Now comes the post-major blues, though fans need not be down for too long.
It may not have the glitz and glamour of the Masters, but the RBC Heritage is a fine tournament in its own right, so get ready for some more excellent golf. Like Augusta National, Harbour Town is an iconic course, one that has paved the way for some of the game’s finest players to stride to victory.
As is always the case after the first big one of the season, the field has a few gaps when it comes to those players who occupy the highest places according to the Official World Golf Rankings, but there’s still plenty of big-name entries. Man of the moment Scheffler won’t be involved, nor will Jon Rahm, who has slipped to number three in the rankings. Top-ten players will feature, in the form of Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and world number two Collin Morikawa. Other notable inclusions are the rapidly improving Joaquin Niemann, who is now up to 15 in the rankings, and Shane Lowry, now ranked 30th after his third-place finish at Augusta.
The course at Harbour Town, designed by the one and only Pete Dye, is on the short side, but don’t think it can be easily dominated, as what it lacks in distance it makes up for in tight, firm Bermuda grass greens which can be tricky to hit. It’s reasonably imperative that players gain strokes both on approach and with the putter, with those categories consistently coming out as the most critical, with the last five winners finishing the week in average position of seventh for strokes gained: approach, and 12th for strokes gained: putting.
Expert Pick #1 – Shane Lowry Top 10 Finish @+275
From a strokes gained perspective, nobody really arrives here in better form than Shane Lowry, who across his last eight events ranks as the number one player for strokes gained: total, ranking first for strokes gained: tee-to-green, third for strokes gained: putting, and fifth for strokes gained: approach. Such stats simply cannot be ignored, thus I’m expecting a standout effort from the Irishman this week. After all, he arrives here off the back of what was arguably his best finish since winning the Open Championship back in 2019.
Fedex Cup Rank: 29 | Fedex Cup Points: 616 | OWGR: 30
Expert Pick #2 – Kevin Kisner Top 10 Finish @+500
Kevin Kisner is another player who stands out as someone with solid top-ten claims this week. Sure, he only finished 44th at Augusta, but such an effort at a venue where he’s openly admitted to having no chance of winning shows that his game is in great condition at present.
It’s also worth noting that Kisner is something of a short course specialist. A superb putter, the four-time PGA Tour winner also has a preference for Bermuda grass greens, with three of his wins coming on putting surfaces that feature Bermuda grass. Add in that the world number 27 has two previous top-tens at this venue and he starts to make serious appeal at odds of +500. Let’s not also forget that this is a man with numerous strong efforts on shorter Pete Dye tracks, with multiple top-five finishes at TPC Sawgrass, a fifth at TPC Louisiana and a fifth at TPC River Highland under his belt.
Fedex Cup Rank: 20| Fedex Cup Points: 766 | OWGR: 27
Expert Pick #3 – Joaquin Niemann Top 10 Finish @+350
At the odds available right now, for my money, it’s impossible not to bet Joaquin Niemann to hit the top ten this week. The Chilean is enjoying a fantastic campaign, and it seems as though his game is going from strength to strength as each week passes. His 69 when paired with Tiger Woods on the opening day at the Masters showcased his quality, and sure, he faded to finish T35, but don’t be discouraged by that.
Niemann has coastal form in the book, finishing second and fifth at Kapalua in 2021 and 2020, fifth at El Camaleon in 2021, he won at Old White back in 2019, while in 2018, he finished fifth at this tournament, his only appearance at Harbour Town to date. As the sixth best player in tour right now from a strokes gained: tee-to-green perspective, the 23-year-old ticks lots of boxes, one of which being that he’s already shown a fondness for tournaments that tend to be low-scoring, as we saw when he ran away with proceedings at Riviera earlier this season.
Fedex Cup Rank: 12| Fedex Cup Points: 871| OWGR: 15
2022 RBC Heritage Odds
*Odds as of Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. ET
2022 RBC Heritage Additional Picks
One player to finish top-five.
DJ is on his way back to the PGA Tour winners enclosure, that’s for sure, and it would be little surprise if he earned what would be 25th PGA Tour victory this week. One of very few who handled Augusta at its toughest last week, finishing in a very respectable tie for 12th, the South Carolina man has his game in good shape right now, plus in recent years, he’s performed as though this is a venue where he could seriously challenge, finishing inside the top 20 in each of the last two seasons. After some solid performances of late, don’t be surprised if DJ’s name is up there come Sunday.
One player to finish top-10.
Kevin Streelman (+900)
At chunky odds, Kevin Streelman rates as a great alternative to the three Top 10 plays above. The 43-year-old arrives here in good form having made the cut in each of his last three events, finishing T22, T7 and T18. What’s more, he likes this tournament, finishing T3 back in 2013, an effort that was backed up by T7 and T6 finishes in 2018 and 2019.
One player to finish top-20.
Kevin Na (+250)
Na did the business for us last week at Augusta, finishing T14 when selected to make the top 20, and he looks like another viable top-20 bet this time around. Over the years, Harbour Town has been a happy hunting ground for the five-time PGA Tour winner, who has five top-ten finishes at this tournament to his name. Don’t be surprised if he does well this week after playing some of his best golf for a while at the Masters last week.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Shane Lowry (+400)
As alluded to above, Shane Lowry is on his way to another PGA Tour success. The Irishman is in excellent form and a big performance is expected this week. Part of that big performance should be a fast start. At this venue, Lowry has held the lead once after round one, while he’s also been in the top five in two of his other three appearances at Harbour Town.
The Big Hero
Underdog with chances to win.
Matt Kuchar (+400)
Matt Kuchar would be a hugely popular winner of any event, make no mistake about that. Now in the twilight of his career, regular challenges for the lead on Sunday are few and far between, but the 43-year-old delivered his best effort for a while last time out at the Valero Texas Open, finishing tied for second, while he knows how to play well at Harbour Town, having won here in 2014. And let’s face it, after veteran Stewark Cink won here last season, anything is possible, so don’t rule out shouts of “Kuuuuch” from the crowds on Sunday afternoon.
Big hitting isn’t required at Harbour Town this week, but precise approach and clinical work with the flatstick will be required. Lots of players come into this week with course form, while many of those arrive here off the back of strong recent efforts. The likes of Shane Lowry, Kevin Kisner and Joaquin Niemann are three players with form at this venue, all of whom have had something to shout about of late.