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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS - RBC Heritage Course History

What is up PGA family? Well...that was fun! With the Charles Schwab Challenge in the books, golf is officially back. In a star-studded event that produced an elite leaderboard, it was the often-injured Daniel Berger that emerged victorious in a sudden-death playoff against young Collin Morikawa. Berger was once pegged as a rising star, but has battled a career-threatening wrist injury over the last couple of years. His game had shown signs in 2020 and his win at Colonial should help to put his career back on track. Berger's redemptive arc, coupled with some heartbreaking missed putts by a couple of my favorite young players - Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele - made the event feel like an emotional roller coaster for me personally. Wow.

We often (fairly) criticize the PGA Tour for several things, but they pulled off a great event at the Charles Schwab. My only nitpick is that this is what golf could be every week...the game's best players, all competing against each other on a great golf course. I know that every major star can't play every single week, but man, the game sure would sure be better if it happened a little more often! Luckily, we'll get another amazing field at this week's RBC Heritage. Let's dive in!

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!


RBC Heritage Overview

I'm so excited for this week! The Heritage is always one of my favorite tournaments of the year. My family used to take summer vacations to Hilton Head when I was a kid and I can remember always being amazed by the big Harbour Town Lighthouse at Sea Pines when I was a child. So maybe it's the nostalgia kicking in, but this tournament holds a special place in my heart.

Ok, enough about Nicely family vacations, let's talk golf. Like Colonial last week, Harbour Town represents one of the classic, unique layouts that remains on the PGA Tour's schedule every year. The Heritage is traditionally held the week after the Masters - which has helped give the event a rock-solid identity over the years - but its spot on the schedule can hurt in some ways, as there are plenty of stars who don't usually tee it up the week after the grind of Augusta National.

That won't be an issue this week, as we will see many of the same stars that turned up at Colonial last week at the Heritage, with players like Rory, JT, Brooks, and Bryson all slated to tee it up in Hilton Head this week, and Hideki Matsuyama also set to make his first post-layoff start. We've seen some random cats win this event in recent years, so literally anyone in the field can conquer this unique Harbour Town layout, though this is the strongest group of golfers that we've ever seen for the RBC Heritage. It's gonna be fun, let's tee it up!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: Harbour Town Golf Links

Par 71 - 7,099 Yards, Greens: Bermuda

This Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus beauty is one of the shortest layouts these pros will face all year. Its lack of length is a refreshing change of pace from the stretched-to-the-max layouts that we routinely see on the PGA Tour schedule. While it may lack length, Harbour Town is by no means a pushover. Very tight, tree-lined fairways often take drivers out of the players hands, forcing them to play strategically off the tee. In true Dye fashion, this is a second-shot golf course and players will be taking aim at miniscule greens that routinely grade-out as some of the toughest to hit on the PGA Tour schedule. These factors make me give almost no weight to the bombers this week and I'll instead be focusing on players that are precise off the tee and accurate on approach.

While it's an area that often goes overlooked, I'll also be giving weight to around the green ability this week. Harbour Town is slightly similar to Augusta National in that we often see the same players perform well here every year, while first-timers can struggle, so I'm giving an even bigger bump than normal to players with strong course history. While this Hilton Head classic is rather short by modern standards, it often keeps scores in check, with 12-under par taking home the win in each of the last two years.


Recent Champions & Winning Scores

2019: C.T. Pan (-12)

2018: Satoshi Kodaira (-12)

2017: Wesley Bryan (-13)

2016: Branden Grace (-9)

2015: Jim Furyk (-8)


The Horse

Bryson DeChambeau

DraftKings: $10,700
Notable Course History: MC ('19), T3 ('18), MC ('17), T4 ('16)

The “Thicc Boi”! Listen, I’m the first to admit that I was a doubter when Bryson started this whole “bulk up” thing, but he’s proving me very wrong, as he’s ran off four top-five finishes in his last four starts, including a T3 last week at Colonial. 

DeChambeau led the Schwab field in both Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and SG: Tee To Green, while also gaining an impressive 4.8 strokes with his irons. The crazy thing is, Colonial wasn’t even a layout that enabled him to take full advantage of his driver! 

That’s the argument that can be made against him this week at the Heritage, as Harbour Town will also take driver out of his hands for the most part. However, Bryson has had some success on the unique Hilton Head layout in the past, alternating a T3 and a T4 with missed cuts in four starts since 2016. So while his Heritage track record is a bit bipolar, he does have experience on this tricky course with some successful outings under his belt. That Harbour Town knowledge -  coupled with his ridiculous recent form - makes Bryson the DFS play with perhaps the most upside on the board this week, despite this layout looking like an ill fit for his power-based game at first glance.


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The Ponies

Justin Thomas

DraftKings: $10,900
Notable Course History: 75th ('16), T11 ('15)

Two fairly forgettable starts in a tournament since 2015 doesn't normally qualify a player for this article, but I'm gonna make an exception in JT's case due to most of the "elite" players in this field having ZERO course history at Harbour Town. So while Thomas isn't a Hilton Head regular, he should at least know what to expect on this unique layout where experience really matters.

Thomas was right in the thick of things last week at Colonial, before a pedestrian final-round 71 dropped him down the leaderboard. Those of you that watched the final round might have noticed that JT missed tons of birdie putts on the opening nine, but I like the fact that he was giving himself lots of looks. His iron play was superb all week at the Schwab, as he gained a MASSIVE seven strokes on approach - the second-best mark in the field. A sharp approach game will be paramount this week at Harbour Town with its tiny greens. We just need JT to make a few more putts.

It's early in the week, but I don't know that a "Stars & Scrubs" lineup build will be popular, as this - at first glance - looks like a "balanced build" type of salary scale. If you decide to take an aggressive approach, Thomas is right there with Bryson as my favorite "spend up" option.


Matt Kuchar

DraftKings: $8,300
FanDuel: $10,400
Notable Course History: 2nd ('19), T9 ('16), 5th ('15), Win ('14)

The Skechers-donning veteran killed a lot of lineups (including mine!) last week with a double-bogey on his final hole Friday that led to a brutal missed cut. Though Kuchar ripped me a new one at Colonial, I’ve tried to learn not to hold grudges when it comes to DFS, so I’ll be hopping right back on him this week at Harbour Town.

The 41-year-old has been a walking ATM at Hilton Head throughout his career. Kuchar won the Heritage in 2014 and has finished no worse than 23rd since, with a runner-up finish last year. His track record at Harbour Town makes me more willing to chalk last week’s disappointing effort up to a “knock the rust off” outing. 

It’s tough to let go of the anger from last week, but we’ll all be better PGA DFS players if we try to take emotion out of our decision making. So, while it’s kinda gross clicking Matty Boy’s name again this week, I’m willing to do it in this situation, especially when lots of DFS players will be reluctant to roster a player that burned them so badly last week.


Jason Kokrak

DraftKings: $7,900
FanDuel: $9,900
Notable Course History: T16 ('19), MC ('18), MC ('17), T6 ('16), T18 ('15)

It's always a dangerous game trying to ride the hot hand in PGA DFS. I suspect that Jason Kokrak's splashy final-round performance at Colonial will have lots of folks ready to roster him this week. His RBC Heritage record is similar to Bryson's DeChambeau's - some really strong performances with missed cuts mixed in. It's weird, because we typically think of Kokrak as a "bomber", but he's managed some good finishes at Harbour Town, one of the most "bomber proof" layouts on the PGA Tour schedule.

He definitely deserves consideration - at least in GPPs. He gained 5.2 strokes putting at the Schwab last week and that's not a performance that we can expect him to reproduce at Harbour Town. However, he also played very well from tee to green at Colonial, gaining 6.6 strokes T2G, en route to positive results in every major strokes gained category.

So what do we do with Kokrak this week? I'll probably let his ownership projections dictate my exposure to a certain extent...if it looks like he's going to be super chalky, I'll mostly fade him and hope for a "bad Kokrak" as a result of some expected putting regression. However, if it looks as though he's going a bit overlooked, I won't hesitate to roster him due to his intriguing upside. He's always a tough nut to crack from a DFS perspective and 99% of the time falls into the "GPP Only" category for me due to his volatility.

Branden Grace

DraftKings: $7,800
FanDuel: $10,200
Notable Course History: T61 ('19), T11 ('17), Win ('16), T7 ('15)

There was a time a few years ago, around 2015-17, that it seemed like Branden Grace was poised to be one of the game’s elite players. He made several deep runs in majors by recording multiple top-five finishes, and nabbed a breakthrough PGA Tour win in this week’s event. 

That 2016 RBC Heritage title remains Grace’s only win on the PGA Tour. His game has stalled out over the last few years and he’s never reached the level that his career trajectory seemed to indicate was possible. However, Grace has experienced a bit of a renaissance as of late, with a win at the South African Open in January and a top-10 outing at the WMPO on his 2020 resume. 

The South African played well at Colonial last week, remaining firmly in the mix until an underwhelming final-round 73 dropped him into a tie for 19th. He gained 3.3 strokes on approach at the Charles Schwab, in addition to looking good both on and around the greens. That his game seems to be popping as he heads to a Harbour Town layout where he’s found tremendous success throughout his career makes him a strong DFS consideration for me this week. I like his price better on DK compared to FD. 


Ian Poulter

DraftKings: $7,600
FanDuel: $9,400
Notable Course History: T10 ('19), T7 ('18), T11 ('17), T18 ('15)

The Englishman’s outfits aren’t quite as flashy as they used to be, but his game is as solid as ever. Poulter has looked sharp throughout the 2019-20 season and that steady play continued last week at Colonial en route to a T29.

Harbour Town is a natural fit for the veteran and his results in the Heritage reflect that, as he’s cracked the top 11 in each of his last three starts at Hilton Head. 

Poulter isn’t the type of player that’s ever going to blow us away statistically, but we know what we’re getting with him: lots of fairways, solid iron play, and a world-class short game. Those are the ingredients that lead to success on this Pete Dye layout and Poulter is a sensible fantasy option that often seems to go overlooked in fantasy formats.


Bud Cauley

DraftKings: $7,200
FanDuel: $8,800
Notable Course History: T39 ('19), T23 ('18), T9 ('17)

I’m not at all saying Bud Cauley is going to win the RBC Heritage this week, but there are some interesting similarities between him and last week’s winner Daniel Berger. Both were once pegged as “rising stars” and both have battled serious injuries during their young careers. Cauley’s most recent setback was a horrible car crash suffered during the 2018 Memorial tournament that left him with some very serious injuries. 

Cauley has quietly battled back from this latest setback in solid fashion. He’s put together a nice 2019-20 season, making the cut in nine of 12 starts with two top-10s. He recorded a nice T29 last week at Colonial and this week’s Harbour Town layout is another track that fits his style. Cauley currently stands 37th on the PGA Tour in SG: T2G and is buoyed by one of the best short games on Tour.

As we move down into the “value play” range, Cauley stands out as a strong DFS option at Harbour Town. He’s made three straight cuts at the Heritage, with a top-10 performance here in 2017. I like his course experience at this salary and - like Daniel Berger - he appears to finally have his once-promising career headed back in the right direction.

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