Hilton Head S.C.
For the tournament right after the Masters, there are a surprising number of heavy hitters playing this week at Harbour Town. While it is a short jaunt from Augusta, it’s a far cry from the type of golf course many players encountered at the ANGC. Harbour Town’s fairways are shorter and narrower and the greens are a lot smaller. The green speeds- although I can’t confirm this – just have to be a shade slower with fewer undulations than at Augusta.
As usual, I looked at which players have performed well historically at this tournament along with their current form. I also considered driving accuracy, greens hit in regulation and shots gained putting, and importantly, shots gained around the green.
Interestingly, Collin Morikawa’s metrics are all top-of-the-class with the exception of shots gained Around The Green (176). Because he ranks so highly in GIR, it brings to mind a quote from Jack Nicklaus when questioned about his poor scrambling technique. Jack said simply, “I don’t have to be good around the green” – mike drop.
Who should win? – Cameron Smith 16/1
Smith is anything but an accurate driver, but he had a top-ten last year, is one of the two or three hottest players at the moment, and has that rare combination of hitting a lot of greens and getting up and down when he doesn’t. Oh, and he’s also consistently one of the best putters in the world. The only reason he will not walk away with this title is the emotional fatigue he has to be feeling after his disappointing Masters Sunday.
Who could win? – Shane Lowry 22/1, Patrick Cantlay 20/1, Corey Conners 30/1, Billy Horschel 50/1, Collin Morikawa 12/1
Of these five players, I would be putting some dollars on Horschel. At his elevated odds, he could be in the longshot category but he has played this course well in the past, has had a succession of top-tens (Masters notwithstanding) and his key metrics are strong right across the board. Lowry is not strong around the green but he has been getting the job done lately and has come close a few times at Harbour town. Cantlay is another player who has had a good record at this event and ranks well in SG putting and around the green. He is probably right behind Smith as a player who “should” win. Morikawa has shown to be a player who can win any week on any course. He keeps the ball in play, hits a lot of greens, and continues to improve his putting. It would be no surprise to see him in the plaid jacket on Sunday. Conners also keeps the ball in the fairway and hits his share of greens, but it’s the putter that is keeping him from being a consistent winner on the Tour.
Who will win? – Adam Hadwin 50/1
I’m going way out on a limb on this one. There are three reasons I am picking this fellow Canadian to win the Heritage: 1. He has been putting up consistent top-ten results of late. 2. His key metrics are as good or better than anyone in the field. 3. He’s due for a win.