The PGA Tour returns to South Carolina this week for the RBC Heritage, where Webb Simpson will attempt to successfully defend his crown ahead of a star-studded field at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Simpson set a new 72-hole scoring record in the last Heritage, firing a glorious Sunday 64 to edge Abraham Ancer by a single shot. The local lad is among the favourites to go all the way in the tournament’s latest iteration, however, our RBC Heritage predictions have lined up two more interesting alternatives.
RBC Heritage predictions and betting tips
RBC Heritage course guide and where to watch
Course: Harbour Town Links, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Where to watch: Live on Sky Sports Golf from noon on Thursday
Time difference: South Carolina is five hours behind the UK and Ireland
RBC Heritage winner prediction: Matthew Fitzpatrick at 25/1
Dustin Johnson has been out of sorts for a couple of months and only his biggest fans will be supporting him with hard-earned cash as favourite for the RBC Heritage. The South Carolina-born star is competing in his home state this week, but he has never managed to finish in the top 15 in five previous Heritage starts.
Given how badly the world number one has been performing – tailed off at The Concession and at Sawgrass, before a group-stage elimination in the WGC-Match Play and a missed cut by two shots in the Masters last week – the Heritage market leader can be readily opposed.
Strong preference at much bigger odds is for Matthew Fitzpatrick, who has been threatening a PGA Tour breakthrough all year and has the perfect set-up this week to show off his skills. Ever since his college days, Harbour Town has been one of Fitzpatrick’s favourite courses, and it plays to his strengths of accuracy from tee to green and sharp scrambling.
The Sheffield man got back to winning ways in the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour just before Christmas – form which he has carried into this year Stateside. Fifth place at Riviera was followed by 11th at The Concession, tenth at Bay Hill and ninth at Sawgrass. He thrashed Corey Conners and Matt Wolff at the Match Play, losing only to Jordan Spieth, then tied for 34th at Augusta last week.
RBC Heritage outsider prediction: Si Woo Kim at 40/1
Si Woo Kim can join Fitzpatrick on the Heritage leaderboard. Kim finished 12th in the Masters, despite breaking his putter on the 15th hole in round two, and the Korean youngster appears to be swinging with the same confidence he showed when winning The American Express in January. Kim lost a playoff for the 2018 Heritage title and is well capable of going one better on Sunday.
RBC Heritage first round leader prediction: Branden Grace at 66/1
The first-round-leader market always provides an opportunity for golf punters to get their week off to an amazing start – never mind waiting 72 holes for a return when you can enjoy a big-price winner after just 18 – and there is scope for success by supporting the morning starters in the RBC Heritage.
Rain is forecast for the afternoon groups, as well as an increase in wind speed, so players out early could get an advantage. A brief shower is forecast for 6am local time, softening up the greens nicely for a cloudy but clear 7am start, and the group of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Branden Grace and Matt Kuchar – teeing off at 8.06am local time, 1.06pm UK and Ireland – may make merry.
Grace, the 2016 Heritage champ, opened with a 66 that year and could prove the best first-round-leader value of all at juicy odds, having rediscovered his A-game in the last couple of months.
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