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Defending champ Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay highlight Harbour Town Horses

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Horses for Courses

Defending champ Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay highlight Harbour Town Horses

    The week following a major championship has evolved as the PGA TOUR and its schedule has changed over recent years. The RBC Heritage once again is the destination after the Masters, but for the 55th edition, there is a massive difference.

    Pete Dye's Harbour Town Golf Links, built in 1969, will welcome a field this season of 143 players, including 17 of the top 20 and 38 of the top 50 in the OWGR.

    Harbour Town has expanded slightly in recent years. The par-3 17th has added 19 yards over the last two seasons before settling at 205 from the back tee. For the 2022 edition, the two par-5 holes added yardage. No. 2 increased from 502 to 550 while No. 5 jumped just 20 yards to 569 yards. This year the par-3 seventh added 22 yards to push its total to 215 from the back tee. The scorecard will read par 71 (36-35), tipping at 7,213 yards, but just a difference of 114 yards from 2019.

    The increased yardage on the par-5 holes didn't bother 2022 champion Jordan Spieth (+2000) as he returned for the first time since June 2020. Co-leading the field in par-5 scoring last year, the Texan, who has never missed in six tries, added his fourth T12 or better attempts. From 24 rounds here 13 have posted in the 60s, including 62 in Round 2 in his magical 2015 season. Scoring average sits at 69.67.

    Patrick Cantlay (+1200) has done everything at Harbour Town but don the tartan jacket at the end of 72 holes. In five previous visits, he's racked up a pair of T3, nothing worse than T7, and fell just short to Spieth in a playoff last year. Of 18 rounds played, seven have posted 67 or better and his scoring average is 68.61. Just two of those rounds are over par and both are just 72. Of the eight weekend rounds played, the worst score is 70 twice. His MC was 71-71, even par.

    A winner here in 2014, Matt Kuchar (+4000) looks to continue his incredible run. After MC on debut in 2003, the former low amateur at the Masters has rattled off 18 straight weekends in the last 18 years. Cashing T23 or better in eight of the last nine, only T41 in June of 2020 (COVID-19) is the outlier. Of his last 20 rounds, 19 are in the red and have resulted in T3-T18-T41 and solo second. His scoring average after 74 rounds is 69.73.

    Irish links master Shane Lowry (+3000) is looking to make it three top 10s from his last three visits and four from his last five. If you're looking for a first-round leader play, he's opened 66 or 65 in three of his five visits. Leading after 36 holes in 2019 he cashed T3. Last year he sat just one back of the 54-hole lead before taking home a share of third-place money again. A third of his 18 rounds are 65 or 66 and his career scoring average is 69.00.

    While JT Poston (+6000) may have grown up in North Carolina, he's enjoyed his golf on the Calibogue Sound of South Carolina. Over the last four years, he's 38 under (and that includes a MC in 2021). After cashing T6 on debut, he followed with T8 in June and closed 68-64 last year for T3. Of his 14 rounds, NINE have gone for 68 or better leaving him with a 68.29 scoring average.

    Oddsmaker's Extra

    (events/cuts made, odds)

    Webb Simpson (12/13; +10000): 2020 champion from the June edition. Cashed in 12 straight with a streak of five straight T16 or better busted last year with T59. Also lost a playoff here in 2013.

    Cameron Young (1/1; +2000): Opened with 63 to lead after Round 1. Closed with 66 in Round 4 to hit the podium.

    Corey Conners (3/6; +4500): After MC in his first three he's now 36-under over the last three editions. T21 in 2020 was highlighted by 63 in Round 2. Opened 67-64 in 2021 before claiming T4. Opened with 66 last year en route to T12.

    Cam Davis (2/2; +12500): Blazed home with 67-63 last year to share third. T25 on debut in 2021 included four rounds of 70 or better.

    Sepp Straka (3/3; +12500): Closed 67-68 for T3, best of his three visits, last year. Posted six of 12 rounds 67 or better.

    Maverick McNealy (3/3; +12500): Never opened with a round under par but six of his 12 total rounds are 67 or better. T4 in 2021 followed by T26 in 2022.

    Erik van Rooyen (2/2; +25000): Eight rounds, all 70 or better with six playing in the 60s. T10 last year after T21 2021 debut.

    Tommy Fleetwood (2/3; +5500): T10-MC-T25. Posted rounds of 64 and 65 here in two different events. Of 10 rounds, nine are par or better.

    Seamus Power (1/1; +9000): T6 on 2019 debut. Won earlier this season the seaside links of Bermuda.

    As you will see below, there are a few big-time players who only have played the COVID-19 edition in June 2020. The conditions that week were unbelievably calm and seasonably warm. That's not always the case in mid-April!

    How the Top 20 OWGR have fared:

    OWGR Ranking/PlayerCuts Made/StartsOddsNotes
    01 Jon Rahm1/1+850T33 June edition.
    02 Scottie Schefflernone+750Debut.
    04 Patrick Cantlay4/5+1200Top seven paydays in four of five.
    06 Xander Schauffele3/3+2500T32 on debut in 2018 followed by T63, T64; DNS last two years.
    07 Max Homa1/1+2500T41 June edition.
    09 Viktor Hovland1/1+2200T21 June edition.
    10 Sam Burns2/3+3500Solo 9th on debut 2019; T39 2021 last visit.
    11 Collin Morikawa3/3+1800T7 2021 is the highlight. T26 2022. T64 2020.
    12 Justin Thomas4/4+2500T8 2020 only top 10; T11 debut 2015. T35 2022.
    13 Cameron Young1/1+2000T3 2022 after 63 to open, 66 to close.
    14 Tony Finau2/3+2500T33 2020; T39 2016.
    15 Jordan Spieth6/6+20002022 champion; T9 debut 2013.
    16 Matt Fitzpatrick5/8+2800T4 2021; MC 2022.
    17 Sungjae Im2/4+2500T21-T13 last two years.
    18 Tyrrell Hatton4/5+4500T4 2020 June; T26 next best.
    19 Tom Kimnone+3500Debut.
    20 Kurt Kitayamanone+12500Debut.
    17 Tyrrell Hatton4/6+4000T18 2021 only top 25; well-documented criticism of course in 2022.
    18 Sungjae Im2/3+3300T2 debut 2020; T8 2022; 77-80 MC 2021.
    19 Tom Kimfirst app+8000
    20 Kurt Kitayamafirst app+12500

    -Odds courtesy of BETMGM.COM-

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