So with the first major of the 2013 season in the books, it’s time to move on and resume “business as usual” as we look ahead to this week at the RBC Heritage. On a personal note the Masters was both exciting and extremely frustrating, with a win looking likely for almost the whole week. The week started off with Dustin Johnson one off the lead after round 1, before crumbling in round 2. Round 2 however saw Brandt Snedeker step up the chase and sneak into a tie for 4th, just two behind round 2 leader Jason Day. He then shot -3 in the 3rd round to go joint-leader with Angel Cabrera at -7, meaning he would be teeing off in the final grouping of the final round. This is however as far as it went, Snedeker went on to shoot +3 on the day even after birdieing the very first hole to get to -8. We missed out on a place by one shot, after Snedeker bogeyed the final hole and joined Thorbjorn Olesen in a tie for 6th. In terms of my other tips the results were equally frustrating, Webb Simpson had already missed the cut, Luke Donald never got going, finishing T25, whilst Dustin Johnson recovered on the last day to finish in a tie for 13th. The most surprising result of all was Keegan Bradley who shot a third round 82 to seal his fate finishing in a tie for T54, he didn’t look like being involved all week and attacking the pins in the 3rd round cost him dearly.
Enough of last week, a bitter pill to swallow but we do have two tournaments coming up this week in order to rectify that situation, starting in Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. We are back at a regular PGA Tour event this week, the RBC Heritage is the second of only five tournaments that have been given invitational status by the PGA Tour meaning the field is limited to 132 players, rather than 156. There are two multiple winners in the field this week, Stewart Cink (2000,2004) and Boo Weekley (2007,2008) both winning here on two occasions. Other previous champions in the field in 2013 include, Carl Pettersson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Brian Gay (2009), Aaron Baddeley (2006) and Justin Leonard (2002). Both Cink and Weekley have shown form recently, with Cink posting two top 10s with a T10 at the Humana Challenge and more recently T6 at the Shell Houston Open. Weekley has had similar form with two top 10s, 8th at the Puerto Rico and 2nd a week later at the Tampa Bay Championship losing out to Kevin Streelman by two shots. Each of the previous winners here have posted some good results so far this season and they will all be looking to go well again here this week.
The Course: Harbour Town is the venue this week, a course designed by top course designer Pete Dye with the help of the great Jack Nicklaus. Harbour Town is located in Hilton Head, South Carolina and spans over 7,101 yards, the par 71 has often been known to be one of the tougher courses to play. Despite Harbour Town being one of the shortest layouts on tour in recent times, there are only 26 players to break 70 in all four rounds over a single week in the tournaments 44 year existence. The last time this was done was in 2010 when the two players meeting in a play-off Jim Furyk and Brain Davis both managed to do achieve this. Brian Gay holds the 72-hole record shooting 264 in 2009, the single round record still being 61, which was shot in 1994 by David Frost. For 19 consecutive years the defending champion has never missed the cut, the last player to do this was Davis Love III in 1993.
Defending Champion: Carl Pettersson won in 2012 with a 5-shot victory over the next nearest challenger Zach Johnson. This was Pettersson’s latest of his five PGA Tour victories breaking a stint of two years without a victory. A big part of Pettersson’s victory was down to his 2nd round 65, backed up with a 66 in round 3, Pettersson shot 69.44% of Greens in Regulation and was -10 through the par 4s on the week. Apart from his 8th in week 1 and his T21 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Carl’s form has been very infrequent of late and +16 at Augusta will not of helped matters. Although his major form shouldn’t be a factor this week his lack of top finishes this season are very worrying and Pettersson will need to step it up a notch in order to retain his title here. His last 3 results here are 1st, T30 and T35 so he has reasonable form to speak of. Pettersson is 70/1 with StanJames and offers value to anyone who thinks he can recapture his form at a course he has previously played well at.
So to summarise in the last ten years there have been eight different winners of this event and although there are a few multiple winners, the tournament still seems wide open for the taking and many players will fancy their chances of winning. With ten of the top eleven market leaders all playing at Augusta last week, you would think value could be found in the form of players who had time to rest last week. There is not much to separate the top-4 in the betting with Brandt Snedeker coming in a 14/1, closely followed Luke Donald at 16/1, just a bit shorter than both Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar, both available at 18/1. I am slightly apprehensive about how the players that played at Augusta last week will play and some bigger prices have certainly caught my eye this week. Of course you cannot rule out some of the worlds top players any week and with three of the top 10 players in the world it is one of those weeks where these players are hard to ignore. Hopefully I can find the best value for you, and get back on track in terms of profit for the season.
Jason Day 25/1 (General) 2pts e/w: Day has just, for the second time come in the top-5 at the Masters, finishing 3rd behind winner Adam Scott and runner-up Angel Cabrera. Day is one of the players that many will wonder if the Masters hangover will be too much and at 25/1 I am willing to take a risk that it’s not. Normally after a major Day tends to take a fortnight or more off before playing again, but often does well at these events directly after a major championship. After withdrawing from last years Masters, Day came T9 in his next event, the Wells Fargo Championship. Later that year his next tournament after the U.S Open, Day finished T8 and after the PGA Championship he came T24 at The Barclays. In 2011 after coming 2nd at the Masters, Day finished T9 at the Heritage, his last attempt at Harbour Town. Of course the time scale is much shorter this time round, being it the following week but Day already has 4 top-10s this season including his 3rd last week at Augusta and hopefully he can continue this form. Coming in the top-10 on his last visit was an encouraging sign and with him being one of the bigger prices of the “Masters hangover” group I felt he should be included.
Billy Horschel 50/1 (StanJames) 1pt e/w: Billy Horshcel is playing his best golf of the season right now, and I fully expect it to continue here. His last two results on Tour are T3 at the Valero Texas Open and T2 at the Shell Houston Open, both including some of the best players on the PGA Tour in the field. Horschel has made all 10 of his cuts this season and his worst result came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he came 75th, just one place of the bottom of those that made the cut. My interest comes from how he bounced back with those two top-5 finishes in the following two weeks. Horschel is 4th in Birdie Average and 1st in Total Birdies, along with this he is also 11th in Total Putting, three great categories to be placed highly in. He is also comes in at 12th in Total Driving and 10th in the All-Round ranking, which shows he is starting to show real control of his game. At 50/1 I think Horschel is fantasic value and without the likes of Brandt Snedeker and Luke Donald in the field I think he would come in much shorter than that. Horschel has never played at this event and that is always something to consider, however this also means he has no bad form around the course, players have played well on their first time out at Harbour Town and hopefully Horschel will be one of them. Recent form suggests he is in very good shape to at the very least make the weekend, and hopefully he will be well clear of the cut line and up there pushing for the win.
Bud Cauley 100/1 (PaddyPower, StanJames, Ladbrokesl) 1pt e/w: Cauley has been on my radar for a few weeks now, and his two last results have made me pull the trigger on him at 100/1. Bud Cauley is one of very few players who was able to bypass Q-School, qualifying for the PGA Tour straight from college, sealed by making the cut at the 2011 U.S Open. So far this year Cauley has made only 4 of his 9 cuts but after making two consecutively for the first time all season, not only should his confidence be up but his game must also be improving. He is averaging 68.50 in the final round this season putting him 8th in Round 4 scoring, hopefully this week he can match that in the other three rounds. He is 1st in approaches between 150-175 yards and 8th between 75-100 yards, so his approach into the greens looks to be in good shape and that should serve him well here this week. He has played here twice, missing the cut on his first attempt in 2010 (not on tour at the time) and T37 last year in his first full season as a PGA professional, I certainly think the favourites are beatable this week due to their Masters appearances and this could be the week that we see Cauley piece it all together.
Camilo Villegas 110/1 (StanJames) 0.5pt e/w: Villegas is starting to find some form again this season, and that is promising going forward. Still only 31, many people forget that he has actually been in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings at a high of 7th. Villegas has 3 wins on Tour, but needs to get back in the winners circle as he has not won since beating Anthony Kim by 5 shots to win the Honda Classic. Villegas also beat Sergio Garcia in a play-off at the Tour Championship in 2008, three weeks after winning the BMW Championship, both prestigious events. He also holds the record for the lowest second round at the Open Championship shooting 65 in that career best 2008 year of his. Enough of the past, Villegas last result was T16 at Bay Hill in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he also finished T18 in the Puerto Rico. Apart from withdrawing last year Villegas’ last three results at this event are, T36, T5 and T37. He also came T7 in 2008 so he has a fairly good record here and with a PGA Tour card to play for, Villegas will be keen to take advantage of events he is involved in, and has done well at in the past.
PGA Tour Points Staked: 9
The Masters was a major disappointment considering Dustin Johnson’s start and Brandt Snedeker’s lead going into the final round but it wasn’t to be. This was the first major I have covered and hopefully I can bounce back straight away here with some profit in this weeks RBC Heritage. Tips for the Open De Espana will be up later today, so be sure to look out for them. Get in contact on Twitter @TomJacobs8