After last week’s thrilling US Masters, the PGA Tour makes its way to the South Carolina coast. Branden Grace defends the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
South Africa’s Branden Grace defends the RBC Heritage and a strong field has assembled. Englishmen Danny Willett, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Luke Donald tee it up as do former winner Matt Kuchar, two-time Major champion Martin Kaymer and Charley Hoffman and William McGirt, fresh off strong performances at The Masters.
Luke Donald has a great record in this event without winning. In the last eight years he has recorded four runner-up finishes and two third places.
Designed by Pete Dye with the assistance of Jack Nicklaus, the course at Harbour Town is one of the professionals’ favourite tracks. With its iconic lighthouse and Scottish feel, it’s also one of the most attractive on the circuit. At just over 7,000 yards, it’s one of the shortest tracks visited by the PGA Tour but it’s no pushover.
First contested in 1969, Arnold Palmer was the inaugural winner of this event and there have been some notable champions. Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson and Greg Norman have all donned the plaid jacket awarded to the victor here.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Davis Love III earned a reputation as a Harbour Town specialist. He won five times between 1991 and 2003.
Last season, Branden Grace fired a final round of 66 to deny Luke Donald the winner’s tartan jacket. Donald led going into the final round but was passed by the charging South African who claimed his first victory on American soil.
Luke Donald short game secrets:
The weather forecast looks pretty clear but there’s always the possibility of a testing, gusty wind at Harbour Town.
Venue: Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Date: April 13-16
Course stats: par 71, 7,099 yards
Purse: $6,500,000 Winner: $1,117,000
Defending Champion: Branden Grace (-9)
Thursday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm
Sunday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm
Matt Kuchar – He loves this event and was winner in 2014, he’s been fifth and tied for ninth in the last two events. He was tied fourth at Augusta last week after a final round that included a hole-in-one on the 16th.
Russell Henley – He won in Houston to earn a place in The Masters and then finished tied for 11th at Augusta. He’s one of the real form players right now.
Charley Hoffman – He played some great stuff at Augusta, leading after round one. He’s also pretty handy at Harbour Town with three top-15 finishes in the last five years.
Key hole: 14th. A par-3 of 192 yards with water all along the right side. Overhanging trees and a treacherous pot-bunker make this a very small target. It often ranks as the toughest hole on the course.
Skills required: Course management. This isn’t a long course but careful placement from the tee and on approaches is crucial if players are to successfully negotiate Harbour Town’s numerous hazards.