Following Scottie Scheffler’s brilliant performance in winning The Masters, the PGA pros head to Harbour Town Golf Links for the 54th edition of the RBC Heritage.
The tight, traditional, tree-lined beauty on Lighthouse Lane in Hilton Head Island, SC, is a throwback, with precision a prerequisite over power. The Pete Dye design is 7,191 yards, and the par 71 marshland resort course has 145 bunkers, with water coming into play on nine of the 18 holes. Success for the golfers requires accuracy from the tee, positioning, shaping the ball and hitting your targets into some of the the smallest greens on Tour.
Still, with the popularity of sports betting and fan interest in wagering on golf and on the top players, here are the golfers to keep an eye on at the 2022 RBC Heritage.
Top golfers in the RBC Heritage
Despite the fact The Masters was just completed, most of the top golfers in the world will still play this week.
Check out the tee times and pairings for the top players and other golfers with area ties for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.
Five of the top 10 players in the world rankings are the favorites to win at Harbour Town.
- Justin Thomas
- Collin Morikawa
- Cameron Smith
- Dustin Johnson
- Patrick Cantlay
In addition, 11 other players ranked in the top 30 in the world are leading challengers this week at RBC Heritage.
- Matt Fitzpatrick
- Shane Lowry
- Corey Connors
- Daniel Berger
- Joaquin Niemann
- Sungjae Im
- Billy Horschel
- Jordan Spieth
- Tyrell Hatton
- Kevin Kisner
- Jason Kokrak
Plenty of other past and rising stars along with area golfers and former Georgia Bulldog players are in the field.
That includes St. Simons Island resident and five-time RBC Heritage winner Davis Love III. Love is this year’s President Cup Captain, and the 58-year-old also just named fellow St. Simons Island resident Zach Johnson as an Assistant Captain. The 46-year-old Johnson is also competing in this year’s event at Harbour Town.
So are several past RBC Heritage winners: Stewart Cink (2000, 2004, 2021), Jim Furyk (2010, 2015), Webb Simpson (2020), C.T. Pan (2019), Satoshi Kodaira (2018), Wesley Bryan (2017), Branden Grace (2016), Matt Kuchar (2014), Graeme McDowell (2013), Brandt Snedeker (2011), and Brian Gay (2009),
Golfers to watch with ties to Georgia and South Carolina
- Kevin Kisner — The former Georgia Bulldog is a good course fit with his elite accuracy off the tee (top 5 on Tour). He’s already finished top 5 in three PGA Tour events this year: Sony Open (T3), PLAYERS Championship (4th), WGC – Match Play (2nd). Those results have propelled Kisner to No. 27 in the world rankings, up from No. 42 this year. Kisner missed the cut in this event the last two years, but he finished second in 2015 and tied for seventh in 2018.
- Russell Henley — The former Bulldog has been moving up the world rankings this year, from No. 57 to currently No. 42. Henley ranks top 25 on Tour in driving accuracy, and top 10 in greens-in-regulation, birdie average and scoring. He started the year with a second-place finish in the Sony Open, and has made the cut in all seven strokes play events this year. Henley finished top 10 last year at Harbour Town for his best finish in the event since he tied for sixth in 2013.
- Dustin Johnson — The former No. 1-ranked player and two-time major champion from South Carolina has finished top 20 in this event in three of the last four years. Johnson finished T12 at last week’s Masters, and the 2020 Masters champ is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
- Chris Kirk — The former Bulldog has a pair of top-10 finishes on Tour since February, and the 36-year-old tied for seventh in last year’s event for his best finish in 10 starts at Harbour Town.
- Sepp Straka — The 28-year-old former Bulldog picked up his first PGA Tour win this year at the Honda Classic and finished top 10 at The PLAYERS Championship. Straka has made the cut in his two starts at Harbour Town the last two years, but has not finished in the top 30.
- Hudson Swafford — The former Bulldog won The American Express tournament earlier this year. But Swafford has missed the cut in three of five starts at Harbour Town and is without a top-30 finish.
- Brian Harman — The 35-year-old, short-hitting lefty from Savannah can outperform his big longshot odds. He’s twice finished top 10 in this event, and also finished T13 last year. He’s top 20 in Tour in driving accuracy, and has a pair of top-5 finishes this year at The American Express and Valspar Championship.
- Brendon Todd —The 36-year-old former Bulldog had a career season on Tour two years ago with a pair of wins. He’s top 15 on Tour in driving accuracy, and struggling more this year with just one top-10 finish coming earlier this month at the Valero Texas Open.
- Lucas Glover — The South Carolina native and Clemson University grad won the 2009 U.S. Open. The 42-year-old ranks top 15 on Tour in driving accuracy and Ggreens-in-regulation, and finished T5 at the Sony Open and top 20 last month at the Valero Texas Open. Glover has played in 19 PGA Tour events at Harbour Town, but has finished in the top 10 just once.
- Doc Redman — The 24-year-old former Clemson Tiger has one top-25 finish on Tour this year in nine starts. Redman has made the cut in two of three starts at Harbour Town with a T21 his best finish in 2020.
- Matthew NeSmith — The South Carolina native and University of South Carolina grad had his best-ever finish on Tour when he tied for third at the Valspar Championship in March. NeSmith has made the cut in both his starts at Harbour Town the last two years, but did not finish in the top 30.
- Ben Martin — The South Carolina native and Clemson University grad has made just three starts on Tour this year, but he did finish tied for second at last month’s Corales Puntacana Championship. He also finished T3 in the RBC Heritage in 2014, but has not fared well since.
- Jonathan Byrd — The 44-year-old South Carolina native and Clemson grad has missed the cut in four of six starts on Tour this year, with a best finish tied for ninth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Byrd has made the cut in nine of 15 starts at Harbour Town, but no top-30 finishes the past decade.
|Photo by Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press|