It's the calm after the storm this week on the PGA Tour as the wind down from Augusta National begins. Next stop is the RBC Heritage, formerly known as the Verizon Heritage, at the Harbour Town Links and players are set for a completely different challenge to that which they faced at Augusta National.
The market is led by many players who teed it up at the US Masters, but we may see some lethargy from these bigger names after their efforts last week and a few may find it hard to get themselves up for the event, possibly leaving the market open to exploitation by the bigger prices, but despite that, I'm going to keep the focus on the bigger names this week.
Luke Donald leads said market after being caught on final day Sunday last year by Brandt Snedeker who shot a low round 64 to eventually take it down via a play-off victory over Luke. That second place for Donald made it three top 3 finishes in the last three years for the Englishman and Donald is a perfect fit for the Harbour Town Links course. Luke is currently trading at 8.0 for the win, or 2.50 for a place with Unibet.
It would be 2010 winner Jim Furyk who gets the nod for favouritism from me though. Course specialist Furyk is finally recapturing his Fedex Cup winning form and comes into the event off the back of a playoff loss at the Transitions, followed by T11's at the Arnold Palmer and the US Masters. Furyk is available at 18.0 or 4.50 the top five.
The Pete Dye design plays around the 7,000 yards mark to a par of 71 and with some of the smallest greens on tour, Harbour town is a ball striker's paradise where experience, placement, shot shape and accurate approach play will be rewarded. Some players besides Donald that have standout records here include some of the tour's shortest hitters and best ball strikers. On such small greens, putting will also be a vital attribute at the RBC Heritage.
Three From The Pack
Bo van Pelt is the form man on tour right now. He ended the 2011 season in style and his game has moved up a level over the last couple of years. Four top 10 finishes on the PGA circuit, followed by a short break and on his return at the US Masters, he shot the low round of the tournament - 64 on Sunday. Bo leads the tour in the all round and total driving stat and sits second in strokes gained putting. BVP is trading at 20.0 for the win or 5.0 the place.
Zach Johnson has shown glimpses of his old self thus far in 2012 and if we're talking horses for courses, Zach fits the bill. In contention here in 2010 before a final round capitulation, Johnson has made nine cuts from nine this year, with four top 25 finishes. If he gets his putter going this week, 40.0 for the win or 9.0 for a top five could look very big.
A price that very much surprises me this week is 40.0 on Jason Dufner, possibly the biggest value in the field. A regular feature at the top of the leaderboard in recent months in big events, Dufner was quoted in response to one of his followers on Twitter, when asked if he was playing this week, as saying "Yes Sir, love Harbour Town". The easy swinging Dufner is all about fairways and greens and it's hardly surprising that the course a good fit for his game. An over par final round Sunday in 2011 still saw him finish in the top 15 at Harbour Town. Jason is also available at 9.0 for a top five finish.