The PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head Island and Harbour Town Golf Links this week for the RBC Heritage, which has taken the original time slot traditionally occupied by the US Open. Plenty of eyes will remain on the bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau and the luckless Collin Morikawa, who will have another chance to slip into one of golf’s plaid jackets.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Taiwan's C.T. Pan defeated American veteran Matt Kuchar by one shot here last year, reaching 12-under-par, 272.
COURSE: Located on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Harbour Town Golf Links opened in 1967 and was designed by the renowned Pete Dye in consultation with 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. It measures 6,491 metres (par-71) and features narrow, tree-lined holes, which ask for shot-making over brute strength.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Tour sophomore Collin Morikawa has begun his professional career on the PGA Tour with 21 consecutive made cuts and is now just five shy of breaking Tiger Woods’ all-time record of 25. His painful playoff loss to Daniel Berger last week, however, will be what’s occupying his mind, after his three-foot par putt lipped out at the first extra hole.
“This one stung, but we’ll be back and hungry for more. It’s good to be out competing again,” Morikawa tweeted following the loss at Colonial.
The 23-year-old Californian has risen to 27th in the Official World Golf Ranking and will make his RBC Heritage debut this week.
RIGHT: C.T. Pan won his maiden PGA Tour title at Harbour Town last year. PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
The beefed-up Bryson DeChambeau is thought to have gained nearly 10 kilograms of weight in the past few months and – in combination with an incredibly low-lofted driver – is hitting the ball further than ever off the tee. But Harbour Town has narrow holes lined by trees and traditionally rewards shot-shapers over out-and-out bombers.
It will be interesting to see how the 26-year-old American plays this week, especially since he finished T3 at Colonial last week and was T3 here in 2018.
72-HOLE RECORD: American Brian Gay shot 20-under-par 264 in 2009 when he defeated his compatriot Briny Baird and Englishman Luke Donald by 10 shots.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Aaron Baddeley (2006), Peter Lonard (2005), Greg Norman (1988) and Graham Marsh (1977).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Jason Day, Matt Jones and Cameron Smith.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 6am – 9am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 6am – 9am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 3am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 3am – 8am)
*AEST, check local guides