Three potential angles to take at The RBC Heritage

The PGA Tour moves on to one of its favourite venues, Harbour Town Golf Links – an opportunity for a little rest and respite after the rigours of the first Majors Championship of the year.

With its blustery breezes, tree-lined fairways and small putting surfaces Harbour Town Golf Links is a very different test to last week's Major challenge at Augusta National.

Through the 52 year history of the tournament course specialists have thrived, often winning multiple tartan jackets or simply racking up the top 10 finishes.

It's an event that has proved occasionally treacherous for punters, such as when Satoshi Kodaira and CT Pan won in 2018 and 2019, but also fruitful for the shrewd operator.

The likes of Brian Gay in 2009 (60/1), Graeme McDowell in 2013 (30/1) and Branden Grace in 2016 (40/1) all won when having good cases - and that's only the winners.

Here are three potential angles to take in this year's event.

Tyrrell Hatton - the seaside link

Down the years golfers who started their careers on the European Tour have enjoyed plenty of success in this event.

Nick Faldo won in 1984, Bernhard Langer succeeded him, Greg Norman was victorious in 1988, and Nick Price in 1997.

Since the start of the 21st century Carl Pettersson (2012), Graeme McDowell (2013) and Branden Grace (2016) have joined them on the Harbour Town honours board.

What connects all of them is success on linksland.

Faldo, Norman and Price all lifted the Claret Jug, and Langer was twice a runner-up in the Open (and is a multiple winner of the British Senior Open).

Grace is a past winner of the Dunhill Links Championship, McDowell has finished second and third in that event, and even Pettersson, who has the weakest claim to British and Irish seaside ability, landed a top 10 in the 2008 Open.

While Harbour Town is by the sea, it's not a links course, but there are similarities in the test: being able to stay strong tee to green in the wind is important and so is an excellent short game.

That suggests good news for Hatton who has always loved the linksland.

He's finished second at Castle Stuart, fourth at Royal Aberdeen, fifth at Royal County Down and Royal Troon, sixth at Royal Portrush, and ninth at Gullane.

Oh yes, he's also a two-time winner of the Dunhill Links, and there's more to his case.

Hatton would like to add a tartan jacket to his red cardigan.
Hatton would like to add a tartan jacket to his red cardigan.

Course form? On debut at Harbour Town he finished T29th and in June he finished third.

Just last week he finished T18th at Augusta National, easily his best effort there. Indeed, a first top 40 in five attempts.

He's available at 25/1 (eight places) with William Hill.

Kevin Na - the top 20 expert

Kevin Na landed T12th at the Masters and headed to the airport before having second thoughts, racing back to see Hideki Matsuyama complete his win.

He explained: "I wanted to be there for Hideki, I'm good friends with him.

"It's something that I've always told him he was going to do, he was going to win a major some day.

"I think there are many other Asian players out here that are going to win more, guys like Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, hopefully myself, there's plenty of us out here that can do it and to see a fellow Asian do it means a lot."

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Na was discussing the possibility of future Asian major wins, but it seems entirely possible that he'll be feeling very chipper this week and an added bonus is that Harbour Town is a course he loves.

He's completed the tournament 13 times and landed seven top 20 finishes.

And in his last 10 starts anywhere in the world he's also recorded four top 20s and on another occasion when he was just one shot short of that mark.

Among the latter number was also a win at Waialae in conditions very like those he'll return to at Harbour Town.

He's a short price, but the numbers are in favour of backing him for another top 20 at 7/4 with Paddy Power.

Luke Donald - veteran course specialist

The Englishman's record on Hilton Head Island reflects the state of his career.

During his boom years he was little short of sensational in this tournament and quite possibly no golfer has ever gone closer to a win at an event so frequently without ever quite getting over the line.

He was third in 2010 and 2013, runner-up in 2009, 2014, 2016 and 2017, and a playoff loser in 2011.

It's an astounding run: top three in seven of nine events!

But since that stretch ended, like his career, the returns have gone swiftly downhill. He missed the cut in 2018 and 2020, with T33rd in-between.

He hasn't finished better than T40th since March last year and has missed the cut in his last nine events.

It prompted this heartfelt message on Instagram after the latest lost weekend:

Maybe there is a little karma heading his way, however. He also revealed on Instagram how inspired he was by Hideki Matsuyama's win at Augusta and where better for him to find a bit of form than at a favoured location?

He's 7/2 with Paddy Power to make the top 40.

READ MORE: The leading contenders at the Masters after-party - The RBC Heritage

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