This week the PGA Tour rolls through Hilton Head. Harbour Town Golf Links has traditionally been one of the most challenging courses on the schedule. The Pete Dye design has played to an average of more than a stroke over par each of the last three years, and only three players have managed to shoot double digits under par in that span.
The small, tricky greens have proven difficult. The field average for greens in regulation in 2014 at the RBC Heritage was 56.21 percent, second to only TPC San Antonio as the lowest GIR hit on tour last season. The field average for putts made outside 10 feet was 31.6 percent, which was the lowest on tour.
The last five winners of a plaid jacket (Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Carl Pettersson, Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk) have excelled on the greens en route to victory. Each finished at the top or near the top in a significant putting category like total putts, strokes gained/putting and distance of putts made.
In case you forgot, here’s how Kuchar won last year’s event.
With putting stats in mind, here are our picks for this week, complete with odds and a look at the putters in play:
Matt Every 80/1
Every has had a lackluster season aside from his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (where he switched putters mid tournament), but he’s played well at Harbour Town in the past, finishing T12 last year and T8 in 2012. His putting stats are solid—32nd in strokes gained, T7 in first round putting average (27.67) and we know he can make clutch putts when he has to.
Every will be using an Odyssey Versa 330 mallet with a black/white/black color scheme. Every’s gamer features a Fusion RX insert that is not pictured in the photo below.
Jordan Spieth 6/1
Masters champ. Second on tour in putts made from outside 10 feet, fourth in strokes gained/putting. Easy choice.
Spieth’s putter is a Scotty Cameron 009 prototype that he’s used since junior golf. It’s safe to say that Spieth won’t be swapping it out any time soon.
Russell Henley 30/1
Henley is 15th on tour in strokes gained/putting. He finished fourth at the Shell Houston Open and a respectable 21st at the Masters. A T6 at Harbour Town in 2013, combined with Henley being a resident of nearby Charleston make him a good pick this week. It’s basically a home game.
Henley is putting with a Nike Method Matter prototype, shown below at Augusta National.
Matt Kuchar 20/1
The defending champion is 16th on tour in strokes gained/putting, eighth in putting average and first in one-putt percentage (45.33%). Last year, the holed bunker shot ultimately decided the event, but expect a solid putting performance to propel the seven-time PGA Tour winner to the top of the leaderboard this week.
Kuchar’s putter is a 42-inch Bettinardi Kuchar Model 2 mallet. It has 6° of loft to accommodate his arm-lock style grip that significantly delofts the putter.
Check back Monday to see which club played the biggest role in crowning an RBC Heritage champion.