There’s a feeling of ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ about week two of our Fantasy League as the PGA Tour heads to South Carolina for the RBC Heritage. The golfing world is still digesting the nature of Jordan Spieth’s Masters triumph and the Texan is chasing further glory and another jacket – the RBC Heritage’s iconic plaid number – this week.
At just over 7,100 yards Harbour Town Links is short by modern Tour standards but length is little advantage here. Jack Nicklaus’ first design project is reminiscent of a Scottish links and this twisty, densely-bunkered layout requires precision to find its tight fairways and incredibly small greens. It is no coincidence that shorter hitters and master tacticians Kuchar, McDowell and Furyk have triumphed here in recent years, while Luke Donald has five top-three finishes since 2009.
Brian Gay’s 20-under par winning total from 2009 is the lowest in the tournament’s 46-year history but it may come under threat this week if the forecasted rain softens up Hilton Head Island’s par 71. Matt Kuchar shot a final round 64 last year to edge out Luke Donald by a single stroke after dramatically holing his bunker shot on the 72nd hole. I got off to a flyer last week with Spieth one of five in my team who placed inside the top 12 at Augusta and here’s who I’m backing in week two…
Zach Johnson, £2.8m
Back-to-back 68s last weekend saw the former Masters champion to a top-10 finish at Augusta – his third top-20 in a row. Harbour Town sets up well for him and he has some decent course form – finishing second here in 2012 and sixth in 2007.
Ian Poulter, £2.6m
A weekend pair of 67s led the Englishman to sixth at the Masters where he finished top in Greens in Regulation – something that will be vital this week. No sparkling form here but four made cuts from four starts is respectable and he started 69-66 in his last appearance in 2011. He threw away the Honda Classic earlier this year but has made five straight cuts and will be desperate to finally get over the line in 2015.
Luke Donald, £2.4m
Working back from last year, Donald’s record in this event reads as follows: 2, 3, 37, 2, 3, 2. On that basis alone he’s a must-have this week and comes in fresh after missing the Augusta cut by a single shot.
Brandt Snedeker, £2.4m
Another who missed out on the weekend by a shot last week – only his second missed cut all season. A winner on Tour already this term (AT&T National) and a winner of this event in 2011. He currently sits in the top 30 for Scrambling and Total Putting on the PGA Tour and that short game prowess should see him contend again.
Webb Simpson, £2.0m
Good start at the Masters (69) before a second round 75 thrust him back into the chasing pack. Eventually finished 28th – his seventh made cut from eight starts this season. Three of those were top-10 finishes and the fact he lies 15th in Greens in Regulation and 12th in Scrambling this season means his game stacks up well for Harbour Town. He finished second here in 2013.
Russell Henley, £1.5m
Another one who fell away after a fine opening round (68) at Augusta last week. He finally came in 21st to continue his incredibly consistent run. His last missed cut came 16 starts ago at the US PGA in August and he was fourth at the Shell Houston Open earlier this month. Sixth in this event two years ago.