The 2019-20 PGA Tour season resumed last week with a stellar finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge as Daniel Berger topped Collin Morikawa in a playoff for his first tournament win since 2017. Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, SC serves as the host for this week’s RBC Heritage. DraftKings is holding a second straight Fantasy Golf Millionaire Maker contest for another loaded field that includes 114 PGA Tour winners and each of the top six golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking. We made our betting picks for the week here and below, we look at the best DFS picks for the RBC Heritage at DraftKings.
Before getting into our picks, we preview Harbour Town GL and look at the key stats to know for this week. We’ll also look at some lessons learned from last week’s first Millionaire Maker of the year.
The course: Harbour Town Golf Links
Harbour Town GL was designed by the legendary duo of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. It measures 7,099 yards and plays to a par of 71 with Bermuda greens. It has been an annual stop for many of the Tour’s top pros since 1969.
The winning scores posted by the last eight champions at Harbour Town have ranged from minus-9 (twice) to Jim Furyk‘s minus-18 in 2015. C.T. Pan won at 12-under par last year. Five holes played below par, including each of the three par 5s and two par 4s. The easiest hole was the 549-yard, par-5 fifth with a scoring average of 4.524. It saw five eagles and 204 birdies with 16 bogeys and four doubles. The most difficult hole was the 472-yard, par-4 18th with a scoring average of 4.226. It had 92 bogeys, 12 doubles and five others carded against just 40 birdies.
As we saw last week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge, course history can be very important in the early going of the season resumption. Experience is more important than results.
Key stats to consider for your RBC Heritage DFS picks
Last year’s RBC Heritage, won by Pan at minus-12, had a Strength of Field rating of 460. That number is expected to be increased dramatically due to the number of top golfers in attendance following the mid-season suspension and the tournament’s new place on the schedule. The RBC Heritage had been held the week following the Masters in recent years and several of the world’s best golfers would pass on this event.
Last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, won by Berger, had a Strength of Field rating of 713. The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge, won by Kevin Na, had a strength rating of just 377. Despite the lengthy hiatus from professional golf, Berger and Morikawa’s 72-hole score of minus-15 was right in the middle of the previous five winning scores at Colonial.
The stats best tailored to Harbour Town and success over the last five years are Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Bogey Avoidance, Greens in Regulation Gained, Proximity from 175-200 Yards and Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 Yards. With scoring opportunities readily available on the three par 5s, it’s essential to limit damage on the par 3s and 4s and to be able to escape any trouble. The key approach shot in recent years has been from the 175-200-yard range, and that range also covers the tee shots on the four par 3s. Five of the 11 par 4s range from 400 to 450 yards.
My model at Fantasy National this week looks again at the most recent 100 rounds for each golfer in the field. The larger sample size helps to account for the lengthy pause in play and some of the soft early-season fields. We’ll also look at Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda grass over the careers of each golfer in the field.
RBC Heritage: DraftKings lineup building strategies
Last week’s Millionaire Maker brought a new audience to DFS golf as the PGA Tour dominates the sports scene right now with no MLB or NBA or NHL playoffs. Much of the same is expected this week as 133,823 lineups of six golfers will compete for a $2.25 million purse with $1 million and a ticket to Super Bowl LV going to first place.
Course history was a key area of research last week and it will continue to be more important for at least these next few tournaments as fields warm back up. Be careful, as recent past champions are most likely to be the ones with the highest ownership. Current form, even dating back in advance of the mid-March suspension of the 2020 season, was also highly relevant last week, particularly for Berger. His victory extended a streak of top-10 finishes to four straight events while also extending his streak of rounds of par or better to 28.
Be sure to look at the DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds for the RBC Heritage when researching and making your DFS picks. Outright, placing and matchup odds can be used to help to differentiate between similarly priced golfers in DFS. For example, Patrick Reed (-120) is favored over Justin Rose (+100) in a two-way tournament matchup, but Rose is $400 more expensive than Reed in daily fantasy.
RBC Heritage DFS Picks: Ownership
Pairing a loaded PGA Tour field and new DraftKings users/casual golf fans helps to spread out ownership among the top names in the field. It wasn’t a necessity to get all six golfers through the cut last week in order to cash in Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments. Picking just one or two low-owned bargain plays can prove to be highly beneficial as leverage over the newer competition.
Don’t react too strongly to last week’s results. New users especially will focus on the leaderboard from the Charles Schwab Challenge when looking for value plays and picking their top studs. Try to find places to pivot and look for golfers coming off a disappointing result or those who sat out last week’s event and will be appearing on TV for the first time in several months.
2020 RBC Heritage DFS picks
Top Tier: $11.3K – $8K
Rory McIlroy ($11,300)
McIlroy left a sour taste on many last week, especially those who had him in the Round 4 Showdown slate. The No. 1 player in the world entered Sunday just three shots back of the lead, but he closed with a plus-4 74 to finish T-32. He’s again the most expensive player in the field and that will likely cause many to be hesitant despite his world ranking. He’ll be playing here for just the first time since finishing 58th in 2009.
McIlroy leads my stat model with field-best ranks in SG: Off-the-Tee, Bogey Avoidance and Greens in Regulation Gained. Expect a bounce-back performance with lower ownership than he had last week.
Patrick Reed ($8,800)
Reed’s likely to be one of the more popular golfers this week, but with softened salaries, you’ll need to pay up for someone. He finished T-7 last week at minus-13 thanks to a 63-67 weekend. He gained 1.76 strokes putting last week and ranks 34th in this field on Bermuda greens over his career. Reed’s the seventh-favorite to win the tournament outright at +3000, so he’s a bargain at this DFS salary.
Dustin Johnson ($8,500)
Johnson’s coming off a missed cut despite ranking sixth in SG: Off-the-Tee last week. His putter betrayed him as he lost 0.75 strokes per round on the Bentgrass greens of Colonial. He has been a better putter on Bermuda greens over his career and ranks second in the stat model behind McIlroy. The No. 5 player in the world rankings is the 14th-most expensive this week and tied for 17th by the betting odds. He made the cut here each of the last two years.
Tyrrell Hatton ($8,000)
Hatton will tee it up for the first time following the break in play. The Arnold Palmer Invitational champion previously tied for sixth at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He has played this event just twice with a T-29 result in 2017 and a missed cut last year. Look for him to follow the mold of Berger and pick right up in his prior form while going under the radar.
Mid Tier: $7.9K – $7K
Branden Grace ($7,800)
Grace was also my pick to win the RBC Heritage at +5500. He’s expected to be a more popular play in DFS after putting up 95.0 fantasy points a week ago despite a Sunday collapse. He closed with a 73 after opening the tournament with three straight rounds of 66. The 2016 champion also finished T-7 in 2015 and T-11 in 2017. His 1.84 strokes gained per round over 16 career rounds at Harbour Town rank eighth in this field, but third among those with at least 16 rounds played, according to Data Golf.
Shane Lowry ($7,800)
The reigning Open Championship winner missed the cut last week. He had finished T-29 at the WGC-Mexico Championship and T-21 at The Honda Classic prior to the break. Lowry tied for third last year and 44th in his only other trip to Harbour Town in 2017. His 2.68 strokes lost per round with the putter last week were fifth-worst in the field. An average performance gets him through to the weekend.
Harold Varner III ($7,400)
Last week’s 36-hole leader is likely to go under-owned this week. He still finished the week with 83.0 fantasy points while gaining 1.78 strokes per round from tee-to-green. He’s not a great course fit but is underpriced following last week’s near breakthrough.
Kevin Streelman ($7,000)
Streelman missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He gained 0.85 strokes per round off-the-tee and 1.61 strokes tee-to-green, but he lost strokes with the putter. He has gained 0.91 strokes per round over 32 career rounds at Harbour Town, including a T-6 finish last year and a T-7 in 2018. He’s 23rd in the stat model, and he has been a much better putter on Bermuda than Bentgrass over his career.
Value Tier: $6.9K and Lower
Russell Knox ($6,900)
Knox has played 22 career rounds at Harbour Town with 1.6 strokes gained per round. He missed the cut last year to snap a streak of four straight top-40 finishes highlighted by a T-2 in 2016. He’s in poor form, but he’s been hitting greens in regulation and avoiding bogeys. The Scotsman just needs to drop some birdie putts.
Chez Reavie ($6,800)
Reavie’s putter let him down last week en route to a missed cut. He ranks third in the stat model behind Rory and DJ. His top strengths are in this week’s key proximity and par 4 distances. He doesn’t have a great history here, but he has played 26 rounds and at least has a good amount of familiarity.
Brian Gay ($6,300)
Gay is the best Bermuda grass putter in the field. He has also made three straight cuts at Harbour Town GL, including a top finish of T-6 in 2017. He has struggling in many other key areas this week, but his putter is well worth a flier at a near-minimum price.