RBC Heritage Betting: Zach ready to attack at Hilton Head

Zach Johnson's game is coming together nicely and he is primed to go well in Harbour Town
Zach Johnson's game is coming together nicely and he is primed to go well in Harbour Town

Dave Tindall brings us his each-way tips for this week's PGA Tour event at Harbour Town in South Carolina...

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Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Nap: Back Zach Johnson @ 17.016/1

I've had plenty of success in this event by backing players who had slightly overperformed on less suitable tracks on their previous starts. Most memorable, in my mind at least, was the 100/1 about Brian Gay, who had finished T26 on a course too long for him in Houston before dotting up here by 10 shots.

So, after an excellent T9 at lengthy Augusta National - his best performance since winning there in the attritional conditions in 2007 with a score 19 shots worse than Jordan Spieth! - Zach Johnson fits the profile perfectly. That was Johnson's third top 10 in six starts while his very latest form is 9-20-9.

Harbour Town is much more suited to his short and steady hitting and although his record here is inconsistent, a second place in 2012 shows what he might do when on his game.

Some players look terrible value at 16/1 but, to be honest, Johnson often wins/goes close at this sort of price when his chance is obvious.

At Augusta, the American described his ball-striking as "very consistent" and added: "I'm driving the ball pretty straight, for the most part I'm hitting my irons crisp." He certainly must have been doing something right having shot 68-68 on the weekend (four shots better than Spieth over the last 36 holes).

Unusually, it's his putting which has let him down in recent weeks but he seemed to turn the corner at Augusta and said after his closing round: "Today was tremendous. I putted really, really good."

Of the short, twisty course at Harbour Town, he says: "She's a great test. And I love coming back."

Johnson is a proven winner at this level with 11 titles in all and four in the last three seasons. He's due again and this could be the time to catch him give that six of his victories have come in April/May.

Next Best: Back Kevin Streelman @ 51.050/1

Streelman had an absolute ball at the Masters last week, winning the Par 3 Contest and then going on to finish T12 in the actual tournament after three rounds of 70 and a 72.

He finished 10th in Greens in Regulation for the second week running and was also third in Driving Accuracy and second in Scrambling.

After finishes of T67 at Bay Hill, T42 in Houston and T12 at Augusta, he's clearly building momentum and this could be where everything clicks.

A winner on Tour in each of the last two seasons, Streelman has made his last four cuts at Harbour Town and that run includes a third spot in 2013 and a T17 in 2012.

Digging a little deeper, he was also the halfway leader in 2013 and also fifth after R1 and T16 after R3 last year before fading.

One interesting answer he gave in 2013 suggests this venue fits his eye.

Asked how it compares to Innisbrook, where he won his first PGA Tour event, Streelman reflected: "I would say Harbour Town is just a slightly smaller version of Tampa, Innisbrook. It has a similar look that kind of shapes through the trees.  And has some nice kind of rolling hills and some rolling greens that kind of dip off on the sides." By the way, this year's Innisbrook winner was Jordan Spieth!

It's a fair comparison as Jim Furyk and Carl Pettersson have won at both Innisbrook and Harbour Town while Luke Donald has won at the former and lost a playoff at the latter. There are lots of other examples too. Streelman looks fairly priced at 50s.

Outsider: Back Brendon de Jonge @ 81.080/1

De Jonge is another good example of a player who excelled on a course which didn't really play to his strengths last time.

That's a reference to his fifth place in the Shell Houston Open where he closed 67-68-67.

The Zimbabwean is just the sort of short-hitting, ball-striker (29th Driving Accuracy, 37th Greens In Regulation) who can work his ball around Harbour Town and score well.

His best results there - 9-29-21 - came in a three-year spell from 2011 to 2013 but perhaps don't tell the whole story. In 2011 he was third with a round to go following a Saturday 66 while in 2013 he was fourth after 54 holes after rounds of 70-69-67.

In other words, he's put himself in position to win the tournament twice but hasn't been able to follow it through. Of course, that's rather the story of his whole PGA Tour career but at 80/1 he's an each-way price.

His results show us that he likes the course and interviewed in 2013 he said: "I've always loved it down here. I love the whole vibe of the tournament. I love the whole island. So, yeah, I feel very comfortable here."

So the thinking is clear, if de Jonge can bank a top five at 7,441-yard Houston Club, he can repeat the feat and hopefully better it at this week's 7,101-yard track where precision is required.

Finally, it's also worth noting that one of his PGA Tour top fives came at Innisbrook so that's another link to the two courses suiting certain players.


Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveTindallGolf

Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £390
Returned: £147.25
P/L: -£242.75

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