RBC Heritage: Three to play in the First Round Leader market

American Jason Kokrak
Jason Kokrak can post another low one on Thursday

Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early at this week's RBC Heritage...

"This season, he sits second in R1 scoring on the PGA Tour with an average of 68.31. He’s finished the opening lap inside the top 10 five times in his 11 tournaments."

Back Jason Kokrak e.w. @ 80/1

*EW Terms: 1/4 Odds | 5 Places

Weather forecast: "Mostly sunny" is the forecast throughout the day. The winds are set to rise steadily from 9kmh at 9am to 15kmh at 4pm while temperatures pick up from 16 degrees at 9am to 22 at 4pm so there's a slight trade off there. Overall, there's not a huge advantage either way.

History: Over the last six years, 12 players have finished top/joint top after day one. Nine of those came from the afternoon wave, including Bud Cauley last year, who fired a 63.

Kokrak can get off to a flyer

Jason Kokrak is an early starter (8.40am) on Thursday and I noted when researching my outright preview that the American is a big fan of this short, tight venue where he really enjoys clubbing down.

"I love the golf course," he said two years ago. "I put a 2-iron in the bag and just send it down the middle of the fairway. If you can keep it in play on this golf course you're going to give yourself an opportunity."

Kokrak finished tied sixth in 2016, building on T18 and T12 the previous two years. He fired a 65 in 2015 and a 66 in 2014.

He missed the cut last year but did open with a 68 to sit inside the top 20 after round one.

This season, he sits second in R1 scoring on the PGA Tour with an average of 68.31. He's finished the opening lap inside the top 10 five times in his 11 tournaments so fast starts have become the norm. The highlights were a 63 in the CareerBuilder and a 65 at the RSM Classic which left him second and third respectively.

Take the industry-high 80/1.

Every (round) one's a winner

Matt Every (12.20pm) is a bit of a hero to the first-round betting community having come up with the goods on several occasions.

Last summer, he topped the R1 leaderboard three times in nine starts.

In June, he fired a Thursday 64 to lead the way at the St. Jude Classic. In July he set the pace at the Canadian Open thanks to a 65. And in August, Every launched his Wyndham Championship bid with a stunning 61.

Also sixth after 18 holes of the Travelers Championship that summer, he was T7 after round one of January's Sony Open after handing in a 65.

Every can have wild oscillations in his form but on his last start in Houston he opened with a 67 to end the first round in the top 10 and closed with a 66 to take tied eighth.

The final piece of the puzzle is that he's finished in the top five after day one in this event three times in his last four visits, sharing R1 honours in 2015 after a 66.

Look at the courses where he starts fast and there are plenty of similar traits. He's a must play at 110/1.

Fitzpatrick can flourish in first round

For a couple of years we've heard that Matt Fitzpatrick (1.10pm) loves Hilton Head and that it's his favourite course on the PGA Tour.

And then there's a feeling of being duped as he goes there and doesn't deliver. Missed cut 2017. Missed cut 2016.

He did finish tied 23rd in 2014 however and I'm willing to take the hints he keeps dropping.

At Augusta National last week, he shone on Saturday with a 67 and is capable of the low rounds that you want from a player carrying your money in this market. We saw that with a third-round 63 in Abu Dhabi.

In terms of R1, he had a run of fast starts at the back end of last year, his Thursday finishing positions reading: 10-4-2-8. Last year he was tied for the lead after day one of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

At 75/1, he could be a value punt to go low from the outset and, without doubt, this looks like a course that suits his game.

Dave's 2017/18 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £60
Returned: £0
P/L: -£60

(After The Masters)

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