RBC Heritage First Round Leader: English won't be patient on day one

American Harris English
American Harris English can start fast

Dave Tindall looks at the opening round of the RBC Heritage and has three picks to make a fast start...

"In seven starts in the event, he's twice been fourth after day one and was also in the top six after 18 holes in 2018. That year he closed with a 65 to show he could go low here."

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina: This is June rather than April so rather than the usual 60 degree temps for the early starters, they'll be greeted by something in the early 70s. That rises to the mid-80s by 3pm although winds pick up slightly from 7mph early on to nearer 10mph in the afternoon. There's also a fair chance of rain from 2pm.

First-round leader history:
2019 - 65: Shane Lowry
2018 - 64: Rory Sabbatini
2017 - 63: Bud Cauley
2016 - 66: Luke Donald, Branden Grace
2015 - 66: Matt Every, Graeme McDowell
2014 - 66: Matt Kuchar, William McGirt, Scott Langley

Strategy: Early starters have posted the low number for the last two years but of the 10 names listed above, six were from the afternoon wave. There's not much in it really but with a chance of rain later, I'll pick two early starters and one late.

English to burst from the blocks

Harris English was a popular pick at Colonial last week but fluffed his last lines and missed the cut.

That was due to an opening 73. In round two he fired a 67 to suggest he could have had a decent finish had he got through to the weekend.

A reminder why many had put their cash down on him...

English has had an excellent season with five top 10s and a further pair of top 20s and a good performance in a special 36-hole pre-Colonial event at Sea Island (he was second in the individual section) suggested he was ready to hit the ground running.

It didn't work out but be prepared for a different story here.

English, who is in the first group out (06:45am) on Thursday morning so will have decent temperatures and the smoothest greens, is no stranger to fast starts at Harbour Town.

In seven starts in the event, he's twice been fourth after day one and was also in the top six after 18 holes in 2018. That year he closed with a 65 to show he could go low here.

The industry-best 95/1 (six places) is well worth a play.

Count on Kuchar again

Matt Kuchar hat tip 1280.jpg

It's very, very easy to land on Matt Kuchar when looking at this event as he won it in 2014, was runner-up last year and has been outside the top 11 just once in his last six visits.

But low first rounds are what we want and he delivers them on a regular basis too.

In the last six years, Kuchar has been first, second, third and fourth after the opening lap while he's fired in the 60s on day one in each of those last half-dozen appearances.

Going low on Thursday is a recent habit too. Looking at his most recent 17 events worldwide, he's been first-round leader twice (2019 Scottish Open, 2020 Genesis) and has been in the top three on three other occasions.

Extending the study period and he's been R1 leader four times in his last 48 events.

Like English, he's under the radar a little due to an early exit at Colonial but, like English, he shot a decent number (68) on day two.

Back at one of his favourite venues, 60/1 shot Kuchar can pop up on the Thursday leaderboard yet again.

He's an afternoon starter from the 10th tee at 1:38pm.

Poston worth a pick

I'll sign off by taking the appealing 80/1 about J.T. Poston.

The man from North Carolina won last year's Wyndham Championship in his home state so I'm hoping he can be prominent when popping over the state line to contest this event.

Poston opened with a 65 when winning the Wyndham and has since been first-round leader at the Barbasol (62) and Sanderson Farms (64).

More evidence of his ability to fly out of the traps came at the Honda Classic in March when he was third after 18 holes.

Poston played this event for the first time last year and finished an impressive tied sixth while he returned to action by shooting all four rounds in the 60s and taking tied 10th at Colonial last week.

His game looked sharp and while it's a big ask to beat this impressive field over four days, he's very capable of getting the better of them over just one.

He opens his bid at 08:24 on Thursday from the 10th.

Staked: £300
Returned: £112.58
P/L: -£187.42

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