Harbour Town Key Fantasy Stats

RBC Heritage

June 18th – 21st, 2020

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, SC

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,099

Purse: $7.1 million

with $1,278,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
C.T. Pan

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

This is based on the most important stats for Harbour Town, based on data from last year’s RBC Heritage, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Harbour Town last year was 71.17 which ranked the 11th hardest course of the year. It was a half a shot tougher than in 2018 when he played to a 70.85 average. The reason for the change was wind, each day last year had winds over 10 mph, and on Friday they had gusts up to 40 mph and Saturday 30 mph. The good news for next week, in looking at the early weather reports it will be warm but dry and winds each day under 10 mph.

In looking through the history of the event every year the course average has always been over par, in the last 20 years the hardest it’s played was in 2005 at a 73.25 average. The easiest was in 2017 when it played to a 70.68 average and ranked 28th hardest on the PGA Tour.
Despite the course being one of the best on the PGA Tour, the winners haven’t been top-notch. Last year C.T. Pan won and since the victory he has only finished in the top-ten once, a T-3rd a month after winning at the Charles Schwab. Pan enters this week with very little momentum missing his last four cuts. In 2018 Satoshi Kodaira won and he also has struggled, in 45 PGA Tour events since he has only two top-ten finishes the best coming a month after his Heritage win, T-20th at the Charles Schwab. Just like Pan, Kodaira comes into this week with mon momentum missing the cut in his last five events. The same with 2017 winner Wesley Bryan, since winning he has played in 42 events and has only had two top-25 finished, the best a T-3rd in the 2017 John Deere Classic. To be fair to Bryan, at the end of 2018 he hurt himself and found out he had a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and at the end of January of 2019 had surgery which took a year to get better. This week will be his first PGA Tour event since the RSM Classic in November of 2018. The fact is winning the RBC Heritage has not been any kind of a launching pad to stardom on the PGA Tour. Not only has Pan, Kodaira, or Bryan return to the winner’s circle, 2016 winner Branden Grace and 2015 Jim Furyk have not won on the PGA Tour (Grace has won twice on European Tour, the last being the 2020 South African Open). So the last Heritage champion to win again on the PGA Tour is Matt Kuchar in 2014. One thing that is a fact for this event, with better scoring conditions the course tends to get an inexperience winner as we have seen.

So what will it take to win this week? Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America, it’s a totally different experience in which ball placement is upmost overpower. Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue so look for a precision player to win. Looking at all drives in 2019 the course averaged 281.8 yards, meaning it was the 8th shortest of all the courses on tour. Since it’s so low (The highest on tour last year was Club de Golf Chapultepec, 320.6 yards) players not only throttle it down, on many holes they lay up with 3 woods or long irons. So our first important stat is driving accuracy, you have to drive it well and straight at Harbour Town. Last year the course ranked 21st (60.20%) in this stat compared to the others on tour. In looking at past champions seven of the last eleven were in the top-ten in accuracy for the week and ten of the last ten champions were in the bottom in driving distance as Carl Pettersson was the longest driver as he ranked 31st in 2012. Last year’s champion C.T. Pan hit 29 of 54 fairways which were the worst a champion has done ever done since 1997. The year before Satoshi Kodaira hit 42 of 56 and ranked T-4th.

For our next categories in looking at the stats for Harbour Town, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hit lots of greens, last year and in 2018 it ranked 6th on tour. 2017 was a misnomer as it ranked 16th, while in 2016 it ranked 2nd on the Tour and it was in the top-6 in five of the last seven years. In the last 23 years, 12 of the champions ranked in the top-ten with five of them leading the category, the last being Matt Kuchar in 2014. Last year’s winner C.T. Pan ranked 37th hitting 42 of 72 greens while in 2018 Satoshi Kodaira ranked T-7th, so on the whole hitting greens is important to winning at Harbour Town.

Next important is around and on the greens. What makes Harbour Town tough is the greens, at 4,500 square feet they are some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour to hit, so it makes sense that scramblers do well since the course ranked 42nd last year (62.99, 8th best on tour) and 45th in 2018. It was 46th in 2017, 26th in 2016, and 49th best in 2015 which in this case meant that the average player got it up and down 64.68% of the time, only three courses saw averages higher so you have to scramble well to exist. Last year’s winner C.T. Pan ranked T-16th while 2018 champion Satoshi Kodaira was T-13th mostly because he hit a lot of greens.
Last we pick a stat rarely used, strokes gained putting. That’s because at Hilton Head putting well doesn’t mean much, but you still have to make those nasty 4 to 8 footers. Last year in this stat Pan ranked 5th while in 2018 Kodaira ranked T-13th.

So as you can see the secret for Harbour Town is not brute force, but finesse and total control over your game. When you look at the champions at this course, every one of them is ranked in the bottom of driving distance and the longest is Davis Love III who won last in 2003. So think of it, every champion since has not hit it long, something that you won’t see at any other event on the PGA Tour. So the thought for the week is to hit it short and straight.

*Driving Accuracy: Percentage of fairways hit, last year Heritage finished 21st in this stat, 24th in 2018, 21st in 2017, 18th in 2016 and was 36th in 2015.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is a great barometer on how good players manage their games around Harbour Town, last year Harbour Town ranked 6th in this stat last year and in 2018. Every year the players that hit lots of greens do well.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the areas around the greens are mowed short and are left with really hard shots to get it close, scrambling is important. You are not going to be perfect so you have to make sure you can make pars from some tough places

*Strokes Gained Putting: Who gains the most strokes with their putter, since Harbour Town’s greens are so small you will see fewer putts as you won’t have as many three-putts but you still need to make those putts under ten feet.

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2020 with 141 of the 156 players having stats:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

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