RBC Heritage and Open de España Preview & Masters Round Up

Masters Round Up

What a weekend! Patrick Reed 2018 Masters Champion. Sunday afternoon had it all; a hole in one, a spirited fightback from the chasing pack, a look in at the course record and a new Masters champion and maiden major victory for Patrick Reed. A controversial figure on tour, we couldn’t help but feel sorry for Reed with the reception he received walking up to the 18th much subdued in comparison to the receptions given to fan favourites Fowler and Spieth moments before. Despite all the stories around his prior conduct and his cocky disposition, this was his moment and the displeasure amongst the Augusta patrons was noticeable even on the TV with reluctant applause the order of the day.

Talking points of the final day include an incredible round from Jordan Spieth who was unlucky to miss out on setting a new course record after making a real mess of the 18th hole. A great round nonetheless and we are certain that he will add to his collection of green jackets in the future. Tony Finau (after dislocating his ankle on Wednesday afternoon) put together a wild run of 6 straight birdies on his back 9 to finish the week strongly and in a tie for 10th place. Another strong finish came from Rickie Fowler who now has 2 top 5 finishes in each of the majors, surely it is only a matter of time before he gets his first.

Looking back at how our tips finished:

T32 – Tiger Woods
3 – Jordan Spieth
T12 – Charley Hoffman
T28 – Matt Kuchar

T5 – Bubba Watson
T36 – Phil Mickelson
T12 – Justin Rose
T44 – Brian Harman

T12 – Justin Rose
T24 – Branden Grace
T15 – Paul Casey
T38 – Bryson DeChambeau

T38 – Fred Couples
M/C – Angel Cabrera
M/C – Subhankar Sharma
19 – Hideki Matsuyama

Looking ahead to this week we have the Open de España on the European Tour and the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour.

Open de España

With a purse of only €1,500,000, the Open de España returns to the European Tour calendar after being absent in 2017. Played at the relatively short 6,622 yard Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, the Open de España has attracted a number of top Spanish players this year including Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello fresh from their strong performances at Augusta. Other than those big names, the field is not the strongest with many of the Top European players choosing to have a rest week after the Masters.

Centro Nacional de Golf is an interesting choice for this tournament as it is a public golf course and World number 3 Rahm will feel right at home on its fairways and greens having played here as a junior. Previous winners of this tournament (and previous iterations of the tournament) in the field include Andrew Johnston, James Morrison, Alvaro Quiros, Raphael Jacquelin and Thomas Aiken.

HotShotGolf Picks

Jon Rahm – 4/1

A rare appearance on the European Tour for Rahm. Heavy favourite to triumph at the course he called home as a junior golfer. Some excellent early season form has seen him secure a win at the Career Builder on the PGA tour and 2 further top 4 finishes including 4th place at last week Masters – it will be difficult for the rest of the field to compete if he carries this form into this week.

Rafa Cabrera Bello – 14/1

Unsurprisingly, the world number 24 is 2nd favourite behind Rahm to take home the title in Spain this week. Rafa will be looking to add to the €840,000+ he has made on the European Tour already this year. 2018 has seen him gain more than 10 yards off the tee and reduce his average putts per round by more than 2 which has resulted in his scoring average falling to an impressive career low of 69.2.

Sam Horsfield – 50/1

The 21 year old Englishman will be making his first appearance at the Open de España and despite a top 15 on the PGA tour and two top 5s on the European Tour he has had a remarkably inconsistent year so far having also missed 5 cuts. Accuracy off the tee tends to be Horsfield’s undoing so this shorter course could give him the chance to show his true skill without having to take risks with the driver.

RBC Heritage

The week after the Masters is RBC Heritage week, South Carolina’s showpiece on the PGA Tour at the iconic Harbour Town Links. This is the 50th running of the RBC Heritage and the winner on Sunday will not only take home the winners share of the $6.7m prize fund ($1.2m), the winners trophy but also a very dashing tartan jacket. The tournament is famous for it’s traditions (including a ceremonial tee shot hit into the harbour accompanied by cannons and a pipe band. Davis Love III has won here 5 times and Luke Donald has been runner up 5 times. The tournament holds the record for most players making the weekend cut with 91 players making the cut in 2013.

Harbour Town Links was Jack Nicklaus’ first foray into golf course design and is an iconic course which regularly ranks as one of the best in the USA. It is the only PGA event held in South Carolina and despite having played at the Masters last week, World number 1 Dustin Johnson is expected to take to the tee at his home state event. The par 71, 7,099 yard course must be carefully plotted around with narrow tree lined fairways and water in play on a number of holes. Good scoring is possible however and the course record stands at an astonishing 10 under par (61), last set in 2015 by Troy Merritt.

HotShotGolf Picks

Luke Donald – 45/1

7 top three finishes in the last 9 years must count for something. Donald is yet to win this tournament despite holding the 54 hole lead on 3 separate occasions. He loves it here where he can use his accuracy to carefully plan his route around the challenging course. Has had the week to rest and prepare, but history is not on his side with only 7 of the past 35 winners having not played at Augusta the week before the tournament.

Dustin Johnson – 15/2

World number 1 and playing at his home state event. The script couldn’t be better, but in practice Johnson has struggled here in the past. Has not quite hit top gear yet this year but showed some scintillating form in moments at the Masters. Ignore at your peril.

Cameron Smith – 25/1

Up until a few weeks ago we had never heard of Cameron Smith but the baby faced Australian is in a hot streak of form. Sliding under the radar he has reached a world ranking of 39 he won the Australian PGA Championship earlier in the year and has recorded 5 top 6 finishes on the PGA tour including his last two finishes – 5th at both the WGC Match play and last week at the Masters. It is only a matter of time before he gets his first PGA tour win if he can keep up this form.

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All odds taken from skybet.com on 9 April 2018

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