Date: April 15th through 18th, 2010
Where: Harbour Town Golf Links Hilton Head, SC
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
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Now that weve all caught our breaths from the week that was at Augusta, its time to get back on the horse for this weeks Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town. You wont see a lot of the big names out there this week so the championship is wide open and the course is a player favorite with the famous lighthouse watching over the grounds. The event has been won by some of the best ever, including the likes of Nicklaus and Palmer but has been kind to the journeymen as well. Jim Furyk highlights the field and Brian Gay will defend his 2009 title with The Golf Channel carrying the early rounds and CBS picking up the weekend.
The players coming over from the Masters wont get a lot easier look than Augusta as Harbour Town ranked as the 17th hardest course in 2009 out of the 51 in play. The 6,973 yard, par-71 layout provides less scoring opportunities than most courses with only three par-5s and places a demand on tee shot accuracy to set up birdie chances. The course has been very favorable to the defending champ over the last few years with Aaron Baddeley following up his 2006 victory with a runner up the next year and Boo Weekley was able to go back to back with wins in 2007 and 2008.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight the players that we think have a chance to win it all. Well pick a short, middle and long odds player and breakdown a few head to head matches that can be found at various offshore sites. Our pick set is doing well in 2010 with four correct picks on the books already and we currently sit at +48 units.
Here are our picks for the 2010 Verizon Heritage:
Short Favorite: K.J. Choi (18 to 1 odds to win)
We all got a good look at K.J. in his four rounds at the Masters last week and he held up remarkably even with the throngs that followed Tiger. Hell have a lot less eyes on him this week but that should make no difference to this grinder who is playing some of his best golf of the year. Choi is eight for eight in cuts made so far and has six top-25 finishes in those with two top-5s in his last three starts. K.J. is magic into the greens, ranking 8th in GIR% and ranks 2nd in scrambling when he does miss. The rest of the stat sheet looks average at first glance, but is balanced enough to be the fifth best in the all around category and look for K.J. to get out early with the fifth best scoring average before the cut.
Middle of the Road: Brian Gay (33 to 1 odds to win)
Its almost a given that you lay some money down on the Heritage defending champ. In addition to what Baddeley and Weekley have done, Stewart Cink proved you can win more than once here with victories in 2000 and 2004. Gay is coming off consecutive trunk slams, but is the best on Tour in finding the fairway so a prolonged streak of bad play is not expected. Brian has a good track record at Harbour Town with T16 and T9 finishes in 2006 and 2007 to go along with the win last year. One key to a repeat will be making the most on the greens and Gay has been rolling hot there with top-10 ranks in both putting average and putts per round.
Longshot: Jerry Kelly (50 to 1 odds to win)
Kelly is back to playing some good golf after several injury prone years on Tour. In ten starts this year, Jerry has only missed one cut and has five top-25 finishes including a solid T12 at the Masters. There is some mojo at Harbour Town with Kelly with a T8 in 2007 and a T5 in 2006 so this may be the week that those close calls pan out. There isnt much to hang your hat on stat-wise with Kelly but he does make the most out of his rounds with a no-mistakes approach and he turns barely three birdies per round on average into a pretty solid scoring average.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches and prop bets.
Tim Clark (-115) v. Kevin Na (-115) (Clark)
There arent many in the field this week that have the game on the greens that Clark does. Tim is currently second in putting average and 9th in birdie average per round with a top-25 scoring mark. Na is a solid putter as well, but lags behind Clark in both fairways and greens hit so Tim should have more and better looks at birdie this week.
Mike Weir (-115) v. Lucas Glover (-115) (Glover)
This one is a bit tricky because youd think that Weirs huge putting average edge would be all you need to win this but Glover has the better birdie average per eighteen. Glover is also the better ballstriker so if the putter is even average this week, he should have plenty of opportunities to knock down some birdies and win this match.