The PGA Championship was moved from August to May this year. As a result, these events between the Masters and the next major should be stronger than we’ve seen in past years. If this year’s RBC Heritage is any kind of indication of what we can expect, we’re in for a real treat. The board is full of players ranging from great to elite and there are a lot of terrific players in the second tier as well.
With so many standouts in the field, we’ll really have to look deep to find some money-saving players so that we can put a few of the top guys in the lineup. Fortunately, that’s what we look to do every week here at BangTheBook with value options.
Cameron Smith ($7,900) – This will be the third start at Harbour Town Golf Links for Cameron Smith. He’s played well here in the past, shooting three rounds in the 60s in 2018 and four rounds of par or better in 2017. That won’t win him the tournament by any means, but he’s also a better player now than he was then. Smith has a lot of skills that translate well to this course. He’s top 40 in strokes gained approach and top 20 in both strokes gained around the green and strokes gained putting. If you’ve seen this course, you know about all of the greenside hazards and other problems, so a guy that can dial it up with the short irons and wedges can give himself a good chance.
Justin Harding ($7,900) – Justin Harding may be a popular streamer this week after his top-15 at the Masters, but there’s more to him than just that. Harding won the Qatar Masters and was second in the Kenya Open, as he had 40 birdies and just 12 bogeys over those two events. Recently one of the top players on the Sunshine Tour, Harding has also played well this year in Mauritius, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. This kid is just a solid player that hasn’t been exposed to too many North American events. After getting a late invitation into this one, you know he’d love to make the most of it. He’s a solid player.
Matt Wallace ($7,300) – Some recency bias will probably keep a lot of people away from Matt Wallace this week. With a MC at the Masters and a T-30th at the PLAYERS Championship, the bandwagon has emptied. Wallace had four top-20 finishes on the European Tour from December 5 to January 23, including a runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic. He was 20th at the Honda Classic and sixth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. So he met his match with TPC Sawgrass and Augusta. This course, while tough, isn’t on par with those tracks. This is a good week for a bounce back, especially after getting a little extra rest on Saturday and Sunday last weekend.
Byeong Hun An ($8,200) – We do have to look a little bit up the board for our last two players, but it would be a good idea to add Byeong Hun An to your roster this week. An did not qualify for the Masters last week, so he had some additional time off. E played extremely well at the Valero Open right before the Masters and also had a top-10 finish at the Arnold Palmer. An heads into this week second in strokes gained tee to green, first in strokes gained around the green, and he’s top 11 in both driving distance and strokes gained off the tee. If he could make some putts, he’d be right there. He’s outside the top 200 in strokes gained putting. These surfaces are small, but not as tricky as most courses, so his seventh from last year could be a good indicator of what we’ll get here.
Sungjae Im ($8,400) – Sungjae Im didn’t get into the Masters, but that could be a blessing in disguise. Im played a ton of golf early in the PGA Tour season. He’s riding a run of three straight top-20 finishes into this week’s RBC Heritage and a refresher can only help in his quest to get into the PGA Championship. Im has had a stellar season statistically, but just hasn’t gotten that victory. He’s top 40 in par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained off the tee, and strokes gained on approach. Not bad for a kid learning every course as he goes. Hopefully he can get himself an invite or simply make a big enough push with these events to force his way into the field.