What an Easter weekend! Bubba Watson carded four straight birdies on the back 9 Sunday to win the 2012 Masters in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen. The final round was full of excitement, starting early with Bo Van Pelt’s scorching 64, which featured an ace at the 16th. Adam Scott also aced the 16th en route to a 66 and a T8 finish. In the last few groups we saw everything that makes the Masters special; lead changes, dramatic eagles (and double eagles), and costly errors. At the end of the day, Watson was able to outlast a solid Oosthuizen for his first major win, topped off by an emotional hug with his caddy on the 10th green. After another exciting week in Augusta, the PGA tour heads to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage, and it’s time to take a look at who to target for your fantasy golf games this week.
Last year Brandt Snedeker shot a final round 64 to come from behind and defeat Luke Donald in a playoff. It was Snedeker’s 2nd PGA Tour win (2007 Wyndham Championship). Although a tough defeat, things have only gotten better for Donald since then as he now finds himself the world’s #1 ranked golfer. With a short game that’s second to none, it’s not hard to see why Donald always seems to find himself on the leaderboard each weekend. A runner-up last year, look for Donald to get his redemption this year and continue to prove why he is the best golfer in the world. Here are my fantasy golf picks for the 2012 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town;
The Favorite – Luke Donald
After a dramatic playoff loss last year, Donald is ready for revenge. He shot 68 on Sunday in what was otherwise a forgettable Masters performance. Although he didn’t win the green jacket he so badly wanted, Donald could find himself wearing a different (albeit tackier) jacket this weekend in Hilton Head. Harbour Town is one of the shorter courses on Tour, something that suits an excellent iron player like Donald. Along with being short, Harbour Town also features arguably the smallest greens on the PGA schedule. For a guy who ranks 2nd in scrambling this year, Donald owns one of the best short games in the world, exactly what you need on these miniature putting surfaces. His solid ball striking and lights-out touch around the greens make him the favorite to win the tournament that escaped him last year.
In the Hunt – Jason Dufner
Dufner has proven in his last two major starts that he can compete with the big boys. He has finished in the top-15 four times this season, and seems poised to earn his first PGA Tour win. Dufner finished T14 in the Heritage last year, months before he burst onto the scene with his 2nd place finish at the PGA Championship. He ranks 15th in ball-striking on Tour this season, but must improve on his putting if he wants to contend this year (94th in total putting). If he can find his way on the greens, look for Dufner to be at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Dark Horse – Bud Cauley
One of the few players in history to earn his tour card without having to go to Q-School, Cauley took full advantage of the sponsors exemptions he received last year. The former All-American at Alabama is one of the hottest players on Tour right now, coming off consecutive top-10 finishes at Bay Hill and Houston. Cauley knows how to get the ball in the hole, ranking 2nd in total birdies, as well as 4th in par five performance this season. Playing the best golf of his short PGA Tour career, look for this 22 year old to make some noise this weekend.
Hometown Hopeful – Tommy Gainey
Two Gloves mania descended on Harbour Town last year, and the locals couldn’t get enough of this free-swinging southerner. The Camden, South Carolina native matched his career best finish with a 3rd place showing, the highlight of what turned out to be a breakout year. After the tournament, Gainey admitted that he considers The Heritage the second best event on Tour behind The Masters. Although that’s high praise, it shows just how much this week means to him. Gainey hasn’t gotten off to the best start this year, but a week in front of his hometown fans could be just what he needs to jumpstart his season. Look for the mania to be in full force at Hilton Head once again this year.
Cullen’s Call – My money is on Donald. The disappointment of that playoff loss last year will be his motivation this week, and I expect him to be wearing the plaid jacket come Sunday.