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Jon Riley 14th Apr 2010 - 13:52

Furyk Victory on the Horizon at the Verizon....Heritage

The Masters has finished for another year, Phil Mickelson's green jacket will have been hung in his winner's wardrobe alongside his other two and Lee Westwood will still be wondering if he is destined to never win a major.

This week the PGA moves onto the Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

We leave behind the excitement and glamour of Augusta and set our sights on the Verizon Heritage, not quite a major, but still a terrific event to watch and participate.

The Harbour Town course has been the home of the event for the tournament's entire 42 year history. The course has consistently been voted one of America's finest, very different from the majority of those across the pond from us.

What makes the course tough is the greens, at 4,300 square feet they are some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour. Harbour Town demands precise iron play. Over the last eight years they have been difficult to hit, of all the tournaments the U.S. Open is the only one that ranks harder to hit than the greens of Hilton Head.

Over the years putting and hitting greens have been key to winning at Harbour Town. It you look at the list of Heritage champions all of them are good putters, especially from the ten to twenty feet range.

That's exactly what last year's winner Brian Gay managed to do. His excellent scrambling and accurate driving skills set him up to blow away the field, eventually taking the title by 10 shots, setting a tournament record in the process. He is 25/1 to make it back to back successes.

That is the feat that Boo Weekley performed in 2007 and 2008. He was much improved at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and on a course he knows well he could well surprise a few. He's priced at a big 40/1 to rediscover the magic he showed in chipping in the 17th and 18th in 2007 to defeat Ernie Els.

The player currently leading the betting is Jim Furyk. The man with the most famous swing in golf is priced at 14/1 to make this season only his third with multiple victories after he took the 2010 Transitions Championship ahead of KJ Choi.

This course suits his game perfectly and despite missing the cut at Augusta last week he is sixth in all-time earnings at this Heritage tournament despite never winning it.

Talking of Choi, he played excellently to finish tied for fourth in last week's Masters. He has not played this course since 2001 but his record of ten tournaments without missing a cut and finishing within the top 25 in his last four are well worthy of respect. The South Korean is 20/1 to beat the field here.

England's best hopes of success in South Carolina look to be on the shoulders of Paul Casey and Luke Donald.

Casey is second favourite for the event at 16/1. Until missing the cut at the Masters he had finished second and tied for tenth, fourth and sixth respectively on the PGA Tour in 2010. If he can get over a few niggling injuries he could well be worth a punt.

Our other bright hope Luke Donald tied for second here last year. Like many of the favourites his game is well suited to the course where accuracy can prevail over brute strength. The Hertfordshire golfer is a very decent 33/1 to bring the trophy home.

Finally I would like to highlight the importance of the 17th hole. This intimidating par 3 will test the nerves of any tournament leader as the green is surrounded by water and a 90 yard bunker. Added to this the high head or cross winds that the hole regularly experiences it could prove a daunting penultimate green to hit. Could this be where the Verizon Heritage golf tournament is won or lost?



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