Expert picks: RBC Heritage


The focus of the golf world now descends upon Magnolia Lane and Augusta National for the season's first major. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: Englishman lost in a playoff last year at Harbour Town and after a slow start last week at Augusta National, he finished strong with a 4-under 68.

Group 2: Stewart Cink: Former Heritage champion had bookend rounds of 71 (Thursday) and 69 (Sunday) at the Masters. it was his middle efforts - Friday and Saturday (75-81) - that are concerning but Cink is starting to show signs of life.

Group 3: Brian Gay: Light-hitting ballstrikers with smooth putting strokes seem to do well at Harbour Town and Gay is the prototype champion. He won the Heritage by 10 in 2009 and at seventh in total putting, he's an easy pick.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: As reclamation projects go Weekley may not be the easiest pick, but consider that the two-time Heritage champion has shown glimpses of his former self in recent weeks (T-3 in Puerto Rico and T-14 in Houston) and after Bubba Watson's victory last week he's looking to keep the run going for Milton, Fla.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Jim Furyk: He has all the components of what I look for in a winner - recent form and past success. Won this event in 2010 and also has a pair of runner-up finishes here, as well as strong recent performances at the Masters, Bay Hill and Transitions.

Group 2: Bryce Molder: He's had a solid season so far (six top-20 finishes in eight events) and it's gone relatively unnoticed. With the way he's performing with his irons this season, I think he finds his form and hangs around near the top this weekend.

Group 3: Brian Gay: What a clinic he put on here three years ago en route to his 10-stroke romp of the field. Channeling confidence here this week would certainly bring his season back in the right direction, and his impressive scrambling and sand save percentages also give him an edge.

Group 4: James Driscoll: He comes in off a T-8 in Houston and I am drawn to the stats in which he currently leads the Tour. He's first in approaches from 75-110 yards and first in putting from 5-10 feet, which are great stats for a short Harbour Town course with small greens.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Luke Donald: Finished off the Masters with a solid 68, lost in a playoff here last year and is a fixture in the top three at Harbour Town.

Group 2: Brian Davis: Consecutive top-5 finishes make him a hot player and, because of his honesty here in the 2010 playoff against Jim Furyk, this place owes him one.

Group 3: Harris English: English told me last year that he likes tree-lined courses. Well, this is about as tree-lined as it gets on Tour.

Group 4: Brian Harman: Harman is 13th in the all-around ranking and has bounced back nicely after each of his two prior poor starts this year.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Luke Donald: In his last three Harbour Town appearances, Donald's finished second, T-3 and T-2.

Group 2: Ricky Barnes: Just one strong finish so far this year (third at Pebble Beach), but Harbour Town inspires him (T-4 and T-5 finishes here).

Group 3: Brian Gay: Hey, he's won at Harbour Town before (2009) and has another top-10 finish.

Group 4: Vaughn Taylor: Steady efforts this year, looking for a peak performance this week.

John Hawkins

Group 1: Jim Furyk: 2010 Heritage champion only a few weeks removed from a playoff loss at Innisbrook and had a great showing at Augusta last week.

Group 2: Brian Davis: Coming in off of back-to-back top-5 finishes at Bay Hill and Houston. After a rules infraction cost him in a playoff two years ago, this course may owe him a good finish.

Group 3: Henrik Stenson: Backed him last week and it nearly paid dividends; Stenson is clearly a streaky player as evidenced at Augusta but I think he'll finish well this week.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: The two-time Heritage winner is on the upward swing. After solid finishes in Puerto Rico and Houston do not be surprised to see his name on the board on Sunday.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Luke Donald: No. 1-ranked golfer in the world has finished second twice and third once in the last three years at Harbour Town. Come get some.

Group 2: Brian Davis: T-4s in his last two starts this season. Unfinished business from his unfortunate rules infraction here in 2010 when he lost in a playoff.

Group 3: Brian Gay: Chalk pick. Perfectly suited for Harbour Town. Owns the tournament record at 20-under 264 in 2009.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: Two-time champion has another two top-15s in five starts here. Playing consistently well of late.

 **Join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at**

Tune in to Golf Channel this Thursday-Friday from 3:00p-6:00p ET for live coverage of the RBC Heritage.