With the first major of the year in the books, the PGA Tour heads up the road to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. A field of 144 players will tackle Harbour Town Golf Links, where driving distance is essentially irrelevant and a strong emphasis is placed upon the ability to accurately shape approach shots. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:
• Few players on the PGA Tour have an affinity for a single course the likes of which Boo Weekley holds for Harbour Town. Weekley possesses just two career PGA Tour victories, with both coming at Hilton Head - in consecutive years, no less - and he currently ranks third on the event's all-time money list, having amassed nearly $2.4 million. Weekley, who was a runner-up earlier this year in Tampa, also has three top-15 finishes here since 2009, including a tie for sixth last year.
• With Harbour Town offering some of the smallest greens players will face all year, it's not surprising that this tournament has provided some of the lowest putt-per-round totals in PGA Tour history. Kenny Knox set a Tour record when he took only 93 putts here in 1989, a mark that David Frost bettered by one in 2005 (though it should be noted that neither went on to win the event). In recent years, six of the last seven Heritage champions have taken less than 104 putts for the week (an average of 26 putts per round), with the lone exception coming when Weekley won in 2008 despite taking 107 putts.
• Along with small targets, Harbour Town is known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways, which puts a premium on finding the fairway off the tee. Three of the last four winners have finished the week in the top 10 in driving accuracy, with Carl Pettersson serving as an outlier last year (it helped that he led the field in GIR percentage despite hitting only 37 fairways). This bodes well for players like Ken Duke, Jeff Maggert and Tim Clark, all of whom rank among the top five on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and have found the short grass off the tee more than 72 percent of the time in 2013.
• If the golfing gods believe in karma (though there is plenty of evidence to suggest they do not), Brian Davis may be in for a good result this week. The Englishman, who notably finished second to Jim Furyk in 2010 after calling a penalty on himself during the first hole of their playoff, has played well here in the two years since, tying for 21st in 2011 and 13th in 2012. Davis also played well earlier this month in Texas, tying for sixth at the Shell Houston Open and finishing T-29 in San Antonio the following week.
• Though he only has one top-three finish on the PGA Tour to his credit, there is reason to think Graham DeLaet could be poised for a breakthrough soon. The Canadian, who tied for ninth at both the Farmers Insurance Open and the Honda Classic, currently stands second overall on Tour in ball-striking. DeLaet is also fifth in GIR percentage, fifth in total driving and has made six consecutive cuts. Should his putter begin to heat up - he's currently only 104th on Tour in strokes gained putting - he may be able to improve substantially upon last year's T-44 result.