Rebounding from the Masters on Hilton Head


2007 Verizon HeritageComing off the year's first major, the PGA TOUR heads to Hilton Head Island for the Verizon Heritage as it has every year after the Masters since 1983.
The Verizon Heritage has gone through several name changes over the years, but it dates back to 1969 when Arnold Palmer won the initial event.
Davis Love III and Jim Furyk
Davis Love and Jim Furyk will be battling it out at Harbour Town Golf Links. (WireImage)
North Carolina native Davis Love III has owned this event. Despite a tie for 47th last year, he has ruled this event having played here every year since turning professional in 1986.
Love has won this title five times and has 11 top-10s in 21 starts. He has carded 56 of 75 rounds at par or better at Harbour Town.
Last year an Australian ruled the day. Aaron Baddeley shared the lead entering the final round with former U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk. During an up-and-down round, Baddeley led by two through five, but fell two behind Furyk after 11 holes.
Baddeley rallied with birdies on 14 and 15, two of the hardest holes at Harbour Town, to grab the lead for good. He sank a 6-footer for par at the last to hold off Furyk and claim his first PGA TOUR crown.
Zach Johnson might not be feeling any pain this week after picking up the green jacket Sunday at the Masters, but only Bernhard Langer has followed up a win at Augusta with a victory here.
Following the year's first major, just six of the top-20 players in the world are competing this week led by world No. 2 Jim Furyk. Johnson, who soared to No. 15 in the world with the Masters win, is scheduled to play.
The GOLF CHANNEL opens with three hours of coverage the first two rounds before handing off to the CBS team for the final two rounds.
The PGA TOUR heads to Louisiana next week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Chris Couch chipped in for par on the final hole there last year to earn the win. He is expected to defend his title at the TPC Louisiana.
But, as for this week, here are our five favorites for the Verizon Heritage:
Jim Furyk
Coming off a tie for 13th at Augusta, Furyk returns to Hilton Head with an axe to grind. Although he is without a win in eight career starts, he has posted three straight top-10 finishes, including back-to-back runner-ups the past two years. Known as a shot-makers course, the layout at Harbour Town Golf Links sets up well for the world's No. 2 player.
Davis Love III
The King of Hilton Head will be playing in his 22nd straight Verizon Heritage, a streak that began back in 1986 when it was known as the Sea Pines Heritage Classic. It took Love just one try before grabbing his first victory in the event. He has since racked up another four wins, becoming one of a handful of players to win the same PGA TOUR event five times.
Aaron Baddeley
Aaron Baddeley was the second straight Aussie to win at the Heritage last year. (WireImage)
Aaron Baddeley
With his win here last year, young Aussie Baddeley finally joined the ranks of winners on the PGA TOUR after showing such promise as a rookie back in 2003. He followed up fellow Aussie Peter Lonard's win in '05 to join Lonard and Greg Norman as the only Australian champions. He currently ranks in the top-10 on TOUR in putting and in birdie average.
Stephen Ames
Ames has had a couple of strong performances the last two years he's played in Hilton Head with a tie for sixth in '05 and a tie for seventh the year prior. He is starting to become more of a regular on the leaderboard following his huge win at last season's PLAYERS Championship. Ames had a good run at the WGC - Match Play Championship and posted a top-10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Stewart Cink
The 34-year-old Cink comes in with an outstanding record at Harbour Town, notching a pair of victories and two other top-10s in just seven starts. He defeated Ted Purdy in a marathon playoff that lasted five holes before Cink made birdie to win it back in '04. He's one of eight players to have won this tournament on multiple occasions, also doing so in 2000.
Here are four other players to look out for in Hilton Head:
Vaughn Taylor
Taylor gave it a good run in his native Augusta, Ga., last week, tying for 10th. He will be in search of his third career TOUR win this week, and his first outside of Las Vegas. Taylor opened in 63 here last year and closed in 66 on his way to a tie for third.
Justin Rose
The Englishman tied for fifth at the Masters, having held a share of the lead after the first round and having had a great chance to win on Sunday. Fifteen times now he has finished inside the top 5 in a TOUR event, but he has yet to break through with a win. In three Heritage starts, his best finish is a tie for seventh in 2004. Hes one of the better putters on TOUR, currently second in putts per green hit in regulation.
Billy Mayfair
Mayfair has played this tournament every year since 1989. He had only one top-10 over his first 12 starts at Harbour Town, but has three top-5s over his last six appearances. He tied for third a year ago, matching his best finish on TOUR in 2006.
Scott Verplank
Verplank is one of the most consistent players on TOUR, despite not having won since 2001. He has finished in the top 50 on the money list each of the last seven seasons. Now if he can just get that victory. Verplank has three top-10 finishes in the last six years at Harbour Town.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Verizon Heritage
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    Information from Sports Network was used in this article.