We could hardly have more contrasting atmospheres two weeks running on the PGA Tour and, following the year's first major, many of the stars have chosen to unwind at the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
According to Matt Kuchar - 15.00 - it's one of his favourite stops all year and the American talks about it being like a retreat for many of the Georgia and specifically Sea Island boys. It's only about a 100 mile drive for many of them and this week's preview will centre around that theme.
There are a host of PGA Tour players besides Kuchar from around the Sea Island area, many of whom congregate at Frederica golf club. Harris English - 26.00 - is a self-confessed lover of tree-lined tracks and well fancied this week, and he rooms with his doppelganger Hudson Swafford. Zach Johnson - 26.00 - is another of the market leaders hailing from the St. Simons Island zone, and Davis Love - 126.00 - has made the short Harbour Town trip on numerous occasions and been rewarded with no less than five victories in the process.
The course - Harbour town Golf Links
A tree-lined track playing just 7,100 yards to a par of 71, Harbour Town is one of the shorter and tightest tracks on tour. Key here is accuracy from the tee and it's not just important to hit the fairways - you must hit the correct side of them to avoid the overhanging tree branches on approaches. These approach shots will be into very small and tricky greens so scrambling will always play a big part on surfaces so hard to hit. The coastal breezes add to the test on Hilton Head Island so look for ball strikers and shot makers ala Boo Weekley - 91.00 - to prevail.
Three from the pack
Chris Kirk currently resides in St. Simons Island and is a relatively decent price for me this week at 56.00 or 12.00 the place. Arguably, besides Colonial, the Waialae track at the Sony Open in Hawaii is the closest test to that which the guys will face at Harbour Town links; Kirk has an excellent record there and once again came close this year, just losing out to Jimmy Walker. The American tied for 20th at the Masters and ranked 3rd in scrambling in 2013 - a vital component for success in both Hilton Head and Waialae.
Stewart Cink lives in Duluth, Georgia and is a multiple winner at this week's venue. Cink has been on the radar all year in patchy form but closed out the Masters last week with a 68. He opened with a 67 the week previous in Houston and shows a progressive form-line of 66-58-14 in tough events. A return to a course that obviously suits his game may make 81.00 or 17.00 the top five look big come Sunday.
Back to the Sea Island theme now and Brian Harman is another who I've been waiting to back at the right track since he impressed with a T3 at Riviera - a course that arguably, in theory, should play a little too long for Harman (although conditions were firm that week). Top 25s at the Valspar and the Valero followed and Brian showed what he can do on the big stage when shooting 61 at the Honda a couple of years back. One to watch this week at a three figure quote of 101.00 or 19.00 the place.
I mentioned there's a premium on driving accuracy and scrambling this week and a straight hitting, resurgent Justin Leonard - 151.00 or 26.00 - tops the 2014 scrambling stats. Leonard is also a former winner at Harbour Town and came close to a win early in the season at the Humana challenge. Justin is simmering form wise with two decent outings in Texas and if it wasn't for a mare of a third round (81) at Redstone, would be a lot shorter in price here.