50th RBC Heritage
Hilton Head Island, SC
Beginning the final round six shots back, World No. 46 Satoshi Kodaira twirled a 5-under-par 33-33=66 on Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links to post the clubhouse lead on 12-under 272 – matched five groups later by Si Woo Kim – and then defeated him with birdie on the third hole of sudden death, the par-3 17th, to claim his first PGA TOUR title in 15 events.
In the playoff, the duo matched par 4s on the first two playoff holes (18-18) before the Tokyo native and resident banged home the winner from 24'6". South Korea’s Kim, who lives in Dallas, missed his birdie try from 20’10” to extend.
Kim, playing out of the final threesome with 54-hole leader Ian Poulter and Luke List, had a chance to win in regulation but whiffed his birdie putt from 6’4” on the 72nd hole for even-par 71. Poulter shot 75 for T7 and List 72 for T3.
Kodaira, making his tournament debut as a 200/1 outright, is the first non-member to win since Danny Willett’s come-from-behind victory at the 2016 Masters (60/1).
With the win, he becomes eligible for – and accepted – full-time TOUR membership and leaps 19 places to a career-high 27th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Having already qualified for the 2018 Open Championship, the 28-year-old earned invites to the 2018 PGA Championship, the 2018 PLAYERS, and the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – among a host of other goodies. He can also earn a spot into the 2018 U.S. Open by winning THE PLAYERS, or more than likely, later via the OWGR.
Kodaira is no stranger to the winner’s circle, tasting victory six times on the Japan Golf Tour, including at two of their majors.
In his last 32 worldwide starts, he’s now recorded 16 top 10s, 12 of those top 5s, including three wins and two runners-up.
In the all-Iron-Man category, Kodaira finished off 2017 playing 15 WEEKS IN A ROW on the JGTO, posting 10 top 10s, seven top 5s and two wins. #Stout
Worldwide Wins by Calendar Year:
2012: 1 (Japan Challenge Tour)
FUN FACT #1: Kodaira pocketed $1,206,000 for the win. That’s good for 16th in all-time earnings in the 50-year history of the Heritage (in one visit).
FUN FACT #2: In his previous 14 TOUR starts, Kodaira had earned $162,472 or about $11,605 per start.
FUN FACT #3: Of the top 22 players on the leaderboard entering the final round, 17 of them had won on the PGA TOUR while four of them had not won but had runner-up finishes. The one outlier among this group was Kodaira.
Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):
P1- Satoshi Kodaira (200/1)
P2- Si Woo Kim (80/1)
T3- Bryson DeChambeau (33/1)
T3- Luke List (50/1)
T5- Webb Simpson (33/1)
T5- Billy Horschel (200/1)
Kodaira’s Position by Round:
R2: T13 (career- and week-low 63)
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Rory Sabbatini (finished T23): Drops to 0-for-11 as 18-hole leader/co-leader
R2: Bryson DeChambeau (T3): Drops to 0-for-4 as 36-hole leader/co-leader
R3: Ian Poulter (T7): Drops to 1-for-4 as 54-hole leader/co-leader
R4: Satoshi Kodaira (P1): Improves playoff record to 1-0
R4: Si Woo Kim (P2): Drops to 0-2 (2016 Barbasol)
Entering the week, Kodaira had played 43 rounds on TOUR and had been in the top 10 just one other time. He was T6 thru 36 holes at the 2017 Sony Open with 65-66, the 66 being his previous low, eventually finishing T49 (70-71).
FUN FACT #4: In four TOUR starts in 2017, Kodaira was very consistent:
T46 (U.S. Open)
T48 (PGA Championship)
Kodaira’s previous-best finish on TOUR was T28 last week in his Masters debut.
It was his third straight made cut in majors (five events total) and posted three rounds of par or better (71-74-71-72). Kodaira was also the second-best debutant at the 82nd Masters to Tony Finau’s T10.
Of the 19 first-timers this week, he was the only top-10 finisher. This was also the first time that he’s connected three straight sub-par rounds on TOUR.
On a difficult day for scoring – winds 15-25 mph, gusts to 35 – Kodaira’s Sunday 66 was 5.4 strokes better than the field average. Of note, he also shot a 4-under 67 in R3 at last year’s PGA Championship (Quail Hollow Club) in the other Carolina, which tied the low round of the day and was 5.2 strokes better than the field.
Season Form: P1-28-59-MC-54-MC
Key Weekly Stats (ranking):
Par-4 Scoring: (2nd)
Driving Accuracy: (T4)
Greens in Regulation: (T7)
Proximity to Hole: (1st)
SG: Off-the-Tee: (6th)
SG: Approach-the-Green: (7th)
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 50th playing of the RBC Heritage with all 50 contested at Harbour Town GL.
Kodaira is the seventh player to win the Heritage in their first attempt, second straight (Wesley Bryan). He’s also the sixth consecutive RBC winner to come from three shots back (or more) on Sunday to win.
Par: 71 (36-35)
Cumulative scoring averages:
Kodaira posted rounds of 73-63-70-66 for 11.318 SG: Total
Kim posted rounds of 68-65-68-71 for 11.318 SG: Total
Of the final six groups on Sunday (comprising 18 players), 13 players shot over-par rounds.
One player shot even-par, Kim; while Kodaira’s 66 was the best of just four sub-par rounds (by two shots).
Playing out of the sixth-to-last threesome, he hit 12 (of 14) fairways and 13 GIR, gaining 4.624 tee-to-green. He squared two bogeys at holes 8 and 17, outflanked by seven birdies at 1-3, 7, 10, 14 and 15, posting 0.792 SG: Putting with 27 total putts.
Round 4 Stats Comparison (ranking of 77 players):
Kodaira: 1.21 (9th)
Kim: 0.43 (30th)
Kodaira: 2.66 (3rd)
Kim: 1.30 (18th)
Proximity to Hole:
Kodaira: 33’3” (T12)
Kim: 44’9” (65th)
Kodaira: 0.75 (21st)
Kim: 1.61 (7th)
Kodaira: 0.79 (21st)
Kim: -2.93 (73rd)
Kodaira: 5.42 (T2)
Kim: 0.42 (T30)
Kodaira: 27 (T25)
Kim: 29 (T56)
Kodaira’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 77 players):
Birdies: 19 (T5)
Bogeys: 7 (T11)
Par-3 Scoring: 3.06 (T28)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.82 (2nd)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.58 (T31)
Driving Distance (all drives): 276.0 yards (27th)
Driving Accuracy: 42/56 (T4) at 75.00%
GIR: 49/72 (T7) at 68.06%
Proximity to Hole: 29’6” (1st)
Putts per GIR: 1.735 (T47)
Total Putts: 113 (T51)
Putts by Round: 33-23-30-27
Scrambling: 17/23 (T13) at 73.91%
All Around: 20th
SG: Off-the-Tee: 4.01 (6th)
SG: Approach-the-Green: 6.02 (7th)
SG: Around-the-Green: -1.64 (65th)
SG: Putting: 2.93 (16th)
SG: Tee-to-Green: 8.39 (7th)
A total of 77 players (76 pros, 1 amateur) from a field of 130 pros and 2 amateurs made the 36-hole cut of even-par 142:
39 (of 66) EARLY/late
38 (of 65) LATE/early; 1 WD
13 players finished in the top 10, eight of which played in the Masters:
13 (of 24) tourneys this season with a traditional draw:
EARLY/late: 6 (Kodaira)
Through 24 events this season:
8 winners were in their 20s (Kodaira: age 28)
11 were in their 30s
5 were in their 40s
R1: 64: Rory Sabbatini
R2: 63: Satoshi Kodaira
R4: 65: Harris English
Multiple Bogey-free Rounds: Poulter, Blixt (x2)
What We Learned:
At last year’s RBC:
33 players had played the Masters the week before –
1 finished in the top 10 at the RBC: William McGirt (T3)
At this year’s RBC:
32 players played the Masters –
8 finished in the top 10, including Kodaira and Kim, who finished T28 and T24, respectively at Augusta National.
15 players finished in the top 12 at last week’s Masters -
4 of those competed here:
Cameron Smith: T5 (Masters); T32 at RBC
Marc Leishman: 9th (Masters); CUT
Dustin Johnson: T10 (Masters); T16
Charley Hoffman: T12 (Masters); T23
Jon Rahm, who finished 4th at the Masters, hopped the Atlantic and won on home soil at the Open de Espana as an overwhelming 3/1 fave outright #WhatJetLag
At last year’s RBC, two players posted career bests:
Wesley Bryan (Won)
Ollie Schniederjans (T3)
(BOTH finished T42 this year)
At this year’s RBC, two players (again) posted career bests:
Satoshi Kodaira (P1); non-member
Doc Redman (T50); amateur; in field as 2017 U.S. Amateur champion
Si Woo Kim: Of note, the 22-year-old posted the first bogey-free round of last week’s Masters with 68 in Round 3. It wound up being one of only four bogey-free laps for the whole week. That was a definite sign.
He had also finished T9 at the WGC-Match Play the start prior, winning Group 15 (as a 50-seed) with a 2-0-1 record before losing to 2-seed Justin Thomas 6-and-5 in the Round of 16. It was his best finish and first top 10 in six WGC’s. Another sign.
Also, it was surprising to note, at least for this writer, that he had not WD’d from any tourneys this season in 14 previous starts. Kim had become known for mid-tourney WD’s, six last season in 30 starts, but apparently, that’s all behind him.
He was chasing his third TOUR title in 87 events, first since the 2017 PLAYERS (also a Pete Dye design), but settles for a second runner-up. It’s also his fifth career top-3 finish, eclipsing a previous-season-best 3rd at the OHL Classic.
Season Form: P2-24-9-MC-59-MC-62
FedExCup Rank: 26th (UP 24)
OWGR: 39th (UP 12)
Kim went out in 3-under, circling holes 2, 5 and 9, now the leader by one over Poulter, four clear of Kodaira, who was playing the 13th. He came home in birdie-less 3-over, squaring 12, 15 (3-putt from 46'11") and 17 (missed par-saver from 5'6"). Kim also missed birdie tries at 13 and 16 from inside of eight feet.
All told, on 11 greens in regulation, he posted -2.932 in SGP.
RBC Form: P2-14
TOUR Rookies &/or First-Timers:
TOUR Rookies: 5
Top-10 finishes: 0
Austin Cook: Finished T50 on 1-under 283 (71-68-72-72). It’s the sixth time in 14 starts that he’s been low rookie.
The 27-year-old was the only rookie (of 23) that qualified for last week’s Masters. He missed the cut by five (74-80) in his major championship debut.
Season Leaders in Top-10 Finishes:
7: Brian Harman
Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:
4: Patrick Reed (1-T9-T7-T2)
3: Henrik Stenson (T5-T6-4)
2: Jordan Spieth (3-T3)
2: Paul Dunne (T8-T5); non-member
Consecutive Top-10 streaks ended at:
2: Keith Mitchell (T55-T6-2)
Updated Top 10 in FedExCup standings (points):
Kodaira collects 500 non-member FEC points for the victory and jumps 21 places to No. 1 in the Season Points for Non-Members standings. Justin Thomas (idle) remains No. 1 in the standings for a ninth event in a row and an eighth overall week this season:
1. Justin Thomas (1,769)
2. Patton Kizzire (1,329)
3. Bubba Watson (1,281)
4. Phil Mickelson (1,248)
5. Dustin Johnson (1,176); UP two
6. Patrick Reed (1,161); DOWN one
7. Jon Rahm (1,139); DOWN one
8. Justin Rose (1,014)
9. Tony Finau (1,006)
10. Paul Casey (947)
Note: Casey missed the cut this week (as a 16/1 outright), ending his consecutive cuts made streak at 29 straight. He was the TOUR-leader in this stat, leaving the No. 1 spot now to Matt Kuchar (finished T23) with 27 straight.
Updated Top 10 in OWGR:
With a Strength of Field rating of 371 (up from 292 last year), Kodaira banks 52.00 world-ranking points and jumps 19 spots to 27th in OWGR.
4. Jon Rahm
5. Justin Rose
7. Rory McIlroy
10. Sergio Garcia
Picking a Winner:
15 (of 24) winners had a top-25 finish the start prior (62.5%):
Kodaira? No: T28 (Masters)
9 (of 24) winners had a top-10 finish the start prior (37.5%)
Kodaira? No: T28 (Masters)
Average winner’s pre-tourney odds outright (rounded). Last nine:
Kodaira: 200/1 (Heritage)
Reed: 50/1 (Masters)
Poulter: 66/1 (Houston Open)
Watson: 50/1 (WGC-Match Play)
Garnett: 50/1 (Corales)
McIlroy: 16/1 (API)
Casey: 20/1 (Valspar)
Mickelson: 25/1 (WGC-Mexico)
Thomas: 10/1 (Honda)
Watson: 50/1 (Genesis)