This week, after the excitement of The Masters, the PGA Tour catches its breath just a short hop away in Hilton Head, SC where players will be pursuing a jacket of another color at the RBC Heritage.
Harbour Town Golf Links again plays host, testing players with its unique combination of tiny greens and narrow, tree-lined holes. Accuracy is at a premium this week and, historically, those players who have had the best chance to slip on the traditional champion's tartan blazer are those who can find fairways off the tee and control the distances they hit their irons.
However, Harbour Town doesn't always require a conservative approach. Case in point - the defending champion, Titleist golf ball loyalist Branden Grace (Pro V1x), who captured his first PGA Tour crown at last year's RBC Heritage by attacking the seaside layout.
"I play the golf course a lot differently than most of the other guys," Grace explained. "I play really aggressively. I like to hit my driver and longer clubs off the tees. It allows me to go into the greens with a lot shorter irons than most. You need to (practice) some wedge play, for myself, some wedge drills, getting your numbers right and that sort of stuff. For me it's the pitching shots and the driver."
Conditions were ideal for scoring on Thursday as Grace began his title defense with a 3-under-par 68. Certainly a respectable start for the South African, but he currently sits five shots behind the blistering pace set by Titleist Brand Ambassador Bud Cauley (Pro V1x), who reeled off eight birdies en route to a spotless 8-under-par 63.
Cauley leads a host of Pro V1 and Pro V1x players, including Grace, who are crowding the top of the current leaderboard. And once again at the RBC Heritage, Titleist is the overwhelming golf ball choice with 94 players trusting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball for their success. That’s more than seven times the nearest competitor with 15 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist is also the top choice of players in the hybrids (28) and irons (41) categories. Vokey Design Wedges topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (161) category. Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice in the putter (48) category.
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- This is the 49th staging of the RBC Heritage. Pete Dye designed the par 71, 7,101 yard layout in 1969. This marks the sixth straigh year that the RBC Heritage has followed The Masters.
- Three players are currently tied for 2nd, each of whom are relying on a Titleist golf ball to keep pace with first-round leader two shots behind Bud Cauley. This weekend, keep your eye on Titleist Brand Ambassador Graham DeLaet (Pro V1x), Titleist golf ball loyalist Luke Donald (Pro V1x) and Titleist golf ball loyalist Sam Saunders (Pro V1x), who all got off to fast starts with scores of 6-under-par 65.
- Luke Donald (Pro V1x) has finished in the top-3 a remarkable six times in 11 previous starts at Harbour Town (T2-2016, 2nd-2014, T3-2013, 2nd-2011, T3-2010, T2-2009). Since 1934 (official PGA Tour events) Donald is one of 14 players who have recorded four runner-up finishes at the same event.
- Another player to watch out for this week is Titleist golf ball loyalist Davis Love III (Pro V1), who has won this event an incredible five times (1987, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2003), two more than any other player. The winning U.S. Ryder Cup captain is making his 29th start at Harbor Town. Love (53) played in is 100th tournament round on Thursday, and he’s seeking his 12th top-ten finish at this event.
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Now this is the way to start off a tournament! Performing the honors, Titleist Pro V1x loyalist and defending RBC Heritage champion, Branden Grace.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Zac Blair shares some insight into one of the more unique holes at Harbour Town Golf Links, the short par-4 9th:
Titleist Brand Ambassador Kevin Na shares the custom Vokey K-Grind lob wedge he'll be trusting this week:
An invitation to caption this photo from Titleist Brand Ambassador Graham DeLaet:
Some highlights from Titleist Brand Ambassador Bud Cauley, who birdied 4 of his final 5 holes to take the first-round lead.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist this week in Hilton Head!