Golf

Bob Gillespie

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Young guns: RBC Heritage to showcase up-and-coming PGA Tour stars

Posted 3/15/2012 11:01:00 AM

The RBC Heritage is known among PGA Tour players for its long list of big-name winners, a roster that includes Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Johnny Miller and many more. But as South Carolina’s lone Tour event prepares for its 44th edition April 12-15, some of the game’s top young stars and stars-in-the-making are signed up to test their talents at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The tournament has five “young guns” among seven recent commitments to the invitational field, including Hilton Head Island resident and former Clemson All-American Kyle Stanley, whose one-week, agony-to-ecstasy rebound to win the Phoenix Open is one of 2012’s top golf stories. Eight days after losing a three-shot lead on the final hole to fall in overtime to 2011 RBC Heritage champion Brandt Snedeker at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, Stanley came from eight shots back to overtake leader Spencer Levin and post his first Tour victory. He currently leads the FedExCup rankings and the Tour money list.

Joining Stanley at Harbour Town will be two emerging stars, both of whom played rivals of Stanley’s Clemson teams. Mark D. Anderson, a Beaufort native and former South Carolina All-American, and Savannah’s Brian Harman, a former Georgia Bulldog, have both received sponsors’ exemptions for the RBC Heritage.

It’ll be the fourth Harbour Town appearance for Anderson, who first appeared in 2009 after claiming Hilton Head’s Players Amateur in 2008. Anderson is in his first season on the PGA Tour after spending 2011 on the Nationwide Tour.

Harman burst on the public consciousness by shooting a course-record 61 in the second round of the recent Honda Classic. He first played the Heritage in 2004, and again in 2006 after winning the 2005 Players Am. He’s a PGA Tour rookie this year after tying for eighth at Q-school.

Two other fresh faces belong to Webb Simpson, who won twice in 2011 on the PGA Tour and finished second in last year’s FedExCup standings and earnings list, and Bud Cauley, who went directly from an All-American year at Alabama to the PGA Tour by winning enough in limited events in 2011. Cauley also won the Players Am (2009).

In the RBC Heritage’s “grizzled veteran” category will be 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, a resident of Sea Island, Ga., who has made seven starts at Harbour Town, and Sweden’s Henrick Stenson, who will make his second Heritage appearance and whose wife, Emma, played college golf for the South Carolina women’s team.

Daily tickets and week-long badges for the RBC Heritage are available at www.rbcheritage.com or by calling (843) 671-2448.