RBC Heritage Notebook

US Open champs must like playing at Harbour Town Golf Links

ccox@islandpacket.comApril 21, 2013 

Heritage4

Graeme McDowell hugs his caddie, Ken Comboy, after winning the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing in the first sudden death playoff hole. McDowell defeated Web Simpson to become the 2013 champion. The tournament was played at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

JAY KARR — Staff photo Buy Photo

There may be a connection forming between the RBC Heritage and the U.S. Open.

Graeme McDowell's win at Harbour Town Golf Links on Sunday made him the eighth player to capture both the Heritage and the U.S. Open. Arnold Palmer was the first to do it, following up his 1960 win at Cherry Hills with the inaugural Heritage Golf Classic championship in 1969.

" ... Someone told me there's a bit of a link between the U.S. Open champions and champions here," said McDowell, who defeated fellow U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson in a playoff Sunday. "So it's nice to continue that link. It's got a huge amount to do with the way the golf course sets up, discipline, patience, all these words that are required to play well around here."

Jack Nicklaus won a pair of U.S. Open championships in 1962 and 1967 before capturing the title on Hilton Head Island in 1975. Tom Watson, Fuzzy Zoeller, Hale Irwin, Payne Stewart and Jim Furyk round out the others to accomplish the feat.

DONALD COMES UP SHORT

A furious rally Sunday came up just short for Luke Donald, who erased four strokes on the front nine Sunday at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing only to finish in a tie for third.

Donald entered the final round trailing leader Charley Hoffman by six shots but carded four birdies on the front nine to crawl within two strokes. But a double bogey on No. 15, where his tee shot hit off a limb 150 yards away, spelled the end of Donald's comeback. He finished the tournament at 7 under following a final-round 2-under-par 69.

"It was nice to get off to a great start like I did," Donald said. "I played so solid that front nine and gave myself a lot of opportunities and gave myself a lot of positives out of that."

Swirling winds got the best of the 35-year-old on the back nine, as he bogeyed three of the first six holes before missing out on birdies on each of the final two holes. His efforts still netted him just his second top-10 finish of the year, however, and his fourth top-10 finish at the Heritage.

"There's a very fine line of contending and just being out of that mix," he said. "It's really just not taking advantage of some of the opportunities I've been given on the greens and around the greens. As positive as I feel about my short game, I know that will turn around."

CHIPS AND PUTTS

Sunday was the first day of the RBC Heritage not to see a single golfer card a bogey-free round. ... Marc Leishman (T9) was the only golfer this year to manage a top-10 finish in both the RBC Heritage and the Masters. ... For the third consecutive year, no golfer carded all four rounds in the 60s. ... Charley Hoffman's 6-over-par 77 Sunday marks the fourth straight week on the PGA Tour that the 54-hole leader failed to win the tournament.

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