(Reuters) - Matt Kuchar will try to build off his strong finish at the U.S. Masters when he tees off in the first round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Thursday among a field featuring several recent PGA Tour winners.
The American world number 17, who had a hole-in-one en route to a five-under-par 67 that matched the lowest final round score at Augusta National where he finished in a tie for fourth, has heated up since a mostly slow start to the season
Kuchar has only two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 11 events this season but knows how to navigate Harbour Town where he is a previous winner and also boasts a fifth-place finish and tie for ninth among his previous starts.
Kuchar, who at Hilton Head Island in 2014, will be joined by defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa, former winner Brandt Snedeker and England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who at world number 15 will be the highest ranked player in the field.
Grace, who overcame a three-shot deficit on the final day with a five-under-par 66 to grab his first PGA Tour victory, is looking to become the tournament’s first back-to-back champion since Boo Weekley accomplished the feat in 2008.
The field will also feature four of the past six PGA Tour winners in Adam Hadwin (Valspar Championship), Marc Leishman (Arnold Palmer Invitational), D.A. Points (Puerto Rico Open) and Russell Henley (Shell Houston Open).
Charley Hoffman, who was tied for the 36-hole lead at the Masters before falling hard to a share of 22nd place, will be eager to get back to a course where he has made six consecutive cuts and three top-15 finishes.
Former U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk, who missed last year’s RBC Heritage after undergoing wrist surgery, returns for the first time since winning here in 2015.
Furyk snapped a nearly five-year PGA Tour victory drought when he beat Kevin Kisner in a playoff in 2015 which sparked a strong run of form that sent the American to world number three later that year.
“I have the same mentality I always do coming in here. It will be more a matter of patience,” world number 62 Furyk told reporters. “I feel that this is the place in my career when I have been patient, when I have been playing well. I know I can win this golf tournament.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both