The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
Editor’s Note: the following golfers have withdrawn from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship:
- Cameron Champ
- Graeme McDowell
- Brooks Koepka
- Webb Simpson
- Chase Koepka
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The millionaire slate locks at 6 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 25. Set your lineups here: $2.5M Millionaire [$1M to 1st].
The field for this year’s Travelers will include 156 golfers and again feature some of the top players in the world. Rory McIlroy ($11,200) will be making his third appearance at TPC River Highlands after making starts here in 2017 and 2018, which yielded T17 and T12 finishes. Meanwhile, the likes of Dustin Johnson ($9,400) and Justin Rose ($9,200) will be making their first starts here in over five years. As for new faces in the field, we’ll be getting our first look at current world No. 24 Paul Casey ($8,900) in quite some time, and it will be at one of his favorite venues on the PGA Tour as he leads the field in Strokes Gained: Total at TPC River Highlands over the past five seasons. The field will also have recent champions Bubba Watson ($8,800), Chez Reavie ($7,300) and Jordan Spieth ($8,400) competing to round things out.
The cut will take place on Friday with the top 65 and ties making the weekend. Also, before we move on to more analysis, it’s worth noting that the PGA Tour also had its first golfer, Nick Watney, test positively for COVID-19 last week. This will be something to watch week-to-week as the Tour tests its competitors pre-event at each stop. Be sure to follow DK Live for immediate breaking news as any positive tests pre-event would result in withdraws and changes to the field.
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
TPC River Highlands—Cromwell, Connecticut
Par 70, 6,841 yards; Greens: Bentgrass/Poa
TPC River Highlands is a short par 70 which features smaller bentgrass/poa greens and an eclectic blend of holes – it’s also the place where Jim Furyk had one of the greatest rounds of fantasy golf ever when he shot 58 on Sunday in 2016. Last year this venue was ranked 19th in terms of toughness on Tour and yielded an average score of 69.724 to the field, about the middle of the pack.
There are only two par 5s on the course, but one of them is the extremely reachable 523-yard 13th hole which should yield a high number of birdies and eagles for the week. And while the course only has two par 5s, it also features two very drivable par 4s, one of which is the under 300-yard 15th hole which always produces a lot of drama late on Sunday. There are eight par 4s that measure in between 400-450 yards making distance off the tee less of an issue, but placement more vital.
The course itself was originally designed back in 1928 but was reworked by perennial PGA Tour pgacourse designer Pete Dye in 1982. And while the course isn’t an original Dye, it still lines up nicely with many of his other venues mainly because it challenges players with several tougher approach shots, many of which are guarded by water — which comes into play heavily down the stretch. The course has seen all types of players win here as big hitters like Bubba Watson and Marc Leishman ($8,000) have prospered at this event, while several shorter hitters like Kevin Streelman ($7,100), Reavie and Spieth have also found success at these grounds.
In general, Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Putting have been the most important metrics for those having success here meaning that we are, once again, getting a venue where it will likely be hard for players to break away from the pack. Expect another crowded leaderboard come Sunday.
2020 Weather Outlook: We should be getting some more decent weather this week, with Sunday looking like the only potential trouble spot where some scattered thunderstorms could cause stoppages, similar to what we saw last Sunday at the Heritage. Highs are expected to be in the mid-80s all week with mainly sunny skies and winds that aren’t expected to reach over 10 mph for any long stretch of play. As of writing, Friday afternoon looks like it is expecting a touch more wind in the afternoon than Thursday, but the difference right now is negligible. The other factor to consider is that the greens may even get softened by some rain Wednesday, which could really make scoring conditions good Thursday morning if that Wednesday rain transpires. As always though, check the forecast again Wednesday night to see how this all ends up breaking down as the most likely scenario is that weather ends up being mostly a non-factor.
Last five winners
• 2019 — Chez Reavie -17 (over Keegan Bradley and Zach Sucher -13)
• 2018 — Bubba Watson -17 (over Paul Casey -14)
• 2017 — Jordan Spieth -12 (over Daniel Berger in a playoff)
• 2016 – Russell Knox -14 (over Jerry Kelly -13)
• 2015 — Bubba Watson -16 (over Paul Casey in a playoff)
– Four of the past seven winners of this event were coming into the week off of missed cuts in their previous start.
– Five of the past six winners of this event had posted at least a top 30 in a previous year at TPC River Highlands prior to winning.
2019: Chez Reavie
SG: Off the Tee—11th
SG: Tee to Green—1st
SG: Putting—10th Driving Distance—51st 2018: Bubba Watson
SG: Off the Tee—4th
SG: Tee to Green—2nd
SG: Putting—21st Driving Distance—7th 2017: Jordan Spieth
SG: Off the Tee—62nd
SG: Tee to Green—2nd
SG: Putting—32nd Driving Distance—54th
Strokes Gained: Approach the Green
Par 4 efficiency 400-450 yards
Proximity 125-150, 150-175 yards
For this week SG: Approach is where you should be starting in terms of stats. While not all winners have ranked at the top of this metric, in 2016, five of the top 10 finishers (including winner Russell Knox) ranked inside the top 10 in this stat for the week. In 2017, winner Jordan Spieth ranked seventh for the week in approaches and playoff loser Daniel Berger was third. Last year’s winner Chez Reavie did rank first in this stat for the week of his win.
As a par 70 venue, TPC River Highlands also holds a large number of par 4s and eight of them fall in between the 400-450 yard range. In 2017 the winner and runner-up here ranked 3rd and 27th for the year in this category respectably. Last year’s winner Chez Reavie ranked 11th in this stat.
Finally, while we could look at SG: Putting stats or even Poa putting splits, the better indicator is likely how well a player has been trending from approaches in key distances. With a shorter venue and several shorter par 4s in play, a larger portion of approaches should fall in the 125-175 yard range making short iron play vital here.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
Player Odds to win DraftKings Price Comparables Tony Finau +4000 $8,200 – Jordan Spieth +5000 and $8,400
– Gary Woodland +5500 and $8,300 – Sergio Garcia +5500 and $8,500 Scottie Scheffler +8000 $7,600 – Joel Dahmen +10000 and $7,700
– Kevin Kisner +10000 and $7,700 – Ian Poulter +8000 and $7,800
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Bubba Watson (best finishes: win-2010, 2015, 2018): Bubba loves the Travelers, and more specifically, he loves TPC River Highlands. Since 2008 he has accumulated six finishes of T6 or better including wins in 2010, 2015 and 2018. He has also only missed the cut here once in his past 11 appearances and sets up as a nice target in DFS this week due to his solid recent form.
2. Paul Casey (best finishes: T5-2019, T2-2018, 2nd-2015): Casey has been the hard-luck loser at this event twice now. He carried a solid lead into Sunday in 2018 but got hunted down rather easily by Bubba Watson, to whom he also lost in a playoff in 2015. He leads the field in SG: Total at this event over the past five seasons and has never finished worse than T17 here. He’ll be making his first appearance since the re-start, but has fantastic course history to fall back on.
3. Marc Leishman (best finishes: win-2012, T9-2016): Leishman won his first PGA Tour event at this venue back in 2012, and he has backed that appearance up with three more finishes of T17 or better at TPC River Highlands over the past five years. He’s eight-for-nine here in terms of cuts made and ranks 11th in SG: Total in the field here over the past five years.
4. Keegan Bradley (best finishes: T2—2019, T8-2017): Bradley made a run at the title here last year, ultimately falling short to Chez Reavie and finishing in the runner-up position. The native New Englander hasn’t missed a cut at this event in his past nine appearances and sets up as a potential course history play after starting with a solid T32 at the Charles Schwab.
5. Brian Harman (best finishes: 3rd-2015, T8-2019): Harman has been a consistent figure at TPC River Highlands the past five years and surprisingly ranks second here in SG: Total over that span. He’s got a career-best third-place finish at River Highlands (2015) but has also finished inside the top 10 here the past two years.
Cash Games: While prices have tightened up a bit at the top, there’s still no reason to go away from a more balanced approach.
Brooks Koepka ($10,000) is still very affordable compared to where we often see him as a top-three player and outdrove everyone in the field last week. The rest of his game looks very close to coming around, making this a solid bargain price. — Editor’s Note: Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship.
I’d also have no issues continuing to target the solid ball-striking of Abraham Ancer ($9,000) and Bubba Watson ($8,800). Both have great course history and solid recent form that make them fine mid-tier targets. Further down, there’s no reason not to ride the hot hand of Joaquin Niemann ($7,900) either, who was lights out with his irons last week and finished T5 here last year. Other potential cash targets include the likes of Corey Conners ($7,500), Dylan Frittelli ($7,100) and
Cameron Champ ($6,800).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cameron Champ has tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrawn from the Travelers Championship.
Tournaments: For tournaments, I like targeting the duo of Jon Rahm ($10,200) and Xander Schauffele ($9,600-see below). Both are coming off mediocre weeks with Rahm’s sentiment really taking a hit after also missing the cut at Colonial. Both have the potential to eat this short venue alive though and seem to be biding their time before a breakout. As risky as it may sound, I’m also on board with giving Jason Day ($7,500) a look this week for similar reasons. Day gained strokes off the tee in both rounds last week but couldn’t get his putter going. He’s one of the best Poa/Bent putters around though and has finished T8-T12 at this event in the past two years. Other potential GPP targets this week include the likes of Danny Lee ($6,900), Patrick Rodgers ($6,900-see below), Doc Redmon ($6,700) and Wyndham Clark ($6,500).
Top Recent Form
1. Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000, Recent finishes: T8, T3, 4th): DeChambeau continued his ridiculous run of top finishes with a T8 at the Heritage last weekend. He gained over five strokes with his irons last week and continued his ridiculous play off the tee gaining well over a stroke on the field in three out of four rounds.
2. Justin Thomas ($10,800, Recent finishes: T8, T10, T6): After starting the event poorly, Thomas made a charge late Sunday, posting an eight-under 63 to end the event T8. He played well throughout the bag last week and was second in the field in Driving Distance.
3. Webb Simpson ($10,500, Recent finishes: win-MC): Simpson was coming off of two poor starts but was able to find his game quickly at the beginning of the week and pull out his second win of the year. Webb was solid with his irons but did most of his damage with the putter, gaining 6.6 strokes over the field with that club. — Editor’s Note: Webb Simpson has withdrawn from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship.
4. Abraham Ancer ($9,000, Recent finishes: 2nd, T14): Ancer has been ridiculously consistent this year and has now finished T14 and second in his first two starts, post-hiatus. He gained an insane 11.4 strokes on his approaches at Harbour Town and should be a popular target here.
5. Ian Poulter ($7,800, Recent finishes: T14, T29): Poulter has played nicely to start the second half of the year, posting top 30 finishes in his first two events. He did stall a bit after a great round of 64 to start last week, but gained 3.0 strokes on the greens with his putter and is riding a solid bit of momentum into the Travelers.
MY PICK: Xander Schauffele ($9,600)
Xander had a bit of a down week at the Heritage, but the 26-year-old has continued to show some extremely solid short-to-mid iron play and ranks sixth in proximity from 125-150 yards out over the last two events. His play on short par 4s (under 450 yards) has also been impressive as he ranks 10th in that category over the past 50 rounds. That kind of consistency should play out well at TPC River Highlands which measures in at under 7,000 yards in length and has featured winners that have excelled traditionally on the short par 4s (see stats above). On top of the stats, there’s also a bit of sneaky course history in play here as Xander finished T14 here on debut in 2017 and did especially well with his putter on the greens that year, gaining over 4.3 strokes putting for the week. Finally, while his performance last week was a letdown, its worth noting that Xander still struck the ball at an elite level for two of the four rounds, gaining 1.1 and 1.7 strokes on approaches in rounds two and four. With a fresh start, on a venue that should allow him to continue pounding his short irons, I like Xander to get himself back in contention this week and pay off for fantasy owners who have chosen to stick with him after one poor showing.
MY SLEEPER: Patrick Rodgers ($6,900)
Rodgers is coming into this week off a missed cut, but he should be available at low ownership and looks like a player who has a great shot at a quick rebound. He opened last week with a great round on Thursday, where he gained over a stroke with his irons, but had a disastrous front nine on Friday and couldn’t rebound in time to make the cut. That poor front nine aside though, Rodgers has played well since the hiatus, landing a T14 at the Charles Schwab, where he was also just one poor nine-hole stretch away from contending. The Travelers has been a much better venue for Rodgers over his career than Harbour Town though. The 27-year-old made the cut there five years in a row between 2014-2018 and ranks ninth in Strokes Gained: Total at the event since 2015 —hitting a career-best T3 finish in 2016. He’s ranked seventh in SG: Putting on Poa/Bentgrass over the past 50 rounds and has shown glimpses of wanting to break through at various points in 2020. I like him here as a great low sentiment GPP target on DraftKings, and he should be hungry to get after one of his favorite venues after bowing out early last week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.