The PGA TOUR returns to Cromwell, CT, for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. The course will play as a par 70, measuring 6,852 yards, and be putt on bentgrass/poa annua greens. The field is set at 156 players with four eligible spots for the Open Championship.
Five of the top six-ranked golfers in the FedEx Cup standings will be in attendance this week, giving the Travelers Championship another year with a strong field at the top. Other names making the short trip down I-84 from Brookline to Cromwell are Keegan Bradley (+2800), Tony Finau (+4000), Tommy Fleetwood (+4000), Davis Riley (+4000) and Brooks Koepka (+4000).
TPC River Highlands is another short, ball-striking course. There are eight par 4s measuring between 400 to 450 yards, two par 4s under 400 yards (one 300 yards) and long par 3s with two (No. 5 and No. 8) that pace off at over 200 yards. Last season, the course played as the 10th easiest in scoring relative to par, with the fifth-most birdies but the 16th most doubles on the PGA TOUR, fitting in line with the risk/reward dynamic synonymous with Pete Dye. The course will have bigger greens than last week, translating into less chipping and a few more putts from longer distances. The average greens hit in regulation here is 68 percent, which is higher than the PGA TOUR average. Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green should be the primary focus again, but not by as much margin over the other strokes gained categories as in the last two weeks. Those who’ve done well on the West Coast swing have also done well at TPC River Highlands. Golfers like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth (+2000) and Harris English (+10000) all have/had positive splits in California and Hawai’i before winning in Cromwell, CT.
Golfers who do well in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, with a slight lean towards accuracy, should also be a key statistic to consider when choosing golfers this week. TPC River Highlands has recorded thick rough since 2012, which may be why we see driving accuracy rate out higher here (69 percent) over the PGA TOUR average (62). The players have historically chosen accuracy over distance, especially here with it being a shorter course. Still, the longer hitters won’t shy away from using their power as an advantage, which has proven to be the case with three-time winner Bubba Watson, who mentioned he could hit close to a dozen wedges for his approach shots here. Other than Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, we should also focus on golfers who rate out well in par 4s efficiency between 400 to 450 yards and those who’ve historically done well on poa annua greens. Having a pop putting week is paramount to winning at TPC River Highlands. Over the previous five winners, they’ve managed to gain an average of 4.08 strokes putting before lifting the trophy.
The average winning odds over the previous five years is +3800, with the longest odds coming from Chez Reavie in 2019 at +7000 and the shortest mark of +1000 from Jordan Spieth in 2017.
For a full course preview, key statistics breakdown and additional players to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook, refer to the DraftKings Preview on DraftKings Playbook. Here are the bets we should be considering this week.
All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
A winner of this event already, and a winner (RBC Heritage) this season, Spieth is striking the ball well, gaining seventh in strokes gained: off the tee and fifth in approach over the previous 24 rounds. Conversely, it’s been tough sledding on the greens, losing strokes again last week, marking his sixth event in his previous ten losing on the greens. Still, Spieth can find his way around these greens as he did in his 2017 win here, and few are better with their approach on short tracks than Spieth, who ranks eighth with his irons over the previous 24 rounds on course under 7,200 yards. Also, both Seamus Power (+2800) and Sungjae Im (+3200) are solid bets from this range. Sungjae’s number is essentially the same as last week, on a much easier course with an easier field, and Power was fantastic in Brookline, gaining 4.81 through approach and 5.93 on the greens.
Few are better than Leishman on the West Coast swing, winning the Farmers Insurance Open (2020), two top-5s at the Genesis Invitational (2016, 2019) and two top-16 finishes at both courses this season. His win at Torrey Pines came off gaining eight strokes on the greens, which is also close to the same number of strokes he gained when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2017). Most of Leishman’s finishes have come off great putting rounds, which is what he’ll need and what he’s done here, finishing third last season. His win here in 2012 came from solid ball-striking, and a 2-under (68) on Sunday last week may be signaling he’s ready to pop in Cromwell once again.
Another positive ball-striking week landed Schenk inside the top 30 at the US Open last week. With back-to-back top-30s, Schenk comes into Cromwell, CT with momentum on his side and a hot putter, gaining in five of his previous six measured rounds, and ranking T5 on the greens last week.
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