Following the grind of the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour provides lighter fare for the field of golfers competing in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands this week. The 6,841-yard, par-70 course is considered one of the easiest on Tour, with winning scores averaging 15-under par over the last decade of the event.
Looking at the top names competing in Cromwell, Connecticut, you might be inclined to wager on Brooks Koepka, the favorite at +675. But if history is any indication of what will happen Sunday, Koepka won’t find himself atop the leaderboard. Going back to 2006 no player who has finished inside the top 10 of the U.S. Open has gone on to win the week after. Koepka finished second to Gary Woodland last week at Pebble Beach, making him a player to fade based on that trend.
But that’s not the only reason to shy away from Koepka. Accuracy off the tee and putting are key to succeeding at TPC River Highlands, and Koepka struggles a bit with both. Driving distance, scrambling, birdie average and par-4 scoring are other categories to consider when deciding who to wager on in this week’s tournament.
Jordan Spieth (+1750), who won the Travelers in 2017, should be a solid contender over the weekend. Spieth is in the top six on Tour in putting average, No. 13 in par-4 birdie or better scoring and No. 21 in birdie average. Patrick Cantlay (+1000) is another player who should do well on the course. He finished 15th in last year’s Travelers Championship.
As for a pick with a little more value, Jason Day (+1800) has a solid putter, is ranked in the top 30 in par-4 birdie or better scoring and finished 12th at the Travelers last year.
Even more promising, the No. 18 golfer in the world has seemingly mastered another course devised by TPC River Highlands designer Pete Dye. At TPC Sawgrass the Aussie finished eighth in the Players Championship in March. He also placed fifth on the same course in 2018 and first in 2016.
Day finished 21st at the U.S. Open but cracked the top five at the Masters in April. He’s strung together a couple of top 20 finishes in between, but he’s capable of moving up much higher on the leaderboard in Cromwell. Keep an eye out for Day over the weekend, and don’t be surprised if he comes up with his first Tour win of the season Sunday.
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