It’s road trip time! After hanging out at Chambers Bay last week, let’s hitchhike to Cromwell, Connecticut, for this week’s Travelers Championship. It’s just 2,974 miles away, an easy 44 hour drive. You’ll drive through about 10 states along the way, including the scenic North Dakota.
The course this week is TPC River Highlands, one of the shortest on TOUR. It’s just a par 70 track, so less emphasis on par 5s this week. The fairways and greens are generous, but pin placements force you to get aggressive, leading to a lot of short-sided chips.
That’s one of the main reasons great scramblers like Freddie Jack and Chris Stroud have excelled here in the past. Great ball-striking is another route as the greens are not difficult to putt, it’s just a matter of giving yourself birdie opps. Distance can be helpful, but not necessary. It will just mean wedge into many greens instead of 7-or-8-irons. Not a huge difference for most of these TOUR pros.
-The last 10 winners had at least one top 25 in the five starts leading up to the Travelers. Form isn’t huge, but they shouldn’t be completely lost.
-The last 10 winners have all played TPC River Highlands at least once prior to their win. Avoid course debutants if you’re looking for a winner. Sorry Tony Finau.
-The last 10 winners had all made at least one cut in their three previous Travelers starts leading up to the win. It’s hard to jump from failure to the winner’s circle. Sorry Brendon Todd. Having some recent success at TPC River Highlands is key.
Players to Watch
Sergio Garcia… He talks himself out of majors before the tournaments even being but regular TOUR events are a different story. He’s posted top 10s in half of his starts since 2013-14 season began. Ride his consistent play to the winner’s circle this week.
Billy Horschel… He’s hot which means you keep riding him…This has been in my article for three weeks straight now.
Zach Johnson… He’s got one of the best strike-rates in the field so he can’t be ignored entirely. At the same time, his last 14 rounds at TPC River Highlands have yielded seven rounds better than the field, while the same amount being worse than the field. That’s not the kind of consistency we’re looking for in a top priced player. There is a very good chance he finds himself hovering around the cut line this week.
Andres Romero… He’s a par 70 specialist so it’s no surprise to his a top 10 on his resume here. Give the Argentine a look if you need a deep sleeper. Perhaps he was inspired by his fellow countryman, Fabian Gomez as he rattled off a top 15 at Chambers Bay last week.
Bubba Watson… He won his first TOUR event at this event and said he would never miss it again unless it was for injury reasons. For a golfer relies on his emotions so heavily, that is encouraging and we should proceed with confidence this week.
Kevin Streelman… I highlighted him in my preview last year and look what he did. I said he was very, very sneaky last year. That’s not the case this year as he’s now defending champion. His love for the course remains the same, so give him a look but don’t get carried away.
20/20 Club… Nobody fits the criteria this week of form+History, but Marc Leishman is the closest. He’s gained 25.07 strokes at TPC River Highlands over the past five years and also gained 19.66 strokes over the last 8 stroke-play events. Soooo close.
Graham DeLaet… His course history here is actually pretty mediocre but he does have a third-place finish to his name. What’s more important is his attitude as he’s declared this the most fun course on TOUR. Thats probably due to the fact that poor putters can get hot and contend here. That’s what we like to hear when it comes to DeLaet!
John Merrick… He’s a top-30 machine at TPC River Highlands and has also found some form lately after a poor start to 2014-15.
Nick Watney… Last week had to be a wake-up call for Watts as it was the first time not qualifying for the U.S. Open since 2006. I’m not hearing a lot of talk surrounding him this week but he has sneaky good course history. In fact, he owns four top 15s in six tries. That’s not even sneaky, that’s flat out great course history.
Brendan Steele… Much like Watney above, the Man of Steele is out of the good graces of gamers but he sports tremendous course history. Three top 15s in four tries. I like it.
Justin Thomas… He’s getting overshadowed by Tony Finau lately when it comes to youngsters but Thomas is the one to target this week. He teed it up here as an amateur and finished T30. Two years later, he’s even better and has that winner’s glare in his eyes. This could be the week.
Travelers Cheatsheet… We swept the board with our cash-game lineup last week. I love hearing about the success people are having with the weekly DraftKings cheatsheet so check it out.
Head over to Daily Fantasy Solutions and grab it for just five bucks. This is includes guys that fit the stat profile, golfers that are in good form, course history, recommended cash game targets and more!
Top 25 for the 2015 U.S. Open
1. Sergio Garcia
2. Bubba Watson
3. Brandt Snedeker
4. Keegan Bradley
5. Russell Knox
6. Harris English
7. Billy Horschel
8. Zach Johnson
9. Kevin Na
10. Patrick Reed
11. Graham DeLaet
12. Marc Leishman
13. Justin Thomas
14. Brendon de Jonge
15. Jerry Kelly
16. Brendan Steele
17. Nick Watney
18. David Toms
19. Louis Oosthuizen
20. Matt Jones
21. Kevin Streelman
22. Hudson Swafford
23. Blake Adams
24. Brian Harman
25. Francesco Molinari