The PGA Tour will be hosting its third event in a row this week as live golf returns and the players head to Cromwell, Connecticut to play in the Travelers Championship. DraftKings has a free-to-play pool on DraftKings Sportsbook that enables their users to get in on the action. To participate in the pool, choose winners on props offered up by the contest and compete for $15,000 in free prizes. Head here to participate: DraftKings Sportsbook Pools.
Editor’s Note: the following golfers have withdrawn from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship: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
The venue in play this week is TPC River Highlands, which has acted as the host for this week’s event since the mid-1980’s and is a Pete Dye redesign. TPC River Highlands is a shorter Par 70 venue that plays just 6,841 yards and features a bunch of fun scoring holes that can lead to big swings in the leaderboard down the stretch. Like last week at Hilton Head, this more classic venue should bring a lot of the field into play, as pure power games don’t typically have a huge advantage here. Look for strong iron play and good putting to be the key to success once again.
Regardless of how you’re approaching things, I’ve written up my thoughts on this week’s DK Sportsbook pool and have tried to give you decisive picks and strategies to employ at each level. Hope you enjoy.
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Who will have the best finishing position? Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau or 2 or more tie
All three of these men have made the cut in the first two events since the re-start, but it has been Thomas and DeChambeau who have lived up to their stud billings. Both men have finished inside the top-10 in their last two starts and both look poised to grab a win at some point soon if their putters begin to heat up. The difference in course history here seems negligible too, as Thomas finished T3 on his debut back in 2016 while DeChambeau has landed top-10’s at this venue in each of the past two seasons.
Choice: Justin Thomas
• Thomas looked like a man possessed on the weekend at Harbour Town, shooting 66-63, and may have found something with his putter on Sunday. He gets the slight edge for me over Bryson.
Who will have the best finishing position? Jon Rahm,
Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson or 2 or more tie
Editors Note: Brooks Koepka will withdraw from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship after his caddie tested positive for COVID-19
Simpson moved all the way up to number five in the OWGR after his win at the RBC Heritage last week. While he played great, he also gained over six strokes putting against the field and will have to putt on completely different Bentgrass/Poa greens here. which could cause him to slow down with that club. Rahm started to play well towards the end of last week but is still struggling with his putter.
Koepka, meanwhile, led the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee last week and also ranked 14th in SG: Putting. It’s also worth noting that Koepka finished T9 here on debut while Rahm has yet to crack the top-10 at the Travelers on two attempts.
• Fading Webb after a huge week is scary,
but let’s not forget Koepka was the clear number one player in the world a half-dozen months ago and is starting to play much better of late.
Who will have the best finishing position? Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele or 2 or more tie
Cantlay is one of the big names yet to make a start after the Covid-19 hiatus, but he will be making his return to play this week. He shot a second round 60 at this venue in 2011 on his way to a T24 finish. While Cantlay would normally be someone I’d be quite high on at this venue, taking him here in his first start back against two players the quality of Johnson and Schauffele makes him too risky to chance. Johnson played better last week but has yet to find any consistency with his short game or putter and hasn’t played this venue in over five years. Schauffele was T14 here on his first attempt in 2017 and struck the ball well in the final round last week despite finishing a ways back.
Choice: Xander Schauffele
• Schauffele has been close to picking up a win at numerous points this season and has been the most consistent player of the three all year. He gets my vote.
Who will have the best finishing position? Justin Rose, Abraham Ancer, Patrick Reed or 2 or more tie
Ancer put on an absolute ball-striking clinic last week gaining an absurd 11.4 strokes against the field with his iron play alone at Harbour Town. While he came up short and recorded his second runner-up finish of the year, it’s worth noting that he shot rounds of 63 and 64 at TPC River Highlands last year on his way to a T8 finish. Of his two competitors in this bracket, Rose looks like he could be the most troublesome, as the Englishman played excellent Tee to Green last week but had a poor week with his putter that saw him rank 61st in the field in SG: Putting.
Choice: Justin Rose
• While it pains me to side against Ancer, Rose is playing very good golf at the moment and has played very well at this venue in the past.
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Who will have the best finishing position? Bubba Watson, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau or 2 or more tie
Bubba Watson might as well be playing in his backyard this week. Watson has now won at TPC River Highlands three times since 2010, with the most recent win coming in 2018. He’s also played well since the re-start and closed with a 65 on Sunday at a venue that he typically doesn’t play. Collin Morikawa has also been in good form of late, although he did falter late last week, struggling home to a T64 finish. He landed himself a T36 on debut the at the Travelers last year. Finau has posted two mediocre results in a row now and seems to be struggling with consistency on his iron play as he’s lost strokes on approaches in two straight rounds.
Choice: Bubba Watson
• It’s between Watson and Morikawa for me and the veteran wins out here. Morikawa may have hit a wall last week while Bubba looks to be rounding into form.
Who will have the best finishing position? Jordan Spieth, Sungjae Im, Paul Casey or 2 or more tie
Spieth started last week in crazy fashion, landing an early triple bogey only to follow that up with six straight birdies. Unfortunately, his weekend play was uninspiring, and he lost over 2.5 strokes on approached last week, which isn’t going to get him anywhere against these elite fields. For me, it’s between Im and Paul Casey, who both carry question marks. Casey hasn’t finished worse than T5 here the past three seasons and has been runner-up twice at this event. Im has out-played Casey most of the season but is coming off a missed cut last week. He finished T21 here last year.
Choice: SungJae Im
• While Casey’s course history this week is amazing, as we saw last week, players can come back rusty (see Hideki Mastuyama) and Im is one of the most consistent players around.
Who will have the best finishing position? Matthew Fitzpatrick, Gary Woodland, Viktor Hovland or 2 or more tie
Matthew Fitzpatrick made a solid run up the leaderboard last week to finish T14, and also made the cut in his first start at Colonial. That said, he feels a touch out-classed in this group that has him paired with one of the best young talents in the world and the reigning US Open Champion. Hovland continued his solid Tee to Green play last week, ranking 12th in Approaches and would have finished much higher up if he could have found a little consistency with his putter. Woodland struggled on the weekend to break par and looked a little flustered on Sunday losing a couple of bad tee balls. None of these men have had much success playing TPC River Highlands.
Choice: Viktor Hovland
• This one feels quite easy to me. Hovland keeps rounding into form and while Fitzpatrick did out-putt him last week, I expect the tables to turn in Hovland’s favour here.
Who will have the best finishing position? Sergio Garcia, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman or 2 or more tie
Both Garcia and Niemann put on a show last week with their stupendous iron play as the duo both finished T5 and finished 2nd and 4th in SG: Approaches for the week, respectively. The similarities between the two become even more apparent as both men have recorded a top-5 at this week’s venue in past seasons, with Garcia finishing T2 here in 2014 and Niemann finishing T5 here last year. The third member of this group is no slouch either, as Marc Leishman won the Travelers back in 2012 and has a win already on Tour in 2020. The Aussie took last week off and feels likely to be the least picked member of this group considering both Garcia and Niemann are coming off massive weeks.
Choice: Sergio Garcia
• It’s been a while since we’ve seen this from Sergio and if he shows even a tiny bit of improvement with his putter or around the green game next week, he should be a force.
Who will have the best finishing position? Ian Poulter, Jason Kokrak, Billy Horschel or 2 or more tie
Poulter has been the clear class of this group as he’s the only one of the three to make the cut in the first two events and recorded a solid T14 finish last week. He’s now made the cut in four straight starts and that could be enough to win this group given the struggles of the other two men. Horschel has looked close to getting things going but hasn’t been as sharp with his short game or putter as he was at the start of the year. Kokrak meanwhile had a huge letdown after his big week at Colonial and couldn’t come close to duplicating the putting he showed in his first start.
Choice: Ian Poulter
• Sometimes taking the obvious pick is the best choice. Poulter hasn’t been dominant, but he’s been the best of this group by far and may only need to make the weekend to win this bracket.
Who will have the best finishing position? J.T. Poston, Jason Day, Kevin Kisner or 2 or more tie
J.T. Poston has come storming out of the gate since the re-start, as the winner of the Wyndham Championship last summer has now posted T8 and T10 finishes over the first two events. Poston’s success looks like it could be fleeting though, as despite the success, he’s lost strokes to the field on approaches in both starts and has simply been red hot around the greens and with his putter. Poston’s course history at the Travelers is also sub-par as he’s missed the cut here in three straight attempts. Jason Day and Kevin Kisner are both coming off missed cuts last week, but it should be noted that Day has finished T8 and T12 at the Travelers the last two seasons.
Choice: Jason Day
• Day was far more consistent off the tee at the Heritage than he was at Colonial and will be putting on greens this week that he’s done well on in past seasons. I expect that club to heat for him soon.
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