Dates: June 22, 2023 to June 25, 2023
Location: Connecticut, USA
Course: TPC River Highlands
Course Par: 70
Course Length: 6852 yards
Prize Purse: $20000000
TPC River Highlands is the venue for the Travelers Championship as the PGA Tour moves to Connecticut after the high drama of last week’s US Open. The top 8 in the world rankings will be taking part, as will six former winners of this event. The list of previous winners is varied, with bombers such as Bubba and DJ appearing on the roll of honour alongside the likes of Chez Reavie and Russell Knox, so there is perhaps no ‘typical’ profile of a Travelers champion, other than that they will likely need to possess the scoring ability to get to the high teens under par.
TPC River Highlands is a very different test to LA Country Club. Weighing in at under 6900 yards, it’s one of the shortest tests encountered on Tour and unsurprisingly it tends to be a birdie fest with winning scores having approached the 20-under mark in the last.
With that in mind, a deft touch with the putter will be near the top of our wish list. Gaining ground off the tee has also been important in the past, although not necessarily purely in terms of distance. Putting yourself in position to give a bunch of makeable birdie attempts will certainly be an essential part of the winning formula.
As is often the case in the immediate aftermath of a major, we feel it may be a good time to be creative in our selections, even though as an elevated event the top players should still be fully motivated.
|Outright US Odds
Denny McCarthy (2pts each way, 70/1, 8 places) is often one of the first players to spring to mind when putting is at the forefront of the required skills. It’s his recent surge in form that makes him particularly appealing here, with top 10s in the Wells Fargo and Memorial standing out and a very respectable top 20 in the US Open. A shorter-than-usual layout should suit and he fully deserves to be shorter than the prices on offer. He stands out as the best value this week.
Eric Cole (1.5pts each way, 125/1, 12 places) has certainly seen an upturn in form of late – so much so that his total strokes gained in the last six months sees him sitting alongside the likes of Taylor Moore, Hideki Matsuyama and slightly ahead of Justin Thomas and Tom Kim. Gaining nicely in all departments other than driving, he may be another suited by this shorter test and his price doesn’t do justice to his recent efforts, which include three top 25s and a US Open top 40 in his last five attempts. Another who is very easy to include in the staking plan.
Max Homa (2pts each way, 45/1, 8 places) hasn’t carried his early season form into recent outings, but as a result is a far more interesting price than he was two or three months ago. It’ll surely only be a matter of time before his form returns and at 45/1 we can certainly afford to take the chance. He’s still been putting out some great putting numbers and if he finds a half decent long game he could easily post the kind of score that would secure a top 10 finish at least.
At first glance, Russell Henley (2pts each way, 40/1, 8 places) looks a touch short in the market, but his recent form shows that he fully deserves his place alongside some of the more glamorous names in this field. Four top 20s from his last 5 demonstrates just how well he’s been playing lately and like our other picks he looks to be one of those who should be most favoured by the River Highlands test.
Finally, we’ll have a small stakes interest in Adam Schenk (1pt each way, 150/1, 12 places). He already has a couple of second place finishes to his name this season, most recently in the Charles Schwab. That was swiftly followed by a T7 in the Memorial, and it’s easy to forgive him a missed cut in the US Open. He misses his share of cuts, for sure, but we know he’s good enough to contend when in the mood and the market seems to have over-reacted to that volatility.
Tommy Fleetwood can easily be considered given how well he’s been playing of late and could easily make his PGA Tour breakthrough before long. And Taylor Moore is another whose price makes him worth considering as another sleeper given how good we know he can be from earlier in the season. None of the market leaders make a huge amount of appeal at the prices, defending champ Xander perhaps being the best of them, although of course any of them could easily pick up an event like this one.