The Travelers Championship Predictions and Analysis
Date: June 25-28, 2015
Course: TPC River Highlands Cromwell, CT
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
After a wild ride at the U.S. Open, the PGA takes a bit of breath but the action continues and the Tour heads clear across the country this week for The Travelers Championship. The Greater Hartford area is about is far away from Washington State as you can get, roughly 3,000 miles, and you wont see many similarities between Chambers Bay and TPC River Highlands. Many of the top players choose a bit of rest after the grind of the Open but there are several strong contenders for this weeks title with Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia highlighting the field and Patrick Reed also looks to stay hot.
TPC River Highlands has been part of the PGA Tour for decades but most will remember this event from its time as the Greater Hartford Open. The week following the U.S. Open isnt the greatest spot on the schedule but most of the top players make their way through here every few years and this stop remains a big draw, especially those that fail to make the U.S. Open field. Big names like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson have won here but journeyman like Ken Duke and the defending champ Kevin Streelman have also hoisted the Travelers trophy. Streelman scorched the back-nine on Sunday last year, finishing with seven consecutive birdies to win in what has to be one of the more stunning tournament finishes in the history of the Tour. Good scores will be had at this 6,841 yard, par-70 course but players will have to be in control of every facet of their game in order to contend. There difficulty here is subtle and nuanced compared to some of the modern monster courses and players can easily find themselves in bad spots if they fail to execute the right kind of shots. This course meanders and banks it way around the natural landscape, leaving very few straightforward drives or approaches. The best ballstrikers will be playing a chess match with the course while the long hitters will attack the risk/reward opportunities and look to score quickly.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight a few players that we think are good bets to win. We make some picks and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any of our recommended betting sites. Here are our picks to win The Travelers Championship!
Brandt Snedeker (14 to 1 odds to win)
It has been an impressive run for Sneds over the last month as he has three straight top-10 finishes, including a solo 8thlast week. This course really sets up well for a player with his level of diversity and he proved he can get around well here with a T11 last year. The tee-to-green game is about average for Brandt but he excels on the greens, ranking 12thin overall putting, 8thin 1-putt percentage and 6thin strokes gained on the greens. Snedeker is a top-level scrambler and can save those critical pars that so often mean the difference between winning by a stroke and losing by a stroke. Brandt was in good shape throughout the Open week but wasnt so close to the lead that he burnt out chasing a Major and should be in good mental shape to have a good week.
Hunter Mahan (33 to 1)
Mahan was a victim of the cut at Chambers Bay but didnt play all that poorly and only missed the cut by one stroke. That was just his second missed cut of the year and there are plenty of good arguments suggesting that an early exit from the grind of the Open is a good thing when playing the next event. Hunter has done well here in the past with a T11 in 2012 alongside a runner-up finish in 2008. He is one of the better overall ballstrikers on Tour and his ability to find fairways should have him in the proper spots to approach these difficult greens. Mahan has always been an above average putter and enters the week ranked 11thin total putting. He shouldnt have much trouble navigating this thinking mans course and it is getting to the point where it has been too long since he has won an event on Tour. His time is coming.
Francesco Molinari (40 to 1)
It is clear that Molinari is spending more time in the states. This week will be his 13th making just 12 starts here last year and less than 10 in the two years prior. That commitment to American golf puts him more in touch with what it takes to win on courses here and it is showing in his results as he hasnt missed a cut since March. Francesco leads the Tour in fairways hit and is also top-5 in greens in regulation so you can bet he will be seeing birdie looks. The putter isnt great when it comes to making those birdies however and Molinari falls into some prolonged par-streaks at times. His T27 last week was typical in that he never really contended past Thursday but never blew up either and carded a 73 as his worst round. If he can turn a few pars into birdies through the week, he can beat this relatively weak field.
Brendon de Jonge (80 to 1)
Brendon did not qualify for the Open but Id say he was due a vacation as he will be making his 22nd start this week. He has 8 top-25 finishes on the year including a runner-up during the fall and he has seen some success at River Highlands with a T8 back in 2012. He is no worse than 39thon Tour in key stats like fairways, greens and putting entering the week and his total stat sheet grades out at a respectable 45thin the all-around. de Jonge is not a great recovery player so he needs to keep things out of trouble to be relevant this week but he has a top-35 scoring average and has proven he can score in spurts so the only thing left to do is keep it together all four days.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for daily matches and a variety of prop bets.
Billy Horschel v. Louis Oosthuizen (pick to win: Horschel)
Both of these men fared well last week but of course it was Horschels criticism of the USGA that drew the most attention. Golfers are independent contractors so it is doubtful Billy is losing any sleep over some negative attention and he wont have to deal with the broccoli greens at River Highlands. Oosthuizen is a tough match for anyone given his no-nonsense playing style but Horschel has advantages in driving the ball and overall ballstriking. Both of those factors will play large this week as players must navigate the course rather than attack in most cases. Louis is the better scoring player under many circumstances but Horschel is the better pure putter and that will also come into play on these greens that often feature tricky reads and paces.
Bubba Watson v. Partick Reed (pick to win: Watson)
Watson was incensed with the pace of play last week and to be honest, he is showing plenty of frustration lately. Maybe his local Waffle House closed and he has yet to find a suitable replacement breakfast spot but any way you slice it, Bubba is running on a hot bearing. That is either really good or really bad for a player in most cases and Im saying it is a good thing for this week as Bubba is playing at a course he has dominated in the past. Reed is a stellar young talent but Bubba will turn this venue into a pitch-and-putt if he is striking it well. I think Watson shakes off the Open frustration and goes on to have a very successful tournament this week. His distance advantage and ballstriking prowess are going to be tough for Reed to handle. Bet your Travelers Championship predictions at an online sportsbook where you can deposit $200 and get $200 FREE! —> GTBets.
Good luck and good golf!