The host venue – TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut – is a par 70 which measures 6841 yards.
Being one of the shortest tracks on tour, with the notable exception of Bubba Watson, this venue tends to be a hunting ground of shorter hitters who plot their way around, and last year’s champion Chez Reavie was a perfect example of this.
What we need to bear in mind though, is that the event has historically been played the week after the US Open, meaning that a lot of the big names either wouldn’t be here, or if they were, they would perhaps be going through the motions somewhat on the back of a gruelling previous week.
This year though this is not the case, and with nine of the world’s top ten on display including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and last week’s champion Webb Simpson, it may well be that this pattern is broken.
McIlroy, Thomas and the bang in-form Bryson Dechambeau find themselves vying for favouritism, however, the one who catches my eye at slightly bigger odds to start off our team is Brooks Koepka.
While the enforced hiatus will not have favoured some players, Koepka is one man who appears to have benefited from it as it gave him the time to fully rehab the knee which had continued to trouble him since injury towards the end of last year.
The former world number one had a solid first week back at Colonial before really clicking into gear at Hilton Head where he finished seventh and he led the field in Strokes-Gained-Off-The-Tee for the week.
Koepka is yet to better ninth place in four previous starts here, however with him looking to peak this week rather than arriving here on the back of a US Open campaign I expect a different story.
Refreshed and building momentum, Brooks looks a big danger to me and with e/w juice in his price I am happy to have him on board.
Moving on and for my second play, I will side with young Chilean superstar Joaquin Niemann.
Niemann did this column a big favour when landing his maiden tour title at the Greenbier last fall. Fifth here on debut last year and fifth at the Heritage after shooting rounds of 63 and 65 over the weekend the 21-year-old arrives here with the potent cocktail of course and current form and I am keen to have him onside.
As mentioned, shorter hitters tend to do well here and one such player who falls into this category is Brian Harman who has posted three top-ten finishes in his last five visits here.
Harman was having a really solid season prior to lockdown, making ten out of twelve cuts and he has returned in a similar vein finishing 23rd and 28th over the past fortnight.
A hugely gritty competitor Harman won’t be afraid to mix with the big names on Sunday and he makes plenty of each-way appeal at the odds.
Going further down the list and another who I like at the odds is Patrick Rodgers. Rodgers is a player who huge things were expected from after he turned pro, however, it hasn’t quite happened for him yet. This season though, he has found a real groove of consistency and I fancy him to bounce back from a rare missed cut last week, at a venue he has previously finished third at.
Finally, I shall wrap up our team with Sepp Straka. Straka always catches my eye on courses which reward solid ball striking and despite a missed cut on debut last year this is a venue, which should really suit his game. A solid 33rd last week, which was closed out with back to back 67s the Austrian has already posted two top-five finishes this season in amongst some poor stuff and in an event where Paddy is paying to eight each-way places he could just hit the frame again at huge odds.
Golf tips for the Travelers Championship in summary
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