Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.
Travelers Championship Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 06/18/2014
As with any golf fan, this is a letdown week after a Major, as the U.S. Open concluded Sunday with Martin Kaymer capturing his second Major Championship. The letdown not only comes because of the less importance on the line but also because the field strength goes way down following a Major championship. Both are the case this week for the Travelers Championship taking place from the TPC at River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
The scoring will be different compared to last week at Pinehurst where all but three players in the field finished over par. The last 20 winners of the Travelers have carded double-digit scores under par which means birdies are coveted so ball striking and hitting greens are of the utmost importance. This can be said almost every week on tour but when you are talking about going low, they become even more important. Last year, 4 players finished double-digits under par.
TPC at River Highlands has hosted this event since 1984 and it was formerly known as the Buick Championship and the Greater Hartford Open. It has gone through two redesigns and River Highlands is second only to the TPC Scottsdale for most spectators at a PGA Tour event. With the scoring, it is not a very difficult track even though last year resulted in an over par average for the first time in six years. The 6,841 yards in length makes it one of the shorter stops as well.
Because of the U.S. Open taking place last week, the field has been thinned out as just four players ranked in the OWGR top ten are here as well as only five of the top ten from the FedEx Cup Standings. The Travelers Championship has produced first time winners in each of the last four years starting with Bubba Watson's breakout victory in 2010 and culminating with Ken Duke's first ever PGA Tour victory last year. Don't be surprised to see the streak go to five after this week.
Graham DeLaet (+3,000) fits the profile to break out here. He is in search of his first PGA Tour victory and a mentioned, ball striking is of the utmost importance here and DeLaet leads the tour in that category. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open but he has six top tens on the season including a pair of runner-ups. He finished solo third here last year which was his best finish in four starts.
Hunter Mahan (+3,500) missed the cut by one shot last week with the difference being a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball. He has four top tens this season and while he hasn't won since the Shell Houston Open in 2012, this is a place he loves. He won here in 2007 but the success doesn't end there as he has a T2, T4 and a T11 in six starts since then and has missed the cut just once in that stretch.
Charley Hoffman (+4,000) has won twice on tour but not since 2010. Since then he has two runner-ups and a third while posting 13 top tens so he has been in the mix. Four of those top tens are from this year and he has missed only one cut. TPC at River Highlands has been kind to him as he has a T7 and a T2 the last two years. Hoffman is fifth on tour in total birdies with 272.
Brendon de Jonge (+4,500) is also in search of his first victory on tour and while he hasn't done much this year, he has gotten progressively better. He finished better than T36 only once in his first 12 starts in 2014 but he has done better than that in five of his last six starts including a T6 at the Wells Fargo. He finished T8 here in 2012 and de Jonge is 22nd on tour in total birdies with 243.
Bo Van Pelt (+6,500) will be the longshot choice this week. He had a miserable start to the season as he had only one made cut in seven starts starting in 2014. Since then, he has missed only two cuts in nine starts which includes five top 26 or better finishes. He has made the cut here five straight years and six of the last seven which includes a T6 and a T9. He is ranked 38th in hitting greens.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the Travelers Championship (all for One Unit)
Graham DeLaet (+3,000)
Hunter Mahan (+3,500)
Charley Hoffman (+4,000)
Brendon de Jonge (+4,500)
Bo Van Pelt (+6,500)
2014 Record to date after 22 events: -58 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge -5 Units
Farmers Insurance Open -5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am +22 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC - Accenture Match Play +23 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Valspar Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -5 Units
Valero Texas Open -5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -7 Units
Zurich Classic -5 Units
Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational -5 Units
Memorial Tournament -5 Units
FedEx St. Jude Classic -5 Units
U.S. Open -6 Units