PGA Tour: The Traveler's Championship Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Damien Kayat previews the 2018 Traveler's Championship set to take place at TPC Highlands between 21 June and 24 June. 

The players will no doubt all be relieved to have some respite following an arduous US Open at Shinnecock that tested the resolve of the very best. Founded as the Insurance City Open in 1952- and formerly known as the Greater Hartford Open- this event has been in existence for the last 66 years.

The event’s scheduling was altered in 2016 to accommodate the Olympic Games, but other than that it has traditionally been the post US Open stop since 2007. Memorably, Jim Furyk recently shot a 58 here in 2016, giving you some indication of the relief the players will no doubt feel in playing TPC River Highlands this week.

The Traveler’s Championship | 21 June - 24 June | TPC Highlands, Connecticut 

Originally designed by Robert J. Ross and Maurice Kearney in 1928, this course has been reworked on several occasions. Pete Dye took charge in 1982 while Bobby Weed renovated in 1989. Scoring is traditionally low here with fairways that are easily accessible and bentgrass greens that are easy to find. At 10.5 on the stimp, it offers quite the contrast to the billiards table they had at Shinnecock. Holes 15, 16 and 17 are known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ and form what is quite a theatrical conclusion to the round.

Five of the world’s top 10 players will be in attendance this week, including US Open Champion Brooks Koepka. Koepka became the first man since Curtis Strange in 1989 to successfully defend his US Open title. He will be joined by Rory McIlroy and the recently displaced World Number One Justin Thomas. Defending champion Jordan Spieth desperately needs a jolt in his game while Patrick Reed’s late surge at the US Open bodes well for him this week.

Past Winners
2017: Jordan Spieth (-12)*playoff
2016: Russell Knox (-14)
2015: Bubba Watson (-16)*playoff
2014: Kevin Streelman (-15)
2013: Ken Duke (-12)*playoff

To Win Outright
Brooks Koepka 12/1 | Rory McIlroy 12/1 | Justin Thomas 12/1 | Jordan Spieth 14/1 | Patrick Reed 16/1

Value Bets

Xander Schauffele- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
Young Scauffele is one of those players who seems to be going from strength to strength. He had a remarkable tie for second at the Players and went on to admirably brave the terror that was Shinnecock Hills. He ended in a tie for sixth after shooting a closing round of -2. Added to that is the fact that Schauffele had a decent showing of 14th around this course last season. He is one of those guys on the precipice of a huge breakthrough and represents great value at 40/1.

Charley Hoffman- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
The affable Hoffman is coming off the back of a very solid showing at the US Open, finishing in a tie for 20th. He finished inside the top 30 statistically for accuracy, scrambling, distance and GIR. More importantly, Hoffman has excellent course credentials. His last five finishes here read: T2, T7, T25, T26 and T3. At typical horses for courses pick, Hoffman arrives in good enough form to suggest he could make another serious title tilt this time around.

Chesson Hadley- To Win 100/1, To Place 22/1
Hadley never made the weekend at Shinnecock, which is ultimately probably a good thing, allowing him to recuperate ahead of this week. He is currently sitting in 18th on the FedEx Cup standings and has s top six finishes already on the PGA Tour this season. Prior to the US Open he made nine consecutive cuts. Seven of those nine performances were top 20 finishes. He looks an extremely solid bet at 100/1 this week.

The Man to Beat- Patrick Cantlay- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
In 2011 Cantlay set a then course record 60 en route to a 24th placed finish. Currently sitting in 26th place for greens in regulation, Cantlay has great long game confidence and should be a force this week. He was 12th for greens in regulation in a solid performance at Shinnecock Hills last week. The Californian finished third earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament and has excellent course form at both Riviera and Copperhead, which both seem to correlate with TPC River Highlands. The Valspar Championship rates as a strong pointer, with Kevin Streelman, Paul Casey and Cantlay all performing admirably at both courses. Cantlay was beaten by just a shot at the Valspar last year and looks like a great sleeper chance at 40/1.

Written by Damien Kayat for

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