Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 US PGA Tour: The Travellers Championship

2020 US PGA Tour: The Travellers Championship

Damien Kayat takes a look at the Travellers Championship taking place at the TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Jockeys Ride HorsesTPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut 
The Travellers Championship
Thursday, June 24 - June 27
Last week once again showed that a crowd isn’t 100% necessary to create a thrilling PGA Tour finish.  In the darkening South Carolina skyline, Webb Simpson’s putter came to like to ensure a scintillating victory. But it wasn’t all rosy news, with Nick Watney having to withdraw due a positive Coronavirus test. Alongside Novak Djokovic’s Covid fiasco, it is a timely reminder of the efficacy of this resilient disease. Tiger is still yet to emerge from quarantine, biding his time ahead of the more illustrious events. It highlights the fact that the game of golf needs Tiger a little more that Tiger needs golf.

The Travellers Championship began life as the Insurance City Open back in 1952. Since 2007 it has been the official US Open follow-up event (excepting in 2016 when the Olympics necessitated a move to August). It has proved to be something of a soft touch in recent times, with Patrick Cantlay shooting a record low 60 as an amateur here in 2011. Cantlay emerges this week from the pandemic hiatus hoping to match those feats. And lest we forget that sage warrior Jim Furyk, who in 2016 shot the first 58 in the history of the PGA Tour. This is a relatively benign test that will likely resemble last week’s South Carolina shoot-out.

TPC River Highlands was designed by Robert J. Ross and Maurice Kennedy in 1928, though it was heavily reworked by both Pete Dye and Bobby Weed: in 1982 and 1989 respectively. Holes 15, 16 and 17 are known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, cut against a stunning lake backdrop. The course is one of the shortest tests on the tour- evidenced by a list of winners including Jordan Spieth, Kevin Streelman and Ken Duke.  What it really boils down to this week is putting. The last ten winners of this event have averaged in the top 7 for both putts per round and putting average. So perhaps a prudent option is to took for sneaky outliers whose putting stats held up well around Colonial and Harbour Town.

It is interesting to see Bryson DeChambeau leading the markets alongside Rory McIlroy. It is completely deserved but still takes a little getting used to. I will be fascinated to see how the burly American chooses to attack the 15th, which is a par 3 that measures under 300 yards. Soon enough a pitching wedge will do it. Three-time champion Bubba Watson is in the field while defending champion Chez Reavie looks quite appetizing at 125/1. With the likes of Webb Simpson and DeChambeau in spectacular form, it will be interesting to see if World Number One McIlroy can finally gather some momentum this week.  In a side-note, red-hot Daniel Berger has pulled out of this week’s event after threatening to go back-to-back in South Carolina.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone
Past Winners
2019: Chez Reavie (17)
2018: Bubba Watson (-17)
2017: Jordan Spieth (-12) *playoff
2016: Russell Knox (-14)
2015: Bubba Watson (-16) *playoff 

Betting Favourites (To Win): 
Bryson DeChambeau (14/1)
Rory McIlroy (14/1)
Justin Thomas (14/1)
Webb Simpson (18/1)
Brooks Koepka (20/1)

Value Bets

JT Poston
To Win (66/1), To Place (14/1)

JT Poston- who claimed his debut title last year- is a guy in excellent, under-the-radar form. An excellent tie for 8th last week at Harbour Town made it back-to-back top 10 finishes for Poston. That kind of form makes him compelling at 66/1, particularly after leading the field in putts per round. He was also 2nd in proximity to the hole in South Carolina, which could prove a crucial stat in this week’s turkey-shoot.

Joel Dahmen
To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1)

Joel Dahmen is another guy who is trending upwards in relative obscurity.  He is quietly having the best season of his career, with four top 10 finishes thus far. He faded fairly hard last week Sunday, after a Saturday 63 put him right in the mix. But it did continue an impressive scoring trend post-lockdown.  He has shot 70 or better in seven of the eight rounds played post-lockdown. Dahmen lacks the arsenal of some of the elite players, but that should be negated by this fairly tepid test.

Hollywoodbets Back on Track Punters' Challenge
The Man to Beat

Mark Leishman
To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)

This option runs slightly against my ‘hot putters’ theory. Leishman missed the cut last time out at the Charles Schwab Invitational, largely due to short-game issues: his iron-play was typically sound. I’m counting on the affable Aussie coming right this week in an event he loves. A previous winner here, Leishman has finished inside the top 25 here in five of his last eight starts. Leishman is a man with a Major Championship in him; just look at his best results this season. He won the Farmers Insurance Open before finishing runner-up at Arnie’s event.  

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