The US Open at Pebble Beach was fun and fairly successful, not only for the winner, Gary Woodland, but for our picks.
Jim Furyk, unfortunately, wasn’t quite able to stay inside the top twenty for a (+350) payout as he would’ve needed minus 3 for the tournament but ended the weekend at 1 under par.
I really thought he had the stuff in a pick’em to outplay Brit Tyrrell Hatton but 27-year-old finished one stroke better.
Matt Wallace, though, picked up the slack for us for a top twenty bet win at T-12 at 3.5 to 1.
Nashville-native Brandt Snedeker made the cut at (-205) and our over/under bet of more than 3.5 players finishing under par rocked out with 31 golfers ended Sunday below that line at (-170).
This week, the PGA Tour crosses the states to Connecticut for the aptly named Travelers Championship at TPC Highlands in the “lovely” city of Hartford.
Ah, such fond memories of that place…
My one and only visit was on Halloween way back in 2002 and was highlighted by being egged by some mischievous teens after making the grave mistake of rolling my window down at a stop light to “answer a question”.
I hear the golf course is nice, though.
TPC River Highlands is very short golf course; second shortest on the PGA Tour, in fact.
The fairways are tree-lined and it plays quite straight forward, literally with minimal doglegs but there is some water to worry about.
Bombers of the golf ball off the tee have historically played well here as the fairways are quite wide at 37 yards and birdies shouldn’t be too difficult on the par 4’s with a decent approach.
This week we will see a surprisingly strong field of golfers just a few days after a major event especially considering Pebble Beach is 3,000 miles away from TPC River Highlands in Hartford.
Even more surprising is that Brooks Koepka is in contention. He took a week off after finishing runner-up at The Masters and a three-week break post victory at the PGA Championship.
Even when he plays them, he has developed a reputation, as you may know, of underperforming in the smaller tournaments preceding a major event where he always seems to excel.
This is the first time I can remember that we get to see him compete just a few days after a major, so it will be interesting how he performs.
We can say that about several golfers this week, though, especially the ones who played all four days this past weekend at the US Open in California.
Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari, and Marc Leishman are all names that come to mind.
I don’t know if I want to steer clear and fade all of these guys, though. Cantlay is playing as hot as anyone and Aussie Marc Leishman happens to excel in America’s northeast particularly at this course.
Lastly, before we get to our picks I have to mention my best good friend.
No, not that friend.
The multiple time mulleted Masters Champion, Bubba Watson.
Just let me know when my jokes are getting old, guys.
He’s a three-time winner and defending champ here at TPC River Highlands and 28-1 to do it for the fourth time.
BetOnline has the odds.
Let’s get to the picks and keep the money cart buzzing down the path.
Casey is a guy who has absolutely decimated this course in his four-lifetime appearances at River Highlands.
17th, 5th, and 2 runner finishes for the man from Great Britain!
Now you see why he is almost even money to earn a top twenty spot this weekend.
Yes, he did play last week at Pebble but he ended the weekend T-21 with an excellent fourth round of 4 under par.
Only Webb Simpson bettered him in that regard shooting minus 5 on Sunday.
This was a strong showing in his return to play after withdrawing at the Fort Worth Invitational in late May.
It appears that he is healed up and in good form once again this year. He has been known to choke when the pressure is on so picking him to win this week is an Armstrong level stretch.
I’ll take him top ten, though, at 2-1.
Maybe you think I’m coming out of nowhere with this pick but Hoffman has played fairly well in non-major events as of late.
He has 4 top 20’s including a top 10 and runner up in his last 6 non-majors.
Charley is also coming off of a two-week break after the Memorial at the beginning of the month.
Most notably, though, are his consistently solid finishes at TPC River Highlands.
He has ended play on Sunday inside the top 26 in his previous 6 appearances here.
This includes a 7th place, 3rd place, and runner up.
He is 41 and overweight but shouldn’t be dealing with too much fatigue after two weeks off and very mild weather forecasted for this weekend in Hartford.
A top ten payout would be nice but let’s not push it here.
I’ll take him at 2.5 to 1.
Jordan Spieth to Lead After the First Round: +2200
As we take a step back for a moment from really trying to nail down the true top value available, let’s try and get a big win.
Jordan Spieth, it appears so at least, is back in his proper form after falling off the track for nearly two years.
We know he is one of the most talented golfers on the Tour and it was almost inevitable for him to have somewhat of a slump after bursting onto the PGA Tour with such hype and success.
He did have a rough go of it last week at the US Open finishing 65th but we can look at this in a positive light and say at least he wasn’t too mentally stressed over the Saturday and Sunday.
Jordan is young and in shape and that should benefit him well with the coast-to-coast travel.
In his previous three appearances on Tour prior to Pebble Beach, he finished 7th at The Memorial, 8th at Fort Worth, and 3rd at the PGA Championship.
As far as his tournament history at The Travelers, last year he stunk it up.
In his defense, he was smelly for a large part of 2018.
In his only other appearance at River Highlands, he won it in ‘17.
He isn’t a bad pick to win or top 10 but I like him as the first round leader.
He is 8th on Tour in that statistic this year. Take into account also that he had zero top 20 finishes this season prior to the previously mentioned three tournaments.
The Australian from Queensland is one of the best putters on the PGA Tour. He ranks 12th in that category but doesn’t get as much hype or talk as he should about his abilities off-the-tee.
He is 14th in shots gained in that category and 15th overall for the season.
He is coming off of a very solid showing at the US Open but not one that one would think would have his nerves fried from a top 3 or 5 finish where winning was a possibility on Sunday.
He also didn’t play the previous week so fatigue hopefully won’t rear its unpleasant mug.
Looking at PGA Tour golfers’ statistics in the rain, you’ll see that Jason gains nearly 3 shots in the rain which is good for fourth on the list since 2017.
He also has to be very hungry for a win and this week’s Travelers Championship could be his best opportunity of the year.
We have to go back to May of 2018 to find Day’s last victory when he won the Wells Fargo from Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
He was 12th here last year, so I like him at even money for a top 20.
The Kentucky-native and Wildcat is having a solid year and is ranked 37th in the FedEx Cup points standings.
Why are the odds so long then?
Well, he’s coming off of three straight missed cuts.
That’s not good.
He finished 2nd here in 2018, though.
Okay, that’s better.
He can’t putt, though, as he is nearly 200th on the Tour in that category.
If he can just nail his approach shots, particularly from about 7 feet away as he is 23rd on Tour from that distance.
Everybody has their sweet spot I suppose.
The statistic that did it for me with J.B. was his strokes gained in the rain versus expected strokes gained and it’s a difference of over +0.6.
That’s seventh on Tour in the past 5 years.
We are expecting rain both Thursday and Friday, so I think he stacks up alright.
He has a win this season at the Genesis Open and placed second here a year ago, so why not give ‘em a few dollars?
Russell drives the ball accurately and he has his spots he putts well from, even though overall he is weak in that area like his former SEC foe Holmes.
Henley was off all of last week so he isn’t dealing with any kind of hangover, at least in that regard.
What I’m loving with the Georgia-native is that in his two appearances at TPC River Highlands, he finished 11th then built upon that to come in 6th last year.
Let’s go top twenty.
The 29-year-old Thai from Bangkok has cracked the world top 50 and continues to surprise fans, bettors, and experts alike on the Tour this season.
He also has 3rd and 4th place finishes at WGC events this season.
He did miss the cut at the US Open which isn’t usually a good thing but, hey, that’s two extra days of rest.
Kiradech finished top twenty at The Memorial and even managed a T-5 at the Byron Nelson Classic just over a month ago, so we could say he’s in decent form.
There is no course history here. Maybe that’s why his payouts are so high but I’ll take it.
Exceptional putting is imperative at River Highlands and he ranks 7th in overall putting average.
I don’t see any reason to not throw a few bucks down on the Thai here for a top twenty for more than a 5 to 1 payout.
Ugh, another major tournament hangover…
A US Open one at that…
At Pebble Beach too…
Then golfers have to fly 3,000 miles to the not so beautiful city of Hartford, dodge eggs on their way to TPC River Highlands from the airport, and attempt to play another 72 holes of golf over the next 4 days.
These guys are athletes.
I don’t care what anybody says.
I attempted to stay away from golfers who were in contention on Sunday at the US Open because most of them would’ve taken the week off if they had not already committed to the Travelers Championship.
Last week was a pretty good one for our picks.
I really think we can keep it going at this short Connecticut course.
We were all over the map today with a Brit, an Aussie, a Thai, a Texan, two southern boys, and a Californian with two famous potential father figures.
Tune in, turn up your Arnie’s, and bet hard!