Just three tournaments remain between now and the final major (The British Open) of the year, as the Tour heads east to the Travelers Championship this week. A course notorious for its popularity among the players, TPC at River Highlands in Cromwell, CT, will play host to this tournament once again, with a top-heavy field one week off a course that played difficult at the U.S. Open.
With the winner likely destined for a near -20 finish, let’s take a look at the field and see where the value remains as far as the prop markets go.
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Abraham Ancer (+150 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Still somehow yet to find the winner’s circle, Ancer has long quietly been among the best in numerous Strokes Gained (SG) metrics. Typically lapped when it comes to driving distance, that weakness should largely fall out of play this week with short par 4’s littered throughout the course.
Before last week’s missed cut at Torrey Pines, Ancer had rattled off five straight top 20s, including a T8 at the PGA Championship. In his past two outings here at River Highlands, he’s finished eighth and 11th. If he can make some putts this week, expect to see him hovering near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Bubba Watson (+115 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Bubba Watson returns to the Travelers Championship, where he’s won three of his 12 PGA Tour wins over the course of his career. A true course workhorse, Watson takes advantage of what he does best, as evident by multiple wins coming at three different tournaments in the Masters (two), Northern Trust Open (two), WGC (two), and here at the Travelers Championship.
Watson comes into this week fresh of a T50 last week at the U.S. Open, where he was in contention heading into the weekend before going +11 over the final two days. With 50 rounds under his belt at Highlands, he ranks fifth in 1.66 strokes gained per round and has everything needed in his bag to find the top 30 this week.
Round 1 Finishing Position
Best Score – Round 1: Patrick Cantlay (+110 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
With three straight top-15 finishes and a then-record round of 60 at TPC River Highlands, few players are more comfortable at this track than Cantlay. Add in a T15 finish at Torrey Pines last week and a current top-10 ranking in Strokes Gained (SG): Around-the-green, SG: Tee-to-green, and SG: T0tal, and the World No. 1 looks poised to decimate this course come Thursday morning.
I also like the idea of fading Marc Leishman early. He has two opening-round 74s in his last three outings, including a missed cut at the PGA Championship. The third player in this group, Garrick Higgo, while just two weeks removed from his first win on Tour, missed the cut last week. I expect a similar result in a field full of heavy hitters.
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