Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: The Travelers Championship

The Course

  • TPC River Highlands
  • Cromwell, Connecticut
  • Par 70
  • 6,841 yards
    • Pete Dye redesigned the course in the early 80’s but it saw further remodeling close to a decade later
    • Poa annua and bentgrass mixed fairways and greens
    • Shorter course: twelve par 4’s and their average length is roughly 414 yards & there’s four par 3’s; two are 171 yards or shorter
    • Some water in play but it’s not extremely penal
    • Narrow fairways and small greens
    • Tree-lined course but many of the holes play wide open
    • The course itself isn’t that hard so to make it a bit tougher they will use tricky pin placements
    • The temperature looks like it will be in the 70’s with wind around 5-10 mph and a small chance of rain each day

Key Stats

  • SG: tee-to-green
  • GIR
  • Birdie or better %
  • Bogey avoidance
  • Par 5 scoring

The Field

There are quite a few players coming straight from California after the U.S. Open to play this week at TPC River Highlands. Among them are Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, the defending champ: Bubba Watson, and many more. The Travelers Championship tends to be the second most attended event, right behind the Waste Management Open, which plays a large part in attracting some of golf’s biggest stars.

Strategy

Because it is a short course there are a lot of golfers who choose to try and bomb-and-gouge their way through the tournament. But, the course’s 18 hole record is held by Jim Furyk who shot a final round 58 here back in 2016. If you don’t have length off of the tee then you can certainly make up for it with a sharp iron game or great around the green work, which is typical with a Pete Dye design.

The main takeaway: bombers might be the attractive play, but any type of golfer can find success this week – that’s why my key stats for are fairly basic.

Big Dogs ($9,000 and up on DK)

Solid (Cash)

    • Patrick Cantlay ($11,300 DK – $11,500 FD) – even with Koepka in the field Cantlay is my highest projected golfer to win this week. He’s also the highest in my stat model for this course over the entire year and as an amateur at TPC River Highlands in 2011 he shot a course record 60 that wasn’t broken until Furyk in 2016. He had another good showing last week as he finished T21 even with an opening round +2. Also, at this event last year he finished T15 so I could imagine he will get some love this week.
    • Paul Casey ($9,500 DK – $11,300 FD) – Casey also finished T21 at the U.S. Open last week so it would seem that he is back on track after his WD at the Charles Schwab several weeks ago. He arguably has the best record on this course in recent years with 2nd place finishes in both 2015 and 2018, as well as a 17th place finish in 2016 and a 5th place finish in 2017. Sometimes when a player has an injury or WD in the not too distant past there can be a surge in ownership for GPP’s due to the inherent risk. I predict that will be the case this week with Casey given his course history… which is why I’m more inclined to play him in Cash lineups.
    • Tony Finau ($9,000 DK – $10,600 FD) – even coming off of back to back missed cuts I see Tony as being a somewhat chalky play this week with the bomber narrative floating around. Before those missed cuts he finished 2nd at the Charles Schwab and in his last three attempts here he finished 25th, 25th, and 17th in 2015, 2016, and 2017 respectively. He’s a guy that should be able to score on DFS no matter what and is comfortable on the Highlands even though he isn’t in the best form at the moment. And, if for some reason he appears to be going low owned this week… he could be a very good GPP play. That’s a big IF though.

Risky (GPP)

    • Brooks Koepka ($11,800 DK – $12,600 FD) – even with his outright 2nd place finish last week at the U.S. Open (where he was looking to three-peat) there is a good chance that people think Koepka will just be going through the motions like at his last non-major, the Canadian Open, where he finished 50th. If that’s the case he’s got too much talent to pass up at low ownership; especially on a course where his last two finishes have been a 9th (2016) and 19th (2018).
    • Francesco Molinari ($10,300 DK – $11,000 FD) – Molinari certainly doesn’t fit the “bomber” build and is the fourth highest priced golfer with the likes of Jason Day, Justin Thomas, and Paul Casey right beneath him. He finished T16 at the U.S. Open last week but that was his first time in four tournaments that he had finished better than 48th. Moli hasn’t played here since 2016 where he finished 47th, so at this price tag I’m thinking he could go somewhat overlooked at a time when he might be turning it on before defending his throne at the Open Championship.
    • Tommy Fleetwood ($9,300 DK – $10,700 FD) – out of his last four finishes in the states dating back to the Masters Fleetwood’s best finish has been a 25th at the Heritage (few might know this but a month and a half ago he finished 8th at the Betfred British Masters). I haven’t checked before 2014 but to my knowledge Fleetwood has never golfed at TPC River Highlands before. So with all the guys priced below him that have top-10’s at this course and/or in recent tournaments on Tour, including three time winner Bubba Watson, I foresee a good deal of people passing up on Tommy Fleetwood this week.

Value ($7,400 – $8,900 on DK)

Solid (Cash)

    • Brandt Snedeker ($8,600 DK – $10,000 FD) – Snedeker missed the cut last week at the U.S. Open but before that he had three straight top-20’s including a 4th place finished the week before at the Canadian Open. There is also a similar trend at this course where he missed the cut last year but in his three previous attempts at TPC River Highlands he finished inside the top-15. This year Sneds has been one of the best players on and around the greens and I expect that to continue here where his lack of distance clearly hasn’t been much of a factor in the past.
    • Kevin Streelman ($8,200 DK – $9,500 FD) – we haven’t seen Streelman in over two weeks since the Memorial but he is coming off of a five straight cuts made streak where three of those five finishes have been 6th place or better. He also has a good track record in the Travelers Championship which includes a win in 2014, an 8th place finish in 2017, and a 33rd place finish last year. He’s been very consistent tee-to-green this year so with his recent form and course history I could imagine he ends up being fairly popular this week.
    • Byeong Hun An ($7,800 DK – $9,600 FD) – after the missed cuts and the WD in three events from the Heritage to the PGA Championship, Benny An has definitely shown that he is back and ready to play. He is coming off of two straight top-20’s including a T16 last week at the U.S. Open. As one of the longest hitters on Tour, averaging roughly 307 yards per drive, and being 11th in SG: tee-to-green I have full confidence in An’s ability to bomb-and-gouge this week.

Risky (GPP)

    • Ryan Moore ($7,800 DK – $9,400 FD) – Moore missed the cut in the Travelers Championship last year but his two finishes before that were a 17th in 2016 and a 5th in 2014. He is 194th in driving distance this year so I can’t imagine that he will be a very sexy pick especially when you see that his best finish in his last four events was a 33rd at the Memorial. Moore has been under-performing lately but looks like he is about to trend back up so this is one pick that I’m trying to get ahead of the curve on.
    • C.T. Pan ($7,600 DK – $8,900 FD) – in two of Pan’s last five events he has missed the cut by a wide margin, but those were at majors so I am willing to cut him some slack, while another two of those five tournaments were a 3rd and 1st place finish. He missed the cut here last year but finished 8th the year before and 25th the last time he played before that in 2015. C.T. is one of the shorter hitters on Tour averaging south of 290 yards per drive and is very hard to predict so it will be interesting to see if he decides to show up this week or not.
    • Lucas Glover ($7,500 DK – $9,300 FD) – Glover is 0 for 2 in cuts at the Travelers in the last five years and has progressively shot worse in back to back events since his 16th place finish at the PGA Championship (52nd at the Memorial and 80th at the U.S. Open). He is still going to rate out well at TPC River Highlands based off of his stats, just like he does at most courses, so I am hoping that I can get him at a discount this week (and with less ownership) and pray for a bounce back.

Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)

Hybrid – Solid (Cash)/Risky (GPP)

    • Sung Kang ($7,300 DK – $9,100 FD) – all of these guys are too inconsistent for me to consider Cash plays but some of them could garner a decent amount of ownership so I made this a hybrid category this week. Sung Kang won at the Byron Nelson and then finished 7th at the PGA Championship the following week… only to miss the cut by a healthy margin in his only event since then (the Memorial). He also doesn’t seem to play well here with a 70th place finish in 2016 and then two missed cuts in 2017 and 2018. Like I said, there is a lot of risk here but for $7,300 there is also a lot of upside.
    • Joel Dahmen ($7,200 DK – $8,600 FD) – Dahmen has missed two out of his last four cuts (his best finish being a 68th in that time — woof) and he missed one out of his last two cuts at the Travelers (with his best finish being a 62nd there — also woof). But after missing four straight cuts starting with the Waste Management earlier this year he went on to make eight straight and five of those eight were top-20 finishes. Dahmen has shown to be a very streaky player over the last several seasons but I would be willing to bet that he manages to find a top-20 in one of his next two events.
    • Troy Merritt ($7,100 DK – $8,300 FD) – Merritt hasn’t been all that great on TPC River Highlands, missing three out of his last five cuts here, but in 2017 he finished 8th. The last time we saw him was at the Memorial where he went into the weekend at -9 but shot +3 combined on Saturday and Sunday to end up at -6 which was only good enough for a T17. A bad weekend might’ve spoiled a potential win or top-5 finish for Merritt, so if he can let that roll off his back there’s a chance that he will surprise a bunch of people this week who forgot about his performance that week… or he could continue to spiral.
    • Dylan Frittelli ($7,100 DK – $8,000 FD) – Frittelli has made six out of his last seven cuts and he’s managed to do that with a slightly better than average tee to green game, diving distance, GIR, and scrambling; while his overall accuracy and ability to knock down putts has been somewhat lacking. He hasn’t made his way into the top-10 yet this year but he has shown that he can manage to find his way into the top-30 at a fairly steady clip. The product of South Africa, Frittelli has seen much better success over the last year on the European Tour but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of that starts to carryover here into the States.
    • Brian Stuard ($7,000 DK – $8,200 FD) – Staurd is one of the shortest drivers on Tour averaging a hair under 275 yards per drive but he is coming off of an impressive six straight made cuts streak. He’s 9th in driving accuracy, 14th in proximity, and 6th in scrambling this year with an above average putter so he should be able to manage on a short track where he has plenty of experience.
    • Matt Jones ($6,900 DK – $8,500 FD) – Jones has struggled of late, missing two out of his last three cuts and his other finish was a 41st at the Memorial. It’s worth noting that his two missed cuts were last week at the U.S. Open where he missed the cut right on the number and at the Charles Schwab where he only missed it by two strokes. Outside of that Jones is coming off of a great stretch where he made nine out of nine cuts on Tour between the Farmers Insurance and the Byron Nelson with four top-20’s in that time so it wouldn’t surprise me to seem him bounce back this week at a course where he finished 19th last year.

Dark Horses

Solid (Cash)

    • Peter Malnati ($6,900 DK – $7,900 FD) – I usually don’t have Cash plays down in the Dark Horse category but I feel somewhat confident with these two this week. Malnati has only missed one cut out of his last seven events (with one MDF in there as well) and he finished 40th or better in five out of those seven tournaments — and three of those were even inside of the top-25. Also, he finished 26th at the Travelers last year so his solid iron game and superb putter should be able to carry him here yet again.
    • Cameron Tringale ($6,700 DK – $7,600 FD) – in four out of Cameron’s last five tournaments he has placed inside of the top-25 including an 11th place finish at his last event, the Canadian Open. His driving distance has improved from last year and so has his accuracy off the tee (it’s still not great) but that has vastly improved his ability to score (top-25 in par 4 scoring) because Tringale has had pretty steady irons for a while now.

Risky (GPP)

    • Matthew Wolff ($7,300 DK – $8,700 FD) – last week I was on Viktor Hovland, the number 1 ranked amatuer in the world, but this week I will pivot off of him (Hovland might be a popluar play) and select the number two amatuer in the world… his teammate at Oklahoma State: Matthew Wolff. Well, they’re no longer amatuers because both will be making their pro debuts this week but Wolff was the consensus national player of the year and NCAA champion so for $600 cheaper, and hopefully lower ownership, I’m turnig to Michael Wolff.
    • Collin Morikawa ($6,900 DK – $8,700 FD) – another amatuer turned pro, Morikawa competed in his first Tour event as a pro two weeks ago at the Canadian Open where he finished T14. After that he went on to place T35 at the U.S. Open and looks to continue his impressive play this week at the Travelers Championship. The four time All-American might be one of the lesser known new faces on Tour so this could be the perfect time to capitalize on one of golf’s rising stars.
    • Hank Lebioda ($6,700 DK – $7,600 FD) – if you were thinking about taking Emiliano Grillo or Keegan Bradley this week, it might be worth taking a look at Lebioda instead. Grillo and Bradley might be two of the best ball striker/iron players on Tour but Emiliano could be somewhat chalky this week while Keegan is in somewhat of a slump. Lebioda might not be as good with his irons but he is a slightly better putter (which isn’t saying much) and better around the greens… outside of that they all have very similar playing styles. We haven’t seen much of Hank lately but two of his last four events have been top-20’s so he could be worth it at only $6,700.

 

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Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.

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