DraftKings Picks for The Travelers Championship 2021
The 121st US Open came down to the wire on Sunday as Jon Rahm used birdies on the final two holes to take the lead and it was enough to conquer Torrey Pines and capture his first major championship on his first Father’s Day. This week the PGA Tour travels coast to coast for the second week in row as TPC River Highlands prepares to host the 2021 Travelers Championship. Let’s get you set to see some green screens on DraftKings this weekend.
What's up golf addicts! AC here, checking in week to week to provide a quick preview of the upcoming PGA Tour event. I’ll give you the lowdown on the course, the players, some key stats, and our favorite DraftKings picks for the week.
“I want...what they want, and every other guy who came over here, and spilt his guts and gave everything he had wants.” - Jon Rahm-bo. Actually the line came from John Rambo but the statement was made last weekend as Rahm made his presence felt at Torrey Pines capturing his first major just 15 days after having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament due to Covid-19 with a six-shot lead. Congrats to all the backers and anyone who tailed my top three plays last week. Rahm, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele all cashed their top 10, top 20, and head to head bets.
The race for the FedEx Cup really starts to heat up now as just seven weeks of qualifying remain in the PGA Tour season including the Open Championship then of course the FedEx Cup Playoffs. We return to another Pete Dye track this week as the field heads to the North East, landing in Cromwell, Connecticut for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
The Travelers Championship has produced some great champions including Bubba Watson, Bubba Watson, and Bubba Watson. I kid, but Bubba has dominated TPC River Highlands winning the event in 2018, 2015, and 2010. Dustin Johnson returns as the defending champion after a victory in 2020. Past champs also include Chez Reavie (2018), Jordan Spieth (2017), Russell Knox (2016), and Kevin Streelman (2014). Spieth is the only one in the group choosing not to attend this year.
Bryson DeChambeau also headlines the field of 156. Brooks Koepka has made the cross country journey to join his brother Chase, along with Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Scottie Scheffler, Tony FInau, Abraham Ancer, and Matthew Wolff.
TPC River Highlands Course Breakdown
The greens are on the smallish side and feature a mix of Bentgrass and Poa annua. Lots of bunkers surround the greens and line the fairways with a healthy grouping of trees along the course as well. The same mix of grass can be found on the fairways and tee boxes with a thick Kentucky bluegrass and fescue mix awaiting those wayward off the tee. This course has been around a long time so lots of course history to pull from this week.
According to Fantasy National’s course breakdown, putting is the highest strokes gained stat from players inside the top 10. That does make sense when you look at the past champs as players of all skill sets have lifted the trophy on Sunday. Looking at key stats this week, the three of us are pretty much in agreement.
Approach and ball striking are important. Lots of low scores will be out there so opportunities gained paired with some birdie or better% will tell you who’s setting themselves up. With only two par 5s you will need to take advantage of those and seven of the holes every round will be 400-450 yard par 4s. With course history playin a part this week, DB likes to take a look at the rolling report for ball striking over the years at River Highlands.
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The Picks & Fades
Each week I will give you my plays and a fade from each DraftKings salary range.
DB: Play - Paul Casey | Fade - Dustin Johnson
Pat: Play - Joaquin Niemann | Fade - Matthew Wolff
AC: Play - Paul Casey, Scottie Scheffler, Abraham Ancer | Fade - Matthew Wolff
It hurts a bit to not have BK on here but everyone is aware of my love and he is generally dangerous every time he tees it up. I’ll start with Casey. The last six months he is 1st tee to green (T2G), 7th in birdies or better (BoB), 5th in good drives gained, 9th in 400-450 par 4s and 1st in par 5 scoring. Scheff is quite similar coming off of back to back top 10s. He is also 2nd in BoB% and 5th in DraftKings scoring. Ancer is #1 in my six-month model with 50 rounds during that time. Top 10 is T2G, ball striking, opps gained, fairways, good drives, and par 4 scoring. Fading Wolff. He’s played the fewest of any guy up here and has the worst track record on Pete Dye designs.
DB: Play - Brian Harman | Fade - Adam Scott
Pat: Play - Harris English | Fade - Justin Rose
AC: Play - Brian Harman, Charley Hoffman | Fade - Cameron Smith
Harman’s stats are great and along with his recent form, Pete Dye track record, and course history it’s really just too much to pass up this week. Ownership beware. No shocker here but I am still aboard the Charley train and hope the ticket doesn’t run out all season. Where Harman has the elite short game, Hoffman has the elite long game. Man if these two made a baby… Both men are studs on par 5s and rate out really well in the 400-450 range. Fading the mullet this week. Sorry, Kyle! Smith never looks good in any model anyway but his Dye track and corollary course record are just quite poor so no Cam for me this week.
DB: Play - Doc Redman | Fade - Phil Mickelson
Pat: Play - Keegan Bradley | Fade - Kevin Na
AC: Play - Keegan Bradley, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler | Fade - Max Homa
I’m hoping the “home game” for Keegan helps with his putter but really he has only lost strokes in two of his last eight starts. The rest of the numbers are fire though, including 13th in strokes gained total through 34 rounds at River Highlands. Burns’ history isn’t bad either with two starts including a T24 last year. Burns also enters the week 2nd in opps gained, 3rd in BoB%, 3rd in DK scoring, 6th in Par 5 scoring, and 7th in putting over his last 42 rounds. Though we have only seen rickie in 17 rounds over the last three months, the numbers are good enough again for him to sneak back into the top 10 of my model. Back to back rounds of a hot putter look real nice and he has been 2nd in scrambling over that time. He’s top 15 in par 4 scoring and the ball striking numbers are on a nice trend. He just announced he is having a baby girl this fall and his Pete Dye and comp course record are solid including a t13 here in his only start. I’ve been on Homa for a while and it has been a rather bumpy ride. Going to hop off for a week. If his current trend continues, this should be a missed cut and looking at his Pete Dye track record I won’t be surprised.
DB: Play - Adam Hadwin, Patrick Rodgers, Vincent Whaley
Pat: Play - Hank Lebioda, Joseph Bramlett, Scott Stallings
AC: Play - Adam Long, Ryan Armour, Austin Eckroat
Long won’t jump off the page immediately but over the last two months he is 10th in fairways, 5th in 400-450 par 4s, and 6th in putting. He also has back to back top 25 finishes at the Travelers and back to back top 26s in his last two starts. Armour has a decent history here including a T6 in 2020. He is also coming off back to back top 26s with an 8th place finish at Palmetto. In his last 12 rounds he is 1st in 400-450 par 4 scoring, 8th in fairways and 14th in putting. Eckroat is a young up and comer who has rattled off a few nice starts on the Korn Ferry Tour. This will actually be his first PGA Tour start but has had some experience as an amateur and was definitely a stand out coming out of university.
THE INS & OUTS
OUT: Luke List, Erik Van Rooyen, Joel Dahmen
IN: Ryan Brehm, Sebastian Cappelen, DJ Trahan
Stephen Stallings, Jr. (9 birdies)
Seamus Power (1 eagle, 6 birdies, 1 bogey)
Lucas Herbert (7 birdies, 1 bogey)
67 (-5; via 4-way playoff)
Andrew Svoboda (6 birdies, 1 bogey)
- Field at 156