Horses for Courses: 2020 Travelers

Enough Bermuda! Time for some bluegrass!

Travelers lands in its normal position on the schedule with the exception of being preceded by the U.S. Open.

The field will suggest it’s a major championship for the third week running!

The 69th edition of the Travelers Championshiplands on familiar ground during a familiar time of year in unfamiliar times. Since 1984 TPC River Highlands has played host and this is the 13th time in the last 14 years the event has taken place in late June after moving to this spot on the calendar in 2007.

New challenges emerge this week. For the first time in three events in the “new” season Kentucky bluegrass rough approaching four inches will be in play. Those who prefer Bermuda will have to adjust while those pining for Northern grasses should be encouraged. Add Bent/Poa annua greens to the menu and another dose of smallish greens to the menu and players will have to shift gears. Those gears won’t take much shifting as TPC River Highlands only stretches to 6,841 yards (Par-70) and just has water in play on five holes.

TPC River Highlands has crowned bomb-and-gouge (Watson x 2), straight arrows (Reavie) GIR-finders (Knox) and short-game experts (Spieth) over the last five years. One size truly fits all. Course horses will face a different challenge this year as the field, for the third week running, is overflowing with premium players. Of the top 10 OWGR nine are on site this week with only Adam Scott again being absent. Chez Reavie defends as a field of 156, including 15 of the top 20 OWGR tee it up for a chance at $1.332 million (500 FedExCup points) for the winner from a purse of $7.4 million.

Recent Winners

2019: Chez Reavie (-17, 263)

Won in his ninth visit and first time on TOUR in 11 years. … Led by six after 54 (record) and won by four over Keegan Bradley (T2). … Only top 10 here. … T3 in fairways, sixth Proximity and T7 GIR. … Led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green (fifth consecutive year the winner has been in the top six), SG: Approach-the-Green and Bogey Avoidance. … Fifth consecutive winner to lead the field in Par-4 scoring. … T3 previous week at U.S. Open. … Only three bogeys for the week.

Notables in the field this week: Bradley (T2) hasn’t missed in nine tries. … Vaughn Taylor (fourth) posted his career best in his 15th attempt. … Paul Casey opened and closed with 65 to share fifth. … Joaquin Niemann cashed T5 on debut. … Kevin Tway (T5) picked up his second consecutive top-10 payday here. … Abraham Ancer (T8) opened with 63 and closed with 64. … Day (T8) shared the low round of the week with Ancer and Reavie (63). … Bryson DeChambeau and Brian Harman found the top 10 (T8) for the second year running as well.

2018: Bubba Watson (-17, 263)

Picked up his third victory at the Travelers and third of the 2018 season. … Trailed 54-hole leader Casey by six shots, one short of the tournament record. … Closed 63-67-63. … Never been better than T58 in Driving Accuracy in three wins. … Never been worse than T4 Strokes-Gained Off-the-Tee in three wins.

Notables in the field this week: Casey (T2) led by four after 54 holes after 62 in Round 3. … Stewart Cink (T2) tied the round of the week with 62 on Sunday. … Beau Hossler joined the T2 party in his second visit. … Brian Harman (T6) led after 36 holes on 10-under. … Russell Henley (T6) backed up his T11 on debut from 2017. … Kevin Tway (T6) closed 64-67-65. … All four rounds in the 60s for DeChambeau (T9). … Jordan Spieth (T42) and Zach Johnson (T19) opened with 63 to lead after 18.

2017: Jordan Spieth (-12, 268)

Dramatically holed out from the bunker on the first playoff hole to defeat Daniel Berger (not entered). … Won on his debut. … First wire-to-wire winner since 1982. … First wire-to-wire winner at TPC River Highlands. … Only 20-something winner along with Marc Leishman (2012) this decade. … Just the fourth champion to win in his first attempt. … Posted the low round of the week (63) on Thursday to lead by one. Led the field in Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage, Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green and Par-4 scoring.

Notables in the field this week: Charley Hoffman and Danny Lee (both T3) were the only other two players to post double figures (-10). … Paul Casey (T5), this is a recording. … Even with 72 on Saturday Patrick Reed shared fifth. … CT Pan and Kevin Streelman, the 2014 champ, shared T8 as both posted 64. … Brandt Snedeker (T14) and Rory McIlroy (T17) also posted 64.

 

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

 * –  previous top 10 finish here since 2015 or previous champion

 Greens in Regulation

1  Corey Conners

4  *Paul Casey

6  *Justin Thomas

10 Brendan Steele

11 *Brooks Koepka (T9, 2016)

12 Talor Gooch

15 *Kevin Streelman (2014 winner)

16 *Jason Day

17 Cameron Tringale

18 Brice Garnett

22 Cameron Champ

23 Jhonattan Vegas

24 *Jim Furyk (TOUR record 58 here)

26 *Russell Knox (2016 winner)

 

Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage

  1  Rory McIlroy

2  *Jordan Spieth

3  *Justin Thomas

4  Patrick Cantlay (shot 60 as an amateur 2011)

5  Gary Woodland

6  Denny McCarthy

7  Aaron Wise (debut)

8  Wyndham Clark

9  Justin Rose (last visit 2013)

10 *Bryson DeChambeau

11 Si Woo Kim

12 Jon Rahm

16 Rafa Cabrera Bello (debut)

17 *Brooks Koepka

19 Dustin Johnson (last visit 2014)

20 *Troy Merritt (T8, 2017)

21 Sepp Straka

22 Ryan Palmer

23 *Vaughn Taylor

24 Bud Cauley

25 Xander Schauffele

 

Scrambling

  2  *Webb Simpson

3  Patrick Cantlay

4  Aaron Baddeley

5  Lucas Glover

6  Matt Jones

7  Sungjae Im

9  Denny McCarthy

9  Brian Stuard

13 *Jim Furyk

14 Bud Cauley

16 *Marc Leishman

19 Ryan Armour

20 *CT Pan

21 *Vaughn Taylor

22 Si Woo Kim

26 Rory McIlroy

26 *Brandt Snedeker

 

Giddy Up     

Bubba Watson: Performances at the US Open be damned! Winner in 2010, 2015 and 2018 plus three additional top-10 paydays; No. 1 on the all-time money list; 67.67 scoring average and has cashed in 11 of 13.

Paul Casey: Never missed in five tries; T5 in four of five; 67.10 scoring average with 17 of 20 rounds under-par.

Brian Harman: 54-hole leader in 2015 finished T3; 36-hole leader in 2018 (T6) and played in penultimate group; closed final 54 holes last year 12-under (T8); Eight of nine lifetime.

Marc Leishman: 2012 champ T30 or better in six of his nine visits; posted 62 on Sunday in his win.

Ryan Moore: In 12 starts he’s racked up EIGHT T17 or better, which includes five top-10 paychecks. Stroke average is 67.82 in 44 rounds.

Keegan Bradley: Home game brings out the best as he hasn’t missed in nine tries; 31-under in his last four trips include a pair of top-10 finishes plus a T25; T2 and T8 two of the last three years.

Kevin Streelman: 2014 winner has cashed nine of 12; last 10 rounds here in the red; last 12 rounds here are par or better; Of 42 rounds, seven are 64 or better.

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