Horses for Courses: Travelers Championship

Fans in the stands.

DJ defends.

Bubba looks for title No. 4

Only the Waste Management gets more thru the door!

One of the surest signs that summer has arrived is the Travelers Championship following the completion of the US Open. Last year that wasn’t the case as TPC River Highlands kept its usual spot on the calendar but was the third tournament following the restart. This marked only the second time (2016 Rio Olympics) since 2007 that the event did not follow the US Open.

With the third major of the year in the books, it’s time for the summer run. What better way to begin the summer than making birdies and eagles and posting multiple rounds in the 60s?

The last two weeks on TOUR the scorecard has read 7,685 yards at Torrey Pines and 7,655 yards at Congaree. This week, as usual, TPC River Highlands will only stretch to 6,841 making it the third shortest on TOUR only behind Royal Palm (Bermuda) and Pebble Beach.

RELATED: Expert Picks

Playing at Par-70 with only two Par-5 holes Par-4 scoring will be the focus this week. The last six winners have all led the field in this category. The last three years the cut has been UNDER PAR so scores above 70 need not apply. The average winning score is around 16-under in the recent past so Par also will be on vacation this week! There were 16 players who made 20 or more birdies last year.

There’s room to move it off the tee so attacking the 5,000 square foot greens will be easier from the fairway than 3.5 inches of Bluegrass and Fescue. The Bent/Poa greens will run at normal TOUR speed but are not slick or hazardous. Water hazards on four holes don’t sound like much of a problem but TPC River Highlands is annually in the top 10 for water balls on TOUR.

Dustin Johnson leads the field of 156 and will look to join Phil Mickelson (2001-02) as the only other player to defend the trophy. The top 65 and ties will play the weekend, as usual. Jim Furyk posted a final round 58 here in 2016 and yet didn’t win. Kenny Perry’s 258 in 2009 is the best TPC River Highlands has allowed since hosting from 1984.

Of the top 10 money leaders all time at the event eight are entered this week.

On the line this week is a $7.4 million prize pool with $1.332 million to the winner plus 500 FedExCup points.

Recent Event Winners Stats

 Dustin JohnsonChez ReavieBubba Watson
To Par-19-17-17
MOV1 (Streelman)43
Cut -2-2
 Birthday Tuesday  
Disantance – All Drives16564
Driving AccuarcyT47T3T70
Putting: Birdie or Better %5T1715
SG: Off-the-Tee46104
SG: Approach-the-Green6118
SG: Around-the-Green252410
SG: Putting41022
SG: Tee-to-Green612
Bogey AvoidanceT121T10
Par-3 ScoringT7T16T49
Par-4 Scoring111
Par-5 ScoringT47T31T2

Recent Winners

2020: Dustin Johnson (-19, 261)
Closed 61-67 for his first victory in four tries here. … Posted TOUR career best 61 in Round 3 to get within two. … Was two back in the final group (Todd) on Sunday. … Sixth consecutive winner to finish T6 or better Strokes-Gained: Tee to Green. … Sat T79 after Round 1, deepest position for an eventual winner. … Picks up TOUR win No. 21 at 36 years old. … Won in his first appearance since 2014. … Missed the cut at Colonial and was T17 at Hilton Head the previous two weeks, the first two of the restart.

Notables in the field this week:
2014 champ Kevin Streelman (2nd) missed a playoff by a shot. … Sponsor exemption Will Gordon (T3) led the field with 27 birdies and posted rounds of 62 and 64 on debut. … Mackenzie Hughes (T3) led after 18 holes after posting a career best 60. … Kevin Na (5th) only squared three bogeys (no others) for the week. … Ryan Armour (T6) led the field in Putts per GIR. … Bryson DeChambeau (T6) led the field in Driving Distance. … Patton Kizzire (T6) cashed his first top 10 in five tries. … Scott Stallings (T6) also squared just three bogeys all week. … Brendan Steele (T6) posted his second career round of 62 here in Round 2. … 36-hole leader Phil Mickelson (T24) opened 64-63 before playing the weekend 2-over. … Brendon Todd (T11) set the 54-hole record (18-under) following his third round 61. … Doc Redman (T11) tied the low round on Sunday with 63. … Chez Reavie (T46) opened with 70 and never factored. … Top 36 players were 10-under or lower. … Cut was 4-UNDER. … Scoring average 68.574.

2019 – Chez Reavie (-17, 263)
Ball in hand was used in the first two rounds. … Led by six, a tournament record, after 54 holes. … Won by four shots. … Second career win after 2008 RBC Canadian Open. … Won in his ninth start here at 37 years old. … Only top 10. … First TOUR win in 250 starts. … Becomes just the seventh 54-hole leader to close the deal since 2000. … Made only three bogeys. … Only winner in the last six to finish INSIDE the top 30 in fairways as he was T3. … 63 on Saturday matched the low round of the week. … Cashed T3 at US Open (Pebble Beach) the week before.

Notables in the field this week:
Keegan Bradley (T2) cut Reavie’s lead to one before a double on the 71st hole knocked him out. … Vaughn Taylor (T4) circled 22 birdies, second most on the week. … Paul Casey (T5) picked up his fourth top five finish in five visits. … Joaquin Niemann (T5) posted all four rounds in the red on his debut. … Kevin Tway (T5) backed up his T6 from 2018. … Co-First Round Leader Abraham Ancer (T8) opened with 64 and matched the co-low round of the week, 63, on Sunday. … Jason Day (T8) also fired 63. … Bryson DeChambeau (T8) was third with 21 birdies and 46th in Driving Distance. … Brian Harman (T8) closed 66-66-66 after 72 to open. … KH Lee (T13) was one of six to post 64 after Round 1. … Defending champion Bubba Watson (T54) didn’t break par on the weekend. … Top 12 players 10-under or better. … Cut was 2-UNDER. … Scoring average 69.724.

2018: Bubba Watson (-17, 263)
Picked up his third win in nine years. … Trailed by six entering the final round. … Trailed by six entering the final round to reach and win a playoff in 2010, his first win on TOUR. … Also won the 2015 edition. … Played his final 54 holes 17-under. … 22 birdies (T2) and one eagle. … Closed with his second 63 of the week. … Only winner of the last six inside T10 in Par-5 scoring (T2). … Won WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and Genesis Open earlier in the season. … US Open results do not matter for him as he plays well where he plays well. … No. 1 all-time money list.

Notables in the field this week:
Paul Casey (T2) held the 54-hole lead by four shots after posting the first 62 of two for the week. … Stewart Cink (T2) posted the other 62 on Sunday and co-led the field with 23 birdies. … JB Holmes (T2) signed for his only top 10 in seven trips. … Beau Hossler (T2) ranked T3 Putting. … Brian Harman (T6) held the 36- hole lead. … Russell Henley (T6) only made two bogeys for the week. … Kevin Tway (T6) closed 64-67-65 for his first top 10 here. … Bryson DeChambeau (T9) began his streak of three top 10s. … Anirban Lahiri (T9) backed up his T17 from 2017 with his first top 10 here. … Monday Qualifier Chase Seiffert (T9) closed with 64. … Defending champ Jordan Spieth (T42) opened with 63 before fading. … Zach Johnson (T19) shared the first round lead with Spieth on 63. … Brooks Koepka (T19) also made 23 birdies. … Cut was 2-UNDER. … Scoring average 69.436.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes-Gained: Tee to Green
3Bryson DeChambeau
4Patrick Cantlay
6Brooks Koepka
7Paul Casey
9Keegan Bradley
10Tony Finau
16Dustin Johnson
19Charley Hoffman
23Aaron Wise
24Doug Ghim
26Joaquin Niemann
27Russell Henley
28Scottie Scheffler
29Abraham Ancer
31Patrick Reed
32Kevin Streelman
36Harold Varner III
37Emiliano Grillo
38Jason Day
39Chris Kirk
40Francesco Molinari
Par-4 Scoring
1Emiliano Grillo
3Patrick Cantlay
4Abraham Ancer
4Chris Kirk
4Russell Henley
8Scottie Scheffler
11Sam Burns
11Doug Ghim
11Cameron Tringale
11Patton Kizzire
24Kevin Streelman
24Carlos Ortiz
24Chase Seiffert
24Roger Sloan
24Brooks Koepka
24Doc Redman
24Ryan Armour
24Anirban Lahiri
Rounds in the 60s
2Emiliano Grillo
3Charley Hoffman
3Patton Kizzire
6Carlos Ortiz
6Joaquin Niemann
8Abraham Ancer
8Brian Harman
11Cameron Tringale
12Kevin Streelman
12Sepp Straka
14Tony Finau
17Matt Jones
17Troy Merritt
19Sam Burns
19Harris English
19Pat Perez
22Sebastian Munoz
22Scottie Scheffler
22Brian Stuard
22Russell Henley

Horses for Courses

Top golfers over the last five Travelers entered this week and other exceptions

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25Most
Dustin Johnson (3/4)11Win (2020)First appearance since 2014
Kevin Streelman (10/13)562 (2020)Win 2014; T8 2017; No. 2 all-time money list; 16 straight par or better
Mackenzie Hughes (4/4)12T3 (2020)First round leader in 2020 and T1 in 2019
Will Gordon (1/1)11T3 (2020)Posted 62 and 64 on debut
Kevin Na (6/9)225 (2020)first visit since 2017
Bryson DeChambeau (5/5)33T6 (2020)T8-T9-T26-T47 = Trending
Brendan Steele (8/10)28T6 (2020)All T25 or better
Ryan Armour (4/7)11T6 (2020)Cashed three straight but nothing better than T50
Scott Stallings (2/6)11T6 (2020)Next best: T38
Patton Kizzire (2/5)11T6 (2020)MC-MC-T53 previous 3 years
Chez Reavie (8/10)13Win (2019)T11 2011; 6th straight year in the field
Keegan Bradley (9/10)24T2 (2019)T8 2017; Streak of 9 straight broken 2020
Vaughn Taylor (13/16)244 (2019)Streak of 5 broken 2020
Paul Casey (6/6)45T5 (2019)T2 2018; 2nd 2015; 21 of 24 rounds in the red
Kevin Tway (4/6)22T5 (2019)T6 2018 
Joaquin Niemann (2/2)11T5 (2019)63rd 2020
Brian Harman (8/10)34T8 (2019)T6 2018; 3rd 2015; 10th consecutive start
Jason Day (5/6)13T8 (2019)T12 2018
Abraham Ancer (3/4)12T8 (2019)T11 2020
Bubba Watson (11/14)68Win (2018)Win 2015, Win 2010; T2 2012, 4th 2013; 67.70; No. 1 money list
Stewart Cink (13/17)69T2 (2018)Win 2008, Win 1997; No. 3 money list
JB Holmes (4/7)11T2 (2018)MC before and after; T37 next best
Beau Hossler (3/4)11T2 (2018)T53 next best
Russell Henley (3/4)12T6 (2018)T11 2016 debut; 5 of 14 rds 65 or better
Anirban Lahiri (2/3)12T9 (2018)T17 2017
Chase Seiffert (2/2)11T9 (2018)T43 2017
Jordan Spieth (3/4)11Win (2017)Only player to win on debut; not much else
Danny Lee (4/8)13T3 (2017)T15 2018 after; T25 before; MC last 2
Charley Hoffman (9/11)35T3 (2017)T2 2012; T7 2013 with 61
Patrick Reed (6/9)14T5 (2017)T30 or better 4 of last 5
CT Pan (3/5)12T8 (2017)T25 debut 2015
Troy Merritt (4/9)11T8 (2017)Cashed 3 of last 4
David Hearn (2/4)11T8 (2017)MC 2020
Russell Knox (6/9)13Win (2016)T13 2013; 4 straight busted 2020
Patrick Rodgers (5/7)11T3 (2016)5 straight busted 2020
Marc Leishman (9/10)25T9 (2016)Win 2012
Brooks Koepka (4/4)12T9 (2016)T19 2018
Select PlayersTop 10sTop 25Most 
Ryan Moore (10/13)58T5 (2014)MC-T15-MC last 3 years
Phil Mickelson (5/7)23Win 2001-02T24-MC last 2 years
Patrick Cantlay (4/6)04T11 (2020)T15, T15 and T24
Zach Johnson (11/14)27T11 (2020)T19 2018 with 63 to open

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s