After the third major of the season did anything but disappoint at The Country Club, regular PGA Tour action is back, and this week, those involved head to Cromwell, Connecticut, where the Travelers Championship will take place.
2022 Travelers Championship General Information:
Date: June 23 – June 26, 2022
TV-Time: Golf Channel, 3:00 p.m. ET
Venue: TPC River Highlands
Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
Prize Money: $7,400,000 ($1,332,000 1st Place)
Winner last year: Harris English
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
Three down and one to go, but before we turn our attention to the fourth and final major of the campaign, there’s the small matter of some rather high-quality PGA Tour events to deal with, starting with the Travelers Championship, which takes place at its regular home of TPC River Highlands.
As is often the case after a major, there are few omissions, with some of the biggest names opting to miss out, though that does not mean there’s a lack of quality. The in-form Rory McIlroy is once again involved, as is world number one Scottie Scheffler. Other players currently inside the world’s top ten set to feature are Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Sam Burns. Harris English, who won this event a year ago, returns to defend his crown.
Designed by none other than golf course design royalty Pete Dye, TPC River Highlands is one of the shorter tracks in use on tour right now, and it’s a bit of a bombers dream, with neither the fairways nor the putting surfaces rating as particularly hard to find. Those who look to get on the front foot and play attacking golf often thrive at the Connecticut course, and if you can’t go low, you won’t be coming out on top.
Expert Pick #1 – Joaquin Niemann Top 10 Finish @+330
Last week’s assignment probably wasn’t the ideal one for Joaquin Niemann, but what’s on the menu this week should be much more to Chilean’s taste. We’ve seen how easily the youngster can score freely and motor along at a ferocious pace this season, especially when he ran away with The Genesis Invitational back in February, and with low-scoring expected here, there’s no reason why he cannot enjoy himself.
Recent form isn’t exactly an issue with four of his last four cuts made, three of which saw him finish T25 or better, including a T3 at the Memorial, while he’s currently the 11th best player on tour in terms of strokes gained: total, not to mention the sixth-best in this field when it comes to strokes gained: tee-to-green. A man capable of racking up lots of birdies on his day, Niemann is expected to thrive in Cromwell this week, and supporting him to finish inside the top ten is the way to cash in.
Fedex Cup Rank: 19 | Fedex Cup Points: 1,175 | OWGR: 18
Expert Pick #2 – Xander Schauffele Top 10 Finish @+240
Since winning the Zurich Classic with his playing partner, Xander Schauffele has ticked along very nicely, finishing T5 at the Byron Nelson, T13 at the PGA Championship, T18 at the Memorial, while he maintained his form when finishing T14 at the U.S. Open last week. Such efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, nor has the fact that Xander is a player who, like Niemann, gets involved at the right end of the leaderboard when things go low.
On several occasions when the scoring has been markedly low this season, Schauffele has thrived, while he has a solid record of gaining strokes at this venue in recent seasons, ranking ninth in the field for strokes gained: total at TPC River Highlands since 2016. Couple this with the fact that he’s the sixth-best player on tour right now for birdie average, and the five-time PGA Tour winner stands out as a must-have in the top ten market.
Fedex Cup Rank: 2 | Fedex Cup Points: 1,097 | OWGR: 9
Expert Pick #3 – Sam Burns Top 10 Finish @+230
This is a course with no shortage of birdie opportunities, and one of the best players in terms of picking up birdies is Sam Burns, who right now is the fourth-best player on tour for birdie average. Better still, only two of the players above him in that category are set to make an appearance this week.
Like the guys above, Burns loves it when the scoring goes low, as his excellent efforts at the Sanderson Farms, QBE, CJ Cup, Hero World Challenge, Zurich Classic and Valspar have shown over the last eight months or so. Fourth on the PGA Tour for strokes gained: total, there’s little reason why the 25-year-old, who is now up to ninth in the world rankings, can’t lay down another challenge for a title in Connecticut this week, and bettors can capitalise by picking him for a top-ten finish.
Fedex Cup Rank: 20 | Fedex Cup Points: 2,258 | OWGR: 15
2022 Travelers Championship Odds
*Odds as of Monday at 1:00 p.m. ET
2022 Travelers Championship Additional Picks
One player to finish top-five.
Rory McIlroy (+275)
Rory’s hunt for a fifth major continues after failing to quite go the distance at The Country Club last week, but the Northern Irishman’s excellent run of form continued, as he secured a second straight top-five finish, and he’s now posted four straight top-20 finishes, including four top-fives. The man is on fire right now, he’s the best on tour for strokes gained: total, while he’s played well at TPC River Highlands before. A cast-iron top-five pick.
One player to finish top-10.
Brooks Koepka (+500)
Brooks Koepka’s star has fallen somewhat over the last few years, but the four-time major winner is still capable of tussling with the big boys on his day, while his record here is pleasing. In 2016, he finished T9, before enjoying TPC River Highlands last season, finishing T5. Koepka also ranks as the sixth-best player in terms of strokes gained: total on this track since 2016, so a big performance certainly shouldn’t be ruled out, despite the former world number one’s relative lack of form.
One player to finish top-20.
Brian Harman (+225)
If you’re looking for a top-20 play at attractive odds, then take a chance on lefty Brian Harman, who in terms of strokes gained: total at TPC River Highlands since 2016, ranks as the fourth best player in the field. Since 2018, he’s finished T6, T8 and T5 at the Travelers. Another pleasing effort could be on the cards.
The Big Hero
Underdog with chances to win.
Brendan Steele (+9000)
It’s been a while since three-time PGA Tour winner Brendan Steele got his nose in front, nearly five years in fact, but this is a tournament that he’s often played well in. The 39-year-old Californian has previously posted finishes of T14, T13, T6 and 5th at TPC River Highlands, while of those in this field, he has the fifth-lowest average 18-hole score, so don’t be surprised if he outplays what is a rather large price-tag.
Players who can get on the front foot and score in streaky fashion will be the ones who get the most out of TPC River Highlands this week. As one of the shorter and more forgiving courses on tour, the Pete Dye track presents no shortage of scoring opportunities, so lookout for players who enjoy themselves in contests when it’s all about going low.