Casey, Watson should be at their best in the Travelers Championship

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June 19th, 2019

The Travelers Championship

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The PGA Tour switches from scenic Pebble Beach all the way across the country to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. In recent years the tournament has been held the week after the U.S. Open, except in 2016, when much of the Tour schedule was shuffled around to accommodate the Olympic Games. It remains a place for players to re-energize themselves after a grueling test from the week before and has been won by several players who didn’t even make it into the U.S. Open field.

This Travelers edition has attracted five of the top 10 players in the world rankings and remains a popular spot on the PGA Tour. It has been won by in the past by such luminaries as Arnold Palmer (twice), Billy Casper (four times), Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson (twice) and Bubba Watson (three times). The latter two are present this year for another try.

The most dramatic short par 4s anywhere

Short by PGA Tour standards at 6,841 yards, TPC River Highlands features one of the most dramatic short par 4s anywhere. The 15th hole, at a mere 296 yards, is a drivable par 4 that has a long green with a large collection area in front of and to the right. Along the left side of the hole, however, is a major water hazard. Any score from 2 to 7 will be recorded here, and on Sunday it may play a pivotal role in who captures the title.

Water further comes into play on the par 3 16th and the strategic par 4 17th, the latter of which requires a major carry over water to reach the green, no matter how long the tee shot. Then comes the 18th, which provides one of the best amphitheaters on the PGA Tour. It was the scene of Jordan Spieth’s dramatic hole out from a bunker to win the 2017 Travelers in a playoff with Daniel Berger.

Another try leads to matchup value potential

Spieth, Watson and Mickelson are all back for another try and should get some consideration as far matchup wagers and win bets, but the player I will play is Paul Casey. Fresh of a respectable tie for 21st at the U.S. Open, Casey has five top 10 finishes this season and as is +1800 to win the tournament. He has a trio of top five finishes in the Travelers, including two second-place finishes, and qualifies as a horse for the course.

Watson, who missed the cut at the U.S. Open, is back for another attempt here and is probably an overlay at +3300. The long-hitting lefty captured his first PGA Tour title here in 2010 and, as stated above, has gone on to capture the Travelers two more times (2015 and last year). He wasn’t eligible to play in the U.S. Open in 2010 and then missed the cut in both U.S. Opens prior to his scores in Cromwell the next two times. Despite what happened at Pebble Beach, he should be considered for all wagers given his record at this venue.

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