2020 Travelers Championship Preview, Odds & Predictions
We have made it to the third golf tournament PV (Post Virus) and this even should follow in the footsteps of the first two. The Charles Schwab Challenge needed a playoff to decide things and then last week, anyone of six golfers had a shot to win the tournament over the last 100 minutes or so. This week, I will be taking a gander at the Travelers Championship, which will take place at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Last week, Webb Simpson shot a 7-under 4th round to take the RBC Heritage by one stroke over Abraham Ancer. Four players finished at -20 or better and Simpson’s -22 was a course record. He has now moved up to number five in the world overall while taking the lead in the FedEx Cup standings.
Chez Reavie won last year’s Travelers Championship by four shots over Keegan Bradley and Zack Sucher. In 2018, it was Bubba Watson, who won after trailing by six strokes entering the final round. It was the 3rd time that he has won this tournament. In 2017, Jordan Speith lead nearly wire to wire to take the event in a playoff over Daniel Berger.
2020 Travelers Championship Odds (Courtesy Of Betonline.ag)
We could be in for a very exciting weekend of golf, especially since nine of the top 10 players in the world will be competing at TPC River Highlands for the Travelers Championship. Despite last year’s four-stroke win by Reavie, we note that 12 of the last 16 times this tournament has been played, the winner won by just one stroke. TPC River Highlands is the oldest course in the TPC network and it is the shortest at 6,841 yards. This is a par 70 course.
TPC River Highlands is a course that you need to bring a very good short game with you. Some big hitters could do well here as the fairways are not as narrow as those at Harbour Town a week ago, plus the course had about 50 bunkers removed recently. Still, this is a course that will make you bring your shot-making ability and those are the course that I like watching tournaments be played on. It makes for some exciting golf. Watch out for the “Golden Triangle,”, which is composed of holes 15-16-17 and situated around a four-acre pond.
Players To Not Watch
Ok, let’s discuss some of the players for this week’s tournament. I will take a look at a few that I will be staying away from and then a few that should have a shot at winning the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Rory McIlroy was favored to win the last two tournaments and he bombed. For some reason, he is just not as good in the states as he is overseas. Despite having a couple of rough weeks, he is still 3rd on the oodles list for this weekend. I will be staying away from the top golfer in the world this week.
Webb Simpson is one that I will stay away from in this tournament. I am not high on picking a player to win back-to-back events. We also note that he has won two tournaments already this year and has never won three in a year. Webb is one of the most consistent players on tour, but I just do not see him having a great showing for the 2bd week in a row. Another one that I will be staying away from is Dustin Johnson. He is ranked 6th in the world overall but just 103rd in FedEx Points. He has two top 10s in six events but just three top 25s in those events. Johnson also doesn’t have a great short game, ranking 115th in greens in regulation and 129th in birdie average. I have been high on Xander Schauffele the last couple of weeks but I will be staying away from him here after he finished 64th last week.
Players To Watch
Let’s move on to a few that I feel could have a good showing, before getting to my final predictions. Last week I had Sungjae Im winning the RBC Heritage but he didn’t even make the cut. I will look for him to bounce back with a solid showing here. Sungjae is 3rd in FedEx Cup points and he has had two extra days rest after missing the cut last week. He is 35th in approach to the green, 19th in tee-to-green, and 42nd in putting. Those are the kind of numbers needed to conquer this course. He may not win it but Sungjae Im should have a far better showing than last week.
Let’s take a look at Abraham Ancer next. Who? Yeah, that’s what I said last week after he finished 2nd behind Webb Simpson. Ancer is still looking for his first PGA win in this his 5th year on tour. He has finished 2nd twice this year and has four top 10’s in 13 events played. Last week, he led the field in greens in regulation and he ranks 28th on tour in tee-to-green. Harbour Town is a course that requires good shot-making from the fairway and this one does as well. That gives Ancer a shot. We also note that he finished 8th here a year ago.
Bubba Watson is another player to watch here and with good reason as he has won this event three times in his career, including twice in his last five years. He has had some good success here and will be looking to make amends after finishing 52nd in the RBC Heritage a week ago. He did finish 7th at the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago and has four top 10s in 11 events this year. Coming off a disappointing showing last week and the fact that he has had great success in this event makes him one to watch this week.
Some feel that Brooks Koepka will have a solid tournament in this one and I agree with them, but I also feel that he will come up just a bit short of winning it. He played very well a week ago, finishing 7th at the RBC Heritage and it was his first top 10 of the year. He may be rounding into stride and remember that he is still the 4th ranked player in the world. Koepka is just 166th in approach to the green and it could be his short game that keeps him from winning this one but I would not rule out another top 10 finish.
Austin Thomas is tied for first on the odds list and that makes him clearly one to watch this week. He has seven top 10s in 10 events this year and he has won two tournaments. Thomas is 5th on tour in approach to the green, 4th in tee-to-green, and 1st in birdie average. His putter did get hot in the 4th round a week ago but he is still 74th on tour in putting. That could cost him late in this one. Still, I do like for Thomas to finish in the top 5 this week.
And The Winner Is…???
Bryson DeChambeau. I am not accustomed to taking the favorite in these golf tournaments, but I will do so here. Well, he is actually tied with Justin Thomas for the favorite’s role. DeChambeau has been on a tear and has now finished 8th or better in five consecutive tournaments. He has yet to win this year but still, he has been the most consistent golfer of late. Overall, he has six top 10s in nine events this year and finished tied for 8th at the RBC Heritage last week. Bryson has some very good stats for this course, ranking 1st off the tee, 30th in approach t the green, 7th in tee-to-green, 9th in sand save percentage, 13th in greens in regulation, and 32nd in putting. Look for Bryson DeChambeau to take this one at +1200.
The Final Winning Margin Will Be By One-Shot (+240)
Top Five Finish: Justin Thomas (+250) & Bryson DeChambeau (+350)
Top Ten Finish: Brooks Koepka (+200)
Matchup (Tournament): Bryson DeChambeau +107 over Rory McIlroy
Matchup (Tournament): Bubba Watson +133 over Dustin Johnson
Odds taken from Betonline.ag