TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut
6,841 yards, par 70
TPC River Highlands is a small course by PGA Tour standards measuring only 6,841 yards and overlooks the Connecticut River. It was redesigned by Pete Dye in 1982 and has wide, rolling, tree lined fairways. It has four par 3’s, two par 5’s and 12 par 4’s. The two par 5’s measure 574 yards and 523 and will offer birdie opportunities. The par 4 second measures a mere 341 yards and will be driveable by the bigger hitters in the field and should also offer a lot of birdies.
These bentgrass greens will be a huge change from the poor greens in last week’s US Open at Chambers Bay. They are also smaller by tour standards so accurate approach shots will be required to get close to the pins.
There are some players in the field this week that have had great performances here over the years such as Ryan Moore (4 top 10’s), Hunter Mahan (3 top 10’s and a win) and Bubba Watson (3 top 10’sand a win). This suggests that previous form is certainly worth looking at.
Key stats to consider here are good course history, good putting, scrambling, par 4 scoring, par 3 scoring and approach stats between 150-200 yards. The fairways are quite wide and forgiving so expect the scoring to be low. There is quite a lot of water on the back 9 from holes 15-17, which play around a four acre lake and should offer quite a lot of excitement in the final round on Sunday.
Bubba Watson 11/1
After opening with a 70 in round one last week in Chambers Bay, Bubba Watson shot a 77 in round two and ended up missing the cut, which isn’t a bad thing coming into this week’s Travelers. His form has been a bit hit and miss over the last few weeks, but he started the season off in style with a win at The HSBC Champions and has a further four top 10 finishes. Most recently, he played well at The WGC Cadillac in Doral finishing solo third on seven under for the tournament. He only played in four events since then.
He has played well here at TPC River Highlands in the past with a win in 2010, T2 in 2012 and a T4 in 2013. Statswise Bubba ranks fourth in driving distance, eighth in strokes gained tee to green, first in par 5 scoring and 14th in par 3 scoring. With such a good record here over the last few years, this could be place where he regains some of the great form he started with at the beginning of the season.
Brandt Snedeker 16/1
Snedeker had another good performance last week in Chambers Bay making that his third top 10 in his last three starts. He played great golf at The Crowne Plaza Invitational shooting four rounds in the 60’s on his way to a T2 finish. He followed that with a T6 at The Byron Nelson shooting two 64’s on Saturday and Sunday finishing on 12 under for the week. He continued that good run of form shooting an impressive final round 68 to finish solo 8th in Chambers Bay last week. Sneds has played well here in the past finishing T11 last year and T24 in 2011.
He ranks sixth in strokes gained putting, 31st in approaches from 50-125 yards, fourth in scrambling and second in putts from 10 feet, which is a good stat for putting on these small greens. He also ranks 10th in par 4 scoring and 39th in par 3 scoring. Snedeker is in fine form at the moment and could be the man to beat here.
Marc Leishman 33/1
Leishman has been showing some decent form over the last couple of months with two top 10’s and two top 30’s in his last six events. He finished T9 at The WGC Matchplay, T24 at The Players, T27 at The Crowne Plaza Invitational and T5 at The Memorial. He is another player with a good record here over the last few years with a win in 2012, T30 in 2013 and a T11 last year.
Leishman seems to tick a lot of statistical boxes here ranking second in approaches from 150-175 and 23rd in approaches from 125-150, which are two good stats for approaches into the par 4’s. He also ranks first in putts from 10-15 feet and second in putts from eight feet. With good stats, good current form and a good record here, Leishman is a decent shout here at 33’s.
Russell Knox 40/1
Knox has been a pretty solid performer over the last few months with four top 25’s in his last seven events. He has top 10’s at The Shriners (3rd), The Honda Classic (T3) and most recently, the St Jude Classic, where he finished T8. He also finished T18 at The RBC Heritage, T17 at The Players, T24 at The Crowne Plaza and T18 at The Memorial. Knox has played well here in the past finishing T13 in 2013, but looks to be in much better form this time around.
Statswise Knox ranks 20th in driving accuracy, ninth in GIR, 21st in strokes gained tee to green and second in proximity to the hole. He also ranks 11th in approaches from 150-175, fourth in par 4 scoring and 23rd in par 3 scoring.
Tony Finau 40/1
Finau started very well last week in Chambers Bay shooting 69,68 in the first two rounds and looked to be hitting the ball beautifully all week, particularly off the tee and around the greens. He shot 74, 71 over the weekend and finished in a very respectable T14 on +2 for the tournament. He has been playing very steady over the last few weeks with three top 20’s and two top 10’s in his last five starts. His good form began back at The Wells Fargo, where he finished T16. He followed that with a T19 at Colonial, T10 at The Byron Nelson, T8 at The Memorial and T14 last week in Chambers Bay.
Finau is a huge hitter ranking third in driving distance, 33rd in strokes gained tee to green, second in approaches from 150-175 and 40th in par 4 scoring. TPC River Highlands has seen many first time winners over the years and this could be a course that really suits big hitting Tony Finau.
Final Selections –
Bubba Watson 11/1 2 pts EW
Brandt Snedeker 16/1 2 pts EW
Marc Leishman 33/1 1 pt EW
Russell Knox 40/1 1 pt EW
Tony Finau 40/1 1 pt EW
Total staked = 14 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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