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Travelers Championship Tips & Predictions: English pair can make a splash at River Highlands

Two Englishman tipped to go well in this weeks Travelers Championship
Two Englishman tipped to go well in this weeks Travelers Championship

After a winner last week in the RBC Heritage, Russell Palmer previews this week's PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship from TPC Riverlands in Connecticut...

Travelers Championship Predictions in price order:

It's nice to sit down and preview a golf tournament off the back of a winner and even more so delighting to get a W on the board after just two weeks of the PGA Tour being back.

That W was of course Webb Simpson, tipped up by this column at 30/1 last week who went on to win the RBC Heritage by a shot on Sunday night.

One of the best things about the return of the golf has been the standard of the fields. The RBC Heritage and this week's tournament at TPC Riverlands are long standing dishes on the PGA Tour but both are usually played a week following a major (Masters and US Open respectively) so organisers are usually robbed of the top names and punters usually having to take into account that the top players are here off the back of a gruelling test.

So we line up for the Travelers Championship on Sunday once again with the World's top five golfers as I look to pick the bones out of recent and course form to find you another winner or some each-way value with our six selections.

At a glance guide to the Travelers Championship
At a glance guide to the Travelers Championship

For the third week running Rory McIlroy will line up as favourite at 12/1, but this week he has company, with the in-form Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau jostling for favouritism. It's the latter who catches our eye and I'm ready to pull the trigger on the American to record his first win of the season.

DeChambeau has been in the news since golf returned, thanks in the main to his appearance, having piled on 40lbs of muscle during the down-time and added a bundle of distance in the process. Neither Colonial or Harbour Town are bombers courses, but that didn't stop Bryson from contending and were it not for a cold putter on the Saturday of the Charles Schwab Challenge and last weekend in South Carolina.

Despite this DeChambeau has recorded back to back top ten finishes and his form in 2020 reads T52-T5-2-4-T3-T8. The course at TPC River Highlands should play to his strengths. Although it's a short track there's more room off the tee than the last two weeks and emphasis is on ball striking and greens in regulation. The American ranked T3 for GIR last week and 7th for shots gained approaching the green, his length can see him dominate the course where he's finished in the top ten the last two visits and with a bit of luck with the flat-stick he's our main pick for honours.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka is our second selection. A player renowned for not practicing has been working his way into some good form following his first two tournaments back.

The American looked to be back to his brilliant best on Sunday, with some sublime iron play which he'll need this week in Connecticut. His final round six under par included two eagles and four birdies and helped him to a 7th place finish, his best of the season.

With this week's challenge highly likely to turn into a putting contest, Koepka ranked in the top-15 for shots gained through putting last week and top-10 for putting average.

Koepka has a top-10 to his name at this venue in 2016 but as mentioned earlier, this event usually follows the US Open so he'll be a good deal fresher this time around.

If you also like the look of Koepka this week it might be worth taking some of the 14/1 available in the USPGA Championship betting as he bids to win the tournament for a third straight year in August.

Golf Odds

Looking at the aforementioned key stats this week of GIR and shots gained approach to the green, Chilean golfer Joaquin Niemann catches the eye this week at bigger odds.

The 21-year-old burst onto the scene two years ago finishing in the top-10 on his first appearance on the PGA Tour and has gone on to win his first title right back at the start of this season in the Greenbrier plus add a further two top-10s including last week where he finished in a tie for 5th place.

Niemann ranked third in GIR last week and fourth in shots gained approaching the green. He finished 5th in this event last year and looks a nice each-way price at 40/1 with Betfred.

Past winners in this week's field
Past winners in this week's field

With such an emphasis on ball-striking and putting this week there's two Englishmen who really stand out at the prices.

Justin Rose continues to be overlooked in the betting and looks terrific value at 28/1 to do what Webb Simpson did last week. The Hampshire plotter was third two weeks ago at Colonial and another good performance last week saw him finish in a tie for 14th. Having got off to a slow start at Harbour Town with a first round -1 total of 70, Rose went on to shoot 67-66-65 to finish just five shots off the eventual winner.

Rose ranked in the top-20 for shots gained approaching the green at Harbour Town and fourth for shots gained from tee to green. A top ten finish in this tournament back in 2010, he's only played the course once since then.

A similar player to Rose and another Englishman to side with this week is Matt Fitzpatrick. Fourteen years Rose's junior aged 25, the Sheffield golfer has played both PGA Tour events since the resumption, 32nd at Colonial and then T14th last week on courses that should have suited.

An excellent ball striker Fitzpatrick revels in plotting his way around the course and has an excellent short game, ranking third in putting last week with four rounds in the sixties, despite a quiet weekend which saw him finish five shots off the winner.

William Hill go best price 50/1 about his chances this week which is a best price and paying each way terms to eight places. Yet to break his duck on the PGA Tour he's finished in the top-10 twice this season and has five wins on the European Tour. Ranked just outside the world top 25, Fitzpatrick's best performance in a major came at Augusta where he tied 7th in 2016. A win this week could see those Masters odds tumble about the Englishman where he's currently 80/1 ahead of this year's contest in November.

Bubba Watson has won around this track three times in the last ten years plus another two top-5 efforts. A 7th place at Colonial he also made the cut last week and whilst he'll be the pick of many course form followers this week he's short enough at the prices given the quality of the field and I'd rather look at another lefty who is around twice Watson's price.

Brian Harman has been on our radar the last couple of weeks and whilst recording top-30 finishes on both starts, he's yet to really get going. The American ranked ninth for putts per round last week and it's his putting and course form that has really grabbed our attention this week.

Relatively short of the tee, the two-time PGA Tour winner has three top-10 finishes in the Travelers in the last five years and has some really good putting stats this season.ranking 11th for putts per round this year and 21st for putting average. He has the tee-to-green game to be in with a shout if this turns into a putting competition as it so often does at TPC River Highlands.

The best of the rest

Other players I took a long hard look at this week included Paul Casey and Patrick Cantlay who both make their first reappearances since the lockdown. Both excellent ball strikers, Casey has also finished in the top-5 on four of the last five trips to the Connecticut course, finishing second twice. At 40/1 and 25/1 respectively the pair look a little short given the unknown of no recent form to call upon.

J.T. Poston who may have collected some each-way returns for followers last week if backing with a bookie paying eight places is primed to go well this week given how well he's playing and how good his putting is. The market rate him a 66/1 chance this week but missing the cut here on all three appearances was enough for us to put him on the back burner.

As always, good luck with your efforts this week, please bet responsibly and lets hope we're collectively cheering on a winner come Sunday night.

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