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2022 Travelers Championship standings: Rory McIlroy leads with more big names in contention

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Birdies were flying all day at TPC River Highlands as the 2022 Travelers Championship got underway on Thursday. Leading the charge, both on and off the course, was none other than world number 2 Rory McIlroy. By signing for a bogey-free 62-under 8, the Northern Irishman has positioned himself atop another leaderboard.

Victorious just two weeks ago at the Canadian Open, a “disappointing” top five at the US Open did nothing to dampen the morale of the 21-time winner on the PGA Tour. Coming into this tournament as the betting favorite, McIlroy’s price has dropped significantly from 9-1 to 9/4 at Caesars Sportsbook as he and co-leader JT Poston hold a slim one-shot lead over Xander. Schauele and Martin Laird.

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“Any time you start with a 62, you’re going to take it,” said McIlroy, whose 62 was his season-low round. “I feel like the start I started off was a bit slow in a way. I birdied the two holes on the back nine that you should, 13 and 15, and then I did a nice one on the 18 to run 3 under par.Then once I got up front there, that’s when I really started to feel it and I started puttingting and hitting quality shots…all in all a very good game of golf and a good start.

McIlroy wasn’t the only star to shine in the first round of the Travelers Championship. Schauffele was terrific from tee to green en route to his 63, and his good friend Patrick Cantlay was crisp in the afternoon with a 64. As they thrived, Jordan Spieth dwindled and found himself at 5 with a lot of work to do just for the weekend.

The leader

1. Rory McIlroy (-8): The Travelers Championship marks McIlroy’s fourth straight week of competition as he hasn’t taken a break since the week following the PGA Championship. As such, there have been talks of possible fatigue both before the tournament and after its opening 62. It’s nothing new for the 33-year-old as he plans to put his full force behind the 54 remaining holes before taking a well deserved rest.

“I didn’t hit any golf balls on Monday and Tuesday. I went back to Florida for a day, spent the night in my own bed, came back Tuesday, didn’t come to the course, then [Wednesday] Playing the pro-am in the rain wasn’t really good preparation, but I think I played well at Brookline,” McIlroy said. “I’m not going to lose it in two days. I knew my game was good. I think at this point it’s just – energy levels are OK. I feel a little bad, but it’s just concentration at this point. I have three rounds left until I have a few weeks off and prepare for the Open Championship. I’m going to put everything into those three rounds.”

Other suitors

T2. Xander Schauele and Martin Laird (-7)

T5. Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III (-6)

T8. Matthew NeSmith and Cameron Davis (-5)

T10. Harris English, Wyndham Clark, Hank Lebioda, William McGirt and Keith Mitchell (-4)

Statistically, Schauffele was the most impressive as he ranked second in shots gained from tee to green on Thursday. We’ll get to Schauffele, but I wanted to touch on Simpson, who is slowly but surely taking shape. After carding the day’s round in the third round of the PGA Championship, the 36-year-old finished tied for 20th and then earned a top-30 result the following week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Signing for a bogey-free 64, Simpson is well positioned to challenge for his first PGA Tour title since the 2020 RBC Heritage. golf, the current world number 60 has a fantastic opportunity to find his way back to winning ways.

“Yeah, that was a great start. … It was a fun day,” Simpson said. “No bogeys. I can’t remember the last time I had a lap without a bogey, so that feels good. I tried to bogey the last one but had ups and downs. But you know, it wasn’t easy. The wind was swirling. It’s picking up a bit right now. So, I feel good, solid all around I would say.

Xander hits all 18 greens in regulation time

It was a great day for the five-time PGA Tour winner and current Olympic gold medalist. Hitting 18 of 18 greens in regulation time, Schauffele eventually signed for a 63, a leaders back. In what might be the most shocking statistic on the PGA Tour, Schauffele hasn’t won an individual event in stroke play since his first-ever return in 2017 at the Greenbrier Classic and hopes to change that in the next three. days.

“I’ve done it in practice at home, but it’s a totally different thing, obviously, with the kind of wind that’s kind of crosswinds,” Schauffele said of hitting all the regulation greens. “Sometimes it’s okay. I think 9 is a good example, if you go just over the green on the right it’s not that hard of a putt so there are places here where it’s is OK to miss the green and be on the periphery.”

Travelers Championship odds, picks

Here’s a look at the updated odds after 18 holes of play, via Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Rory McIlroy: 9/4
  • Patrick Cantlay: 5-1
  • Xander Schauele: 5-1
  • Webb Simpson: 14-1
  • Scottie Scheffler: 16-1
  • Poston JT: 16-1
  • Keith Mitchell: 22-1
  • Martin Laird: 28-1
  • Charles Howell III: 35-1
  • Seamus Power 35-1
  • Cam Davis: 40-1

Pricing at the top of the market is quite aggressive but should come as no surprise given the value of the name. The presence of McIlroy, Cantlay, Schauffele and Scheffler can be daunting, but it provides a solid opportunity to load up on the roster. Harris English (-4) at 80-1 is of considerable interest as the defending champion made his return to competition a few weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament after undergoing hip surgery this winter.

He missed the cut instead of Jack but was present at the US Open weekend and even ranked in the top 15 in strokes won in the middle two rounds. Strokes-gained, the ball-striking wasn’t overly impressive on Thursday, but the elementary data was solid as he dotted the fairways and greens in regulation. It might still be a little too early for English, but I’d rather be early for the party than miss the cake altogether.

Rick Gehman and Patrick McDonald recap Thursday’s action at the Travelers Championship. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple podcast and Spotify.

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