GOLF

Draws and Fades: Travelers Championship

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With the US Open now clear, the path to the FedExCup qualifiers is devoid of red lights.

There is an open tournament every week, from Travelers Championship to Wyndham Championship. In total, there are nine tournaments left in seven weeks, but the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship will have unique closed fields at many ranks and declarers on the PGA TOUR. The Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship serve as concurrent competitions respectively.

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This is not trivial for golfers alone. For those of us committed to full-season formats, we’re going to reap the playing time that has eluded our roster complements over the past month in particular. Consider yourself back at full strength for the duration. No weeks off! At least in theory.

If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, your roster building and longer-term strategy should include the Scottish-Open Championship double in July. Both will show up as wildcards for different reasons, so take them as they come. There’s no rush to plan departures for either as you already are for the Playoffs events and quadruple bonus points that anchor Split 4 and the 2021-22 season.

POWER RANKING WILD CARD

Denny McCarthy (+250 for a Top 20) … Collisions with a T5 (Memorial) and a T7 (US Open) are the closest objects in the rearview mirror. Although this is his fifth straight season on the PGA TOUR, he hasn’t made such a deep impression on the competition regularly so far. That is to say, the 29-year-old’s trajectory pretty much promises that he will record a personal best at TPC River Highlands. Honestly, it shouldn’t be that hard either. In four previous attempts, he has only conceded twice, the best being a T47 in 2018.

PRINTS

Tommy Fleetwood (+200 for a Top 20) … One finished, There are two left. Along with Matt Fitzpatrick’s breakthrough, that leaves Will Zalatoris (see NOTABLE WDS below) and Fleetwood as arguably the best winless on the PGA TOUR. Fleetwood missed the cut last week, but he’s been a gem throughout this season, so he’s a close fruit in any format at TPC River Highlands. On his only previous trip, he finished T13 in 2019.

Kevin Strelman (+400 for a Top 20) … Despite judgment betrayed time and time again with the guy, I rely on a plethora of positive results at TPC River Highlands. Naturally, that includes his historic victory in 2014 when he prevailed by one by winning seven consecutive birdies, but that was just two years ago when he finished second in solo. He’s totaled five top 10s and hasn’t missed an edition since joining the PGA TOUR in 2008. Just resist chasing his form when he arrives, or if you do, cast him aside as an influence.

Harold Varner III (+200 for a Top 20) … Forgive and forget the stumble at the US Open. Loyal readers know I’ve always said to ignore failure on the biggest stages. It is now up to us to exploit it to our advantage. He was a force otherwise for three months, partly because he paid for the scoring chances he generated. Also 3 for 3 at TPC River Highlands since 2019.

Mackenzie Hughes (+400 for a Top 20) …He’s gotten closer to Kryptonite this year, but it should be a slam dunk. With his form improving in his last three starts, including a T24 at the US Open, this adds to a 5-for-5 record at TPC River Highlands where he snagged a T3 (2020) and a T17 ( 2017).

webb simpson (+240 for a Top 20) …but barely. Giving him the benefit of the doubt based on comfort and success in this tournament. A second-round 77 in his last appearance in 2018 wiped out what would have been his ninth payday in as many trips. It was his first worse than normal score in the first two rounds of any appearance. He’s still struggling to put four laps together since his neck injury, but he’s done himself a disservice by only popping up on tough tracks; on the contrary, the timing of his return was the most difficult part of the calendar. However, TPC River Highlands is the kind of stage he can find his game on.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Keegan Bradley
Joel Dahmen
Jason Day
Lanto Griffon
Aaron Rai
Sahith Theegala
Brendon Todd


Odds were obtained on Tuesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm


FUNDS

Harris English… There’s been no shortage of celebrations and drama since the start of the 2019-20 season, although there have been many more. Yet just three weeks ago he returned to the ropes after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in February. He wasted no time jumping into the deep end either, with starts at Muirfield Village (MC) and The Country Club (T61). In that sense, it looks like it’s been well over a year since he survived the lengthy playoffs to win at TPC River Highlands. If you’re a long-term investor, you can at least time out and enjoy the game time, but weekly players are advised to let your opponent explore the possibilities.

Brooks Koepka… Anybody else play Whac-A-Mole with him? I have to think that even course history buffs are holding their breath at TPC River Highlands where it’s 5 for 5 with a pair of top 10s and a T19.

Kramer Hickok … He set the tone with an opening 63 last year, but he was 139th in the FedExCup when he arrived, so paying him to make the playoffs came out of nowhere. Today, he’s 120th in the FedExCup and with just three top 25s since the close call. In his last nine starts, he’s missed six cuts and hasn’t connected for a single top 60.

Tony Finau… It’s not that he can’t fight, it’s that the TPC River Highlands was his biggest challenge. After opening his career with a trio of top 25s here, he’s missed each of the last three cuts. There are a lot more coincidences than the trend would suggest, but he can’t claim the same kind of recent drought in any other tournament, including THE PLAYERS and the Majors.

Keith Mitchell… Featured as a trap coming out of a T18-T7 flurry to open the month, but he’s just 1 for 3 with a T56 (2018) at TPC River Highlands. He also scattered his loudest performances over time. The conservative in me advises abstaining.

Wyndham Clark
Charley Hoffman
Tom Hoge
Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak
List of Luke
ryan palm tree
J.T. Poston
Adam Schenk
Cameron Tringale
Matthew Wolff

BACK TO COMPETITION

Chad Ramey … The rookie called it quits after a round at Memorial with a sore back. Since his decisive victory in Corales at the end of March, he is 4 for 8 with only two top 40s, neither of which is a top 20.

Andrew Landry … He was sidelined for three months trying to recover from two shoulder problems. He’s only cashed twice in 10 starts this season, but both were in the top 10, so he’s 151st in the FedExCup. Even though he’s completely healthy, he’s looking his best filling the deepest rosters all season and starting with aggressive DFS, but not this week.

NOTABLE WD

Will Zalatoris… His tournament debut will have to wait. Addition by subtraction is that PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf players don’t have to worry about burning through another tee immediately after their co-runner up at the US Open.

Russell Henley … He has limited his playing time over the past six weeks to only major tournaments. Currently 39th in the FedExCup and exempt from the Open Championship, he therefore deserved the opportunity to rest. Still, that he sits on travelers is surprising. In five appearances, he moved up to a T6 and two more top 20s.

Erik van Rooyen… Just 1 for 6 since the Masters and now 127th in the FedExCup. He endured an equally difficult time around this time last year until his daughter was born. The first-time father then went on a tear. In our results-based pursuit, it can be difficult to remain patient in full-season formats, but you have to do what you have to do.

Patrick Rodgers… This will be his first week out of the last five. Sat just two shots shy of 36 holes at the US Open, then faded to finish T31. A strong season overall puts him 75th in the FedExCup, so he’ll return to the Playoffs.

RECAP – US Open

POWER RANKINGS

Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Justin Thomas T37
2 Rory McIlroy T5
3 Scottie Scheffler T2
4 Sam Burns T27
5 Jon Rahm T12
6 Xander Schauele T14
7 Shane Lowry™
8 Jordan Spieth T37
9 Matt Fitzpatrick Victory
10 Cameron Smith™
11 Patrick Cantlay T14
12 Max Homa T47
13 Colin Morikawa T5
14 Tony Finau™
15 Will Zalatoris T2
16 Joaquin Niemann T47
17 Corey Conners™
18 Daniel BergerTM
19 Billy Horschel™
20Hideki Matsuyama 4th
Wild Card Brooks Koepka 55th

SLEEPERS

Golfer (bet) Result
MJ Daffue (+1000 for a Top 20) T31
Harry Hall (+1200 for a Top 20) MC
Victor Perez (+650 for a Top 20) MC
Seamus Power (+260 for a Top 20) T12
Scott Stallings (+600 for a Top 20) MC

GOLF BET

Bet: Talor Gooch, Keegan Bradley, Davis Riley and Brian Harman – Make the cut (+500)
Results: MC, T7, T31, T43

BIRTHDAYS BETWEEN ACTIVE PGA TOUR MEMBERS

June 21 … Matt Kuchar (44); William McGirt (43); Russell Knox (37); Sangmoon Bae (36 years old); Aaron Wise (26); Scottie Scheffler (26)
June 22 … none
June 23 … none
June 24 … none
June 25 … John Rollins (47)
June 26 … none
June 27 … none

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