Expert picks provided by: Jarod Kieler
Follow on Twitter: @Jkieler1010
After a heart stopping finish to the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour will make its way across country from Washington to the great state of Connecticut. TPC River Highlands has been host to the Travelers Tournament since 1984. This week, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia headline the field that includes six of the top-25 players in the world. Jason Day was initially in the field, but withdrew after a severe case of Vertigo hampered him during last week’s U.S. Open. Last year, Kevin Streelman fired back to back 64’s over the weekend to claim a one shot victory over Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi.
My picks for this week:
1) Brandt Snedeker (2) – Snedeker has top-10s in each of his past three starts on the Tour. After tying for 2nd at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Sneds shared 6th at the Byron Nelson and finished solo 8th at last week’s U.S. Open. Snedker has made the weekend in three of his four trips to TPC River Highlands. Last year, Snedeker shared 11th.
2) Billy Horschel (1) – Despite ripping the USGA and the greens, Billy Ho still finished in a tie for 25th at last week’s U.S. Open. In his three starts prior to the Open, Horschel tied for 13th at the PLAYERS, tied for 11th at the Memorial, and shared 8th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. In two trips to TPC River Highlands, Horschel’s best finish was T24 in 2012.
1) Francesco Molinari (3) – Molinari followed-up his near miss at the Memorial with another solid performance at the U.S. Open. While he was never really in contention, Molinari held on to tie for 27th. Prior to the Memorial, Molinari tied for 2nd at the Open de España and finished solo 5th at the BMW PGA Championship. Molinari will be making his first career trip to TPC River Highlands.
2) Louis Oosthuizen (4) – Sweet Lou continues to battle a neck injury, but I think he rides his U.S. Open momentum into this week. Louis shot a first round 77, but came all the way back to tie for 2nd at last week’s Open. Oosthuizen birdied six of his last seven holes, but came up on shot short of Jordan Spieth. Louis tied for 47th at TPC River Highlands in 2013.
1) Brenden Grace (2) – After winning twice on the European Tour, Grace has found his game on U.S. soil. Grace has top-10 finishes in three of his past four events on the PGA Tour. Last week at the U.S. Open, Grace was tied for first entering the last three holes, but an errant tee shot on the 16th hole did him in. I expect Grace to carry over his success into this week and put himself near the top of the leaderboard once again.
2) Tony Finau (0) – After a rough stretch early in the season, Finau has been playing some of his best golf as of late. Finau has finished inside the top-20 in each of his past five starts. Last week at the U.S. Open, the long bomber tied for 14th.
Other Golfers Considered:
Sergio Garcia (Tier A): Like Horschel, Sergio did a lot of complaining about the greens at last week’s U.S. Open. Garcia was still able to shoot three rounds at par or better and tie for 18th. Garcia tied for 2nd at last year’s Travelers Championship.
Marc Leishman (Tier B): Although he has missed the cut in two of his last three events, Leishman did tie for 5th at the Memorial. The 2010 Travelers Champion tied for 11th last year.
Kevin Na (Tier C): I have been riding Na’s hot streak a lot lately, but the U.S. Open may have cooled him off. After a run of eight straight top-20 finishes in stroke play events, Na tied for 46th at the U.S. Open.