Draws and Fades: Travelers Championship

With the US Open now cleared, the path to the FedExCup Playoffs is devoid of stoplights.

There is an open tournament every week from the Travelers Championship through the Wyndham Championship. All in all, there are nine tournaments in seven weeks remaining, but the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship will have unique fields closed to many rank-and-filers on the PGA TOUR. The Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship serve as the concurrent contests, respectively.


RELATED: Horses for Courses, Sleeper picks


This isn’t insignificant to just the golfers. For those of us engaged in full-season formats, we will be raking in the playing time that has eluded our roster complements in the last month especially. Consider yourself back at full strength for the duration. No weeks off! At least in theory.

If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, then your roster construction and longer-term strategy must include the Scottish-Open Championship double in July. Both will present as wild cards for different reasons, so take each as it comes. There’s no urgency to map out starts for either like you already are for the Playoffs events and the quadrupled bonus points that anchor Segment 4 and the 2021-22 season.

POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD

Denny McCarthy (+250 for a Top 20) … Crashes in with a T5 (Memorial) and a T7 (US Open) are the nearest objects in the rearview mirror. Although he’s in his fifth consecutive season on the PGA TOUR, he hasn’t made as deep an impression regularly on competition until now. This is to say that the 29-year-old’s trajectory just about promises that he’ll record a personal best at TPC River Highlands. Honestly, it shouldn’t be that hard, either. In four previous tries, he’s cashed just twice, the better going for a T47 in 2018.

DRAWS

Tommy Fleetwood (+200 for a Top 20) … One down, two to go. With Matt Fitzpatrick breaking through, that leaves Will Zalatoris (see NOTABLE WDS below) and Fleetwood as arguably the best without a PGA TOUR victory. Fleetwood missed the cut last week, but he’s been a gem throughout this season, so he’s low-hanging fruit in all formats at TPC River Highlands. In his only prior trip, he finished T13 in 2019.

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

Harold Varner III (+200 for a Top 20) … Forgive and forget the stumble at the US Open. Loyal readers know that I’ve always said to ignore failure on the biggest stages. It’s now our job to exploit it for our benefit. He’s been a force otherwise for three months, in part because he’s paid off the scoring opportunities he’s generated. Also 3-for-3 at TPC River Highlands since 2019.

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

Web 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 dashed what would have been his ninth payday in as many trips. It was his first score worse than par in the first two rounds in any appearance. He’s still struggling to put four rounds together since his neck injury, but he hasn’t done himself any favors by popping up on nothing but tough tracks; Rather, the timing of his return alignment with the most challenging stretch of the schedule. However, TPC River Highlands is the kind of stage on which he can find his game.

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


Odds sourced on Tuesday, June 21st at 6 pm ET. For live odds visit betmgm


FADE

Harris English … There’s been no shortage of celebration and drama since the start of the 2019-20 season, although there’s been much more of the former. Still, it was just three weeks ago when he got back inside the ropes after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in February. He didn’t waste time jumping into the deep end, either, with starts at Muirfield Village (MC) and The Country Club (T61). In that sense, it feels like much more than just one year ago that he survived the lengthy playoff to prevail at TPC River Highlands. If you’re an investor in the long-term, at least you can exhale and embrace the playing time, but weekly gamers are advised to let your opposition explore the possibilities.

Brooks Koepka … Anyone else playing Whac-A-Mole with him? Gotta think that even course-history buffs are holding their breath at TPC River Highlands where he’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 upon arrival, so that and paying it off to get into a playoff came out of nowhere. Today, he’s 120th in the FedExCup and with only 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’s not capable of contending, it’s that TPC River Highlands has been his greatest challenge. After opening his career with a trio of top 25s here, he’s missed each of the last three cuts. There’s much more coincidence to that than the trend suggests, but he can’t claim the same kind of recent drought in any other tournament, including THE PLAYERS and the majors.

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

Wyndham Clark
Charley Hoffman
Tom Hoge
Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak
Luke List
Ryan Palmer
JT Poston
Adam Schenk
Cameron Tringale
Matthew Wolff

RETURNING TO COMPETITION

Chad Ramey … The rookie called it quits after one round at Memorial with a sore back. Since his breakthrough win at Corales in late March, he’s 4-for-8 with just two top 40s, neither of which is a top 20.

Andrew Landry … He’s been sidelined for three months to try and heal from impingements in both shoulders. He’s cashed only twice in 10 starts this season, but both were top 10s, so he’s 151st in the FedExCup. Even if totally healthy, he presents best filling out the deepest of full-season rosters and spot-starting for aggressive DFSers, just not this week.

NOTABLES WDs

Will Zalatoris … His tournament debut will have to wait. The addition by subtraction is that PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf gamers don’t need to worry about burning another start immediately following his co-runner-up at the US Open.

Russell Henley … He’s limited his playing time in the last six weeks to only majors. Currently 39th in the FedExCup and exempted into The Open Championship, so he’s earned the opportunity to rest. Still, that he’s sitting out the Travelers is surprising. In five appearances, he’s risen for a T6 and another two top 20s.

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

Patrick Rodgers … This will be his first week off of the last five. Sat just two strokes off the 36-hole lead at the US Open, and then faded to finish T31. A solid season overall has him 75th in the FedExCup, so he’ll be returning to the Playoffs.

RECAP – US Open

POWER RANKINGS

Power Ranking Golfer Results
1 Justin Thomas T37
2 Rory McIlroy T5
3 Scottie Scheffler T2
4 Sam Burns T27
5 Jon Rahm T12
6 Xander Schauffele T14
7 Shane Lowry MC
8 Jordan Spieth T37
9 Matt Fitzpatrick Win
10 Cameron Smith MC
11 Patrick Cantlay T14
12 Max Homa T47
13 Collin Morikawa T5
14 Tony Finau MC
15 Will Zalatoris T2
16 Joaquin Niemann T47
17 Corey Conners MC
18 Daniel Berger MC
19 Billy Horschel MC
20 Hideki 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

GOLFBET

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

BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR

June 21 … Matt Kuchar (44); William McGirt (43); Russell Knox (37); Sangmoon Bae (36); 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