After a week out in Pebble Beach for an exciting U.S. Open, we’re heading east to scenic Cromwell, Connecticut to TPC River Highlands. This course has been in the rotation since 1992. It’s a short Pete Dye design, coming in at about 6,800 yards and is a par 70. The bentgrass greens run reasonably fast — around 11.5 feet on the stimpmeter. They are some of the smaller greens on Tour, averaging about 5,000 square feet. The course features four water hazards and is littered with 69 bunkers. As always, for more information about the course and trends, check out the course preview.
Charley Hoffman ($33) and Emiliano Grillo ($34) are two names that jump out right away from a price vs. odds perspective. Both of these guys are in the middle of 80/1 and worse longshots but are priced at 66/1 at most books. Hoffman has played this event seven times with five top-25 finishes to show for it. He’s missed just one of his last seven cuts coming into this week’s event. Box score scouts might skip over Grillo this week after the disappointing 58th place finish but there’s definitely a reason for optimism. Only two golfers gained more strokes than Grillo on approach at last week’s US Open. Unfortunately, only two golfers lost more strokes on the greens than Grillo. Kevin Tway ($31) also fits into this mold with a price around 60/1 but being surrounded by 100/1 shots.
Viktor Hovland ($20) is min-priced after setting the amateur U.S. Open scoring record. The books have set his odds at 66/1 which is good for the 19th shortest win odds in the field. This might be the biggest pricing discrepancy we’ve seen this year. The secret is likely out on Hovland but it’s hard to argue against his form. He’s turning pro this week and has more than held his own in the two majors that he’s played this year. Hovland finished 32nd at the Masters and 12th last week while averaging more than 72% of greens in regulation hit. His strength lies in his ability to keep his tee shots in front of him as he hit 84% of fairways last week. That will come in handy on a Pete Dye design like TPC River Highlands.
At the top of the pricing heap, we have Brooks Koepka ($49) this week. All he’s done is win or come in second in each of the majors so far this season. It’s no surprise that he’s nearly $50 on Yahoo this week. Would it interest you if there was a golfer nearly $20 cheaper than Koepka that has hit more fairways, just 2% fewer greens in regulation and has made five straight cuts including three finishes inside the top six? If so, Kevin Streelman ($31) is your guy this week.
Justin Thomas ($47) hasn’t been the guy that we’re used to seeing recently. Over his past three starts, he’s made two cuts and hovered right around 60% of his fairways and greens in regulation. Sepp Straka ($20) is bare minimum this week and pops up in Thomas’ sim score list. If his name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s probably because he opened with a 68 and you went “Hey Siri, who’s Sepp Straka?” Granted, he had an up and down week but played well in the first and fourth rounds at Pebble Beach. Straka hit nearly 60% of his greens in regulation but struggled on the par 3s as he rolled along to a 28th place finish.
One of the hottest golfers in the world is Patrick Cantlay ($45) and he’s making his way to Crowmwell, CT this week for the Travelers. He’s priced all the way up as the third most expensive golfer. Grillo pops as a pivot for Cantlay, but we talked about him already. Sung Kang ($30) is a guy that I’m very interested in. He’s currently inside the top 10 of the model with a -1.02 Power Ranking Score. Golfers that fall between -1 and -1.5 have finished in the top 20 nearly 35% of the time. He lost it a bit at the Memorial a few weeks ago, but he has been excellent this year making 12 of 14 cuts and finishing inside the top 20 on seven separate occasions.
Image Credit: Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
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