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 yesterday’s course preview.
Checking The Chalk
Brooks Koepka ($11,800) is the most expensive golfer on DK this week. Not enough can be said about how well he’s playing this year. Since missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he’s made a half dozen cuts in a row. During that stretch, he’s finished in the top five on four occasions. Three of those occasions happened to be in majors where he won the PGA Championship and had two runner-up finishes. He is averaging 70% of greens in regulation hit over his past five starts. There aren’t many golfers who could sustain that type of ball-striking over the course of an event, let alone two months. He’s played well here in his three starts, as well, making each cut and finishing in the top 20 twice.
Bubba Watson ($8,900) has hoisted the trophy twice in the past four years at TPC River Highlands. Dating back to 2012, he’s made six of seven cuts here, including the aforementioned pair of wins and two other top-five finishes. Lately, Watson has struggled mightily with his short game. He’s lost strokes around the green or putting in seven of his last ten starts.
Paul Casey ($9,500) has been a popular golfer for most of the season so far and this week should be no exception. He had a great ball-striking week at Pebble Beach. He was 15th and 16th in strokes gained off the tee and approach, respectively at last week’s U.S. Open but couldn’t get anything going on the greens. He wound up in 21st place. So far this year, he’s made 13 starts worldwide finishing in the top five on five occasions. Casey has also had plenty of success here (splits at TPC River Highlands below) which will only add to his ownership. He’s made four starts with two runner-ups and a top five finish. Casey’s worst effort at TPC River Highlands is a 17th-place finish in 2016.
The highest ranked golfer in the model below $9,000 is RotoViz favorite Jason Kokrak ($8,300). His raw score of -1.27 gives him the fourth best score in the field, trailing only Patrick Cantlay ($11,300), Brooks Koepka ($11,800), and Justin Thomas ($9,800). Kokrak wasn’t in the field last week but has been playing well all year. He’s made 13 straight cuts including eight top 20s to start his 2019 campaign. He’s hitting more fairways and gaining more strokes on approach in 2019 than any stretch of this length in his career.
The guy right below Kokrak in the model is Tommy Fleetwood ($9,300). Granted, he has hit a bit of a lull over the past couple of times we saw him. He took about a month off after the PGA Championship and came back for last week’s U.S. Open. Fleetwood made the cut but finished outside the top 60 at Pebble last week. His approach game didn’t go anywhere, though. He gained more strokes last week than he had in any start dating back to his top five finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Both Fleetwood and Kokrak are in the -1.5 to -1 group in the raw score for the model. Golfers in that group, historically, have finished in the top 10 20% of the time. Two cheaper golfers that popped in the model this week are Sung Kang ($7,300) and Viktor Hovland ($7,900). I wrote about both Kang and Hovland in yesterday’s Yahoo article. Hovland is No. 11 in my model, so I’m quite bullish on him as we see the start to his career.
Nobody below $7,000 qualified in that group but we do have a couple of golfers that were close in Matt Jones ($6,900) and Colin Morikawa ($6,900). They fall into the group between -1 and -0.5 in the model. Historically, golfers in that bucket have found their way into the top 20 at a 25% clip. With a golfer below $7,000 you’re looking for a made cut and maybe a bonus of finding the top 20 so we’ll take it for a couple of GPP darts. Jones has played a bit of whack-a-mole with his game recently missing two of his last three cuts but has been averaging 63% GIR in 2019. Morikawa is another young gun who recently turned pro. He’s underpriced relative to his skill. He’s made both of his pro cuts and finished in 14th place at the RBC Canadian Open, a tournament with similar field strength.
The last guy I’ll mention this week is Matthew Wolff ($7,300). He’s another guy turning pro that has a lot of hype. Wolff peaked at No. 2 in the WAGR (World Amateur Golf Rankings) and dominated in college. He made 10 stroke play appearances in 2019 so far — including a made cut at the Waste Management in February — and had three collegiate wins to go along with a half dozen other top 15s. Wolff will be reasonably popular this week as the hype train is getting on the tracks with these young guns turning pro as we head into the summer.
So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 39/44 made cuts, 28/44 top 30s, and 14/44 top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:
- Patrick Cantlay ($11,300)
- Tommy Fleetwood ($9,300)
Ownership Projection and Model Results - Travelers ChampionshipFinal run of ownership
|Name||DK$||Ownership Projection||Model Score|
|Byeong Hun An||7800||14.4||0.69|
|Si Woo Kim||7400||10.5||0.61|
|Harold Varner III||7100||1.4||0.51|
|Jose De Jesus Rodriguez||6300||0.1||0.58|
Image Credit: Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.
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