If you thought last week showed some low numbers being put up (No thanks to the world’s number 1-3 ranked players who all missed the cut), just wait until this weekend. Tucked into a sleepy town of Cromwell, CT sits the TPC River Highlands, good name considering it shares the land with the Connecticut River. This course has played host to the Travelers Championship for more than 30 years. TPC courses pride themselves on quality of the course and being respectful to the surrounding environment.
Inside glance into my life includes working for TPC of Tampa Bay on the golf course maintenance crew. Work started at 4 am and usually over by 2:30 pm. Many of mornings with the golf course waking up, the sun yawn-stretching over the horizon and dew slowly lifts off the tightly mowed greens produced lasting memories of peace and serenity. One moment of neither includes me at probably 5 am driving down into a large bunker next to a lake only to find about a ten-twelve foot alligator staring at me from way closer than I am comfortable with. The machine I’m on doesn’t really go backwards more than seriously turtle speed so I just sit there and try to think of what I have on me or around me that can be used as a weapon, trash grabber could do some damage right? What feels like thirty minutes (probably closer to 5 seconds, lol) we locked eyes and then the alligator slowly turns away and slides back into the lake. Might need to change my britches. Wasn’t my first or last encounter with an alligator on that course? Nope, alright let’s get back on track for this week.
TPC RIVER HIGHLANDS
Par 70 6,841 yards
Wow there are some scoring opportunities each round to be had. Obviously, if you don’t hit into the short stuff off the tee than you are going to be in trouble no matter where up play. But the possibility of two Par 4 holes allowing golfers to grip it and rip it straight to the green could mean a handful of eagle chances during each round. Heck even Jim Furyk shot a 58 in the closing round last year to win it all. For the non-golfers out there, a 58 I would equate to Ben Roethlisberger’s 500+ and 6 TD game a few years back or James Harden going triple double ham with 50 points. Plenty of water hazards and bunkers landscape almost every hole, but many golfers will see short irons in their hands from the fairway on all par 4s. Ending each round with the last four holes that will make for great TV that even the less than average golf fan will enjoy (Big swig of whatever you are drinking each time the announcers say “birdie”, hahaha good luck and cheers.) Hole fifteen is one of those reachable from the tee par fours which will play right around 300 yards. Onto hole 16 which isn’t a long par three but it’s all carry over the edge of a lake. It shows scarier than it actually is as most golfers will be using a 7 iron or less. Hole 17 requires one of those dart throw placement drives, but find the sweet spot and birdie hunting should be easily acquired with more Pitching wedges than irons into the green. Finishing hole 18 will have lots of cheers from the surrounding gallery that engulfs the last green. Wouldn’t surprise me if the winner was -16 after 18 on Sunday. Lastly the nineteenth hole…wait that’s where I go crack another beer and hand it off
Top DFS Players this weekend
This week we have a tough challenge at finding value in this heavy field. For being next in line after a major, this tournament sure has “major” competition. Rory Mcllroy, Jason Day, and Jordan Speith all highlight this tournament. But deep down are some upcoming stars who will look to steal the spotlight. So many ways to fill your lineups this week. Do we go heavy studs and throw in a couple cheap value plays? Or is this the week we play conservative and select a group full of middle class players? TPC River Highlands awaits us on Thursday! Time to increase our pocket green!
Rory Mcllroy Salary- $11,600
It had been a month since Mcllroy had played before last week’s U.S. Open and it was vey clear in round 1. He was so rusty and missed several opportunities that have made him who he is today. However, he appeared to shake off the rust and was much more like himself in round 2 shooting a -1(71) on the day. He appears to be getting back into form and must have something to prove after a devastating missed cut at the Open.
Jason Day Salary- $11,400
Day also struggled at the U.S. open…Badly! He shot a 79 on day 1 and then followed up on day 2 with a 75 to miss the cut and finish in 144th place. Put that aside and he has been the best short game player we have seen in the last couple of years. If he can stay away from the water and sand, Day will hear plenty of birds singing this weekend.
Justin Thomas Salary- $10,200
Justin’s game has been moving up as well as his rankings. After a superb record breaking weekend at Erin Hills, Thomas has taken over the #12 spot in the official world golf ranking. He leads the tour in birdie-or-better percentage and finished in 3rd last year in this tournament. It’s time to pay up for this guy.
Down the middle
Brandt Snedeker Salary- $9,400
Snedeker has been very consistent this season making 10 of the last 13 cuts. He has a smooth short game and really feeds off of this crowd. He has finished in the top 25 in his last 3 outings at the travelers championship. Look for Snedeker to be towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Brian Harman Salary- $8,900
Harman is a man on a mission and you better not pass him up! He has finished in the top 15 in 5 of his last 7 competitions and won the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. Shorter hitter but one of the best this year on and around the green. At this price you need to make room for this guy in your lineup.
Bubba Watson Salary- $8,400
Although Bubba has had a most difficult season thus far, stats mean a lot. Bubba has been tough to watch this year and really needs some help and it has finally arrived. TPC River Highlands is one of Watson’s favorite courses and it suits him so well. He can drive several of the par 4 Green’s and uses the water and bunkers on this course to guide his tee shots. He is the all time earnings leader at TPC River Highlands and has won here twice. I love stats.
Play it as it lies
Xander Schauffele Salary- $7,600
With a course like TPC River Highlands, we want to look for consistent and accurate drivers. Xander has been great off the tee all year and followed up by hitting 83% of fairways at the U.S Open last week. You can just see his confidence growing week by week and he has really captured my attention. He has all the skills to shoot some low rounds this weekend and could be the next guy we talk about when this is all said and done.
Charley Hoffman Salary- $7,300
Hoffman has finished in the top 10 twice at TPC River Highlands and has never missed a cut here. He must love this course as many do. He ranks 12th this year in shots gained off the tee which is a major advantage on a course with some shorter holes. With 4 top 10 finishes this year and a great history at this course, Hoffman makes for a great value play this week.
Graham DeLaet Salary- $7,100
DeLaet has some great history with this tournament with a 3rd place finish in 2013 and a 4th place finish in 2015. He is very hot so far this year with 5 top 10 finishes. He ranks in the top 20 in both shots gained off the tee and putting. His weakness is his short game approach which kills him on long courses. If he can land mid range irons on the green consistently, he could catapult himself up this leaderboard very quickly.
Webb Simpson Salary- $6,800
Simpson has finished in the top 5 twice this season and ranks in the top 20 in approaching the green and shots around the green. He needs to avoid the water and bunkers off the tee and must finish each round strong. He will be very conservative off the tee this week giving himself great opportunities around the green.
Chez Reavie Salary- $6,700
Here’s another guy with great course history here. Reavie has finished in the top 25 twice at TPC River Highlands and has made the cut in his last 5 appearances here. He has 3 top 10 finishes this year and sits in the middle of the pack in almost every category. Very consistent and relaxed golfer. Should be fun to watch this weekend.
Lucas Glover Salary– $6,600
I love Glover and the price is right! He now has 4 top 10 finishes this year and ranks 42nd in the FedEx Cup rankings. Glover ranks in the top 20 in shots gained off the tee as well as tee to green percentage. This course will be a perfect up and down for Glover and I can see him in the final conversation come Sunday.
Cheap Play Tournament
We like to take a couple of our favorite but pricey players here and fill the rest of the lineup out with value plays. If you can stack them correctly here the pocket green can stack!
Big Tournament Lineup
I always find that mixing up my value plays with my studs and middle pack players wins the most green. Mix your lineup until you have the players you want and that one guy that your gut makes you take! Good luck to all!
Don’t miss these top pairings tee off!
7:50 A.M- Rory Mcllroy, Brian Harman, Jim Furyk
8:00 A.M- Jason day, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed
12:50 P.M- Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson, Russell Knox
1:00 P.M- Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Wesley Bryan
Live coverage starts at 7 A.M on the PGA Tour Live App and on t.v at 3:30 P.M Thursday on the golf channel.
Written collaboration: Jason Soukup & Tim Phillips – Fantasy Life app @2drinkminimum & @tim2fresh in Clock Dodgers chat.