Pick ‘Em Preview: Travelers Championship

If it feels like it’s a treat to be able to lean on course history as a tool, you’re right. Of the most recent eight completed tournaments, only the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday were contested on courses with enough reasonable history to apply to our decisions.

This week’s Travelers Championship has been at TPC River Highlands for decades. That kind of bank of data not only can weed out a few talents, it serves as entry-level intel for rookies among us. That said, when scanning over your considerations in PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live, historical record is but one component to the madness, er, responsibly generated preview material. Yeah, that’s it.

In addition to combing through our stand-alone content for the Travelers, Rob and Glass have zeroed in on opening selections for the PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live below. Naturally, they’ve used said stand-alone content because, well, they reviewed the data, analyzed it and compiled it for the purposes of all. Here’s your chance to use it against them if you don’t scale into the top five as well.

Register for PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live here and monitor Rob’s and Glass’ progress as Influencers.

For a broader explanation of the format and FAQs, click here.

TOURNAMENT

TO WIN

GlassMackenzie Hughes (+12500)

Trending nicely, yet quietly, with T24-T28-T37 in his last three. He’ll enjoy the “break” this week as the three above were The Country Club, St George’s and Muirfield Village. The Canadian is 5-for-5 here and opened with 60 en route to T3 in 2020.

RobBeau Hossler (+10000)

Glass has owned me for three weeks, but his mini-reign of terror, er, terrific form ends now. Beau knows.

One of the most popular questions posed to me this week was how Hossler could start as fifth alternate despite slotting 56th in the FedExCup. If you, too, are curious, understand that only invitationals use in-season FedExCup standings to fill fields. It’s how he got into THE PLAYERS, Schwab and Memorial. However, opens like the Travelers use the season-opening Priority Ranking in which he’s way down in Category 32 on conditional status. The category reorders but he can’t be promoted from it without a victory.

Although the 27-year-old never has won on the PGA TOUR, he’s going to be a popular pick to do just that at TPC River Highlands. It’s the site of one of his pair of runner-up finishes (2018) and he finished T10 last year.

He’s a phenomenal putter who will need to sharpen his tee-to-green game to elbow for position come Sunday, which is when the real fun begins. In 11 final rounds this season, he’s broken par just twice – neither for a sub-70 – and ranks 202nd in the final-round scoring average..

TOP 10

RobKevin Streelman (+900)

Because this window unlocks every night, I’m comfortable in reaching, but is it, really?

Streels famously walked off the win here with seven straight birdies in 2014. It’s one of five top 10s in 14 consecutive trips, the last a solo second in 2020. In this week’s edition of “PGA TOUR: The CUT,” he reiterated his affinity for TPC River Highlands, the tournament and the community, and that’s plenty good for me.

GlassBrendan Steele (+500)

No point overlooking the intersection of form meeting course history!

Steele has found another gear after a dreadful winter. It’s six straight cuts made on his own ball with a T9 at Southern Hills and a T10 at Memorial in his last two. His eight paydays from 11 starts at TPC River Highlands are T25 or better. DNS at The Country Club, so he should be fresh as well.

TOP 20

GlassHank Lebioda (+750)

I was lined up early last weekend for changes and they worked out quite well. Something about early birds and worms! Taking chances in this format is what makes the action round to round enjoyable, so try to take advantage.

The lefty has found a bit of form lately and his best round of the spring was 66 to close in Canada last time out. He’s never MC here in three tries, and he cashed T5 last season, so let’s try and catch him on the up. If not, I’ll switch my horse.

RobTommy Fleetwood (+270)

Unlike Glass, I can’t stay up late enough in Arizona for this window to open on weekends – I’ve tried! – so I need to cast aside that plan. The proper adjustment is to choke up and accept what the pitcher gives.

In his only prior appearance, the Brit finished T13 in 2019 with a set of sub-70s, and he’s piled up the top 20s worldwide in 2022, eight to be exact. Since the kickback on this play doesn’t have as strong of an impact on other bets – even if Glass connect with Lebioda at +750 – easing off the throttle should contribute to the enjoyment.

ROUND 1

Leader

GlassJason Day (+5000)

Posted 62 here in Round 2 last year and 63 in Round 2 in 2019, so he’s got the LOW figured out. Now, just shift it into Round ONE and we have action. Well, we ALWAYS have action, and the Aussie is out at 7:15 am on No. 10. Not perfect but plenty of time to chase down whoever is leading if not him!

RobXander Schauffele (+3300)

Not that we need incentive in PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live to circle an early starter, but rain overnight and into Thursday morning will present TPC River Highlands for target practice when the balls start flying. Because the nines are equal enough, I’m not partial to either side of the draw. I just want a guy who’s comfortable being aggressive in part because he’s done it here before.

In three trips, Schauffele (7:35 am ET) has scored 66, 67 and 63 in opening rounds of the Travelers. The tail of that trio was in 2020 when Mackenzie Hughes opened with 60. Hughes also co-led with an opening 64 in 2019. Jordan Spieth can match the multiple with at least a share of the R1 leads in 2017 and 2018, both times with 63. I’d have plucked either of those two, but both go out in the afternoon. So, they are Plans 1b and 1c.

NOTE: While Glass and Rob typically stick with their selections as detailed in Pick ‘Em Preview, they are allowed the right to make changes at any time.

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