After the thrills and spills of last week’s U.S. Open at Merion, the regular PGA Tour season continues at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut this week with the Travelers Championship.
The PGA Tour’s best haven’t had to travel too far this week from Merion in Pennsylvania to Cromwell in Connecticut. So, as you might expect, a strong field has assembled. It includes new U.S Open champion Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Lee Westwood. Defending champion, Marc Leishman of Australia will also tee it up.
TPC River Highlands was originally laid out in 1928 by Robert J. Ross and Maurice Kearney, at that time it was known as Edgewood Country Club. The course was redesigned by Pete Dye in 1982 and again by Bobby Weed in 1998.
This is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour schedule at only 6,841 yards. But it won’t get taken apart and, last season, the average score was only 0.12 under the par of 70. The greens here will be rather different to last week at Merion. The surfaces are designed to measure just 10.5 on the Stimpmeter so the players can be significantly more aggressive with the putter than in the year’s second Major.
The Travelers Championship has had a number of different guises since it was first contested in 1952. It began life as the Insurance City Open and, for a time, was hosted by Sammy Davis Jnr. Over the years there have been some famous winners of the event including Arnold Palmer, Charles Sifford, Lee Trevino and Greg Norman.
Last season, Australia’s Marc Leishman fired a superb final round of 62 to sneak ahead of the pack. He finished one clear of home players Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman, the latter of whom finished with a double bogey then a bogey.
There could be delays to play on Thursday but, after that, the forecast looks reasonably clear.
Venue: TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut
Date: Jun 20-23
Course stats: par 70, 6,841 yards
Purse: $6,100,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Marc Leishman (-14)
Thursday 20 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 21 – Sky Sports3 from 8pm
Saturday 22 – Sky Sports 1 from 6.30pm
Sunday 23 – Sky Sports 1 from 7pm
Hunter Mahan – He was tied fourth in the U.S. Open last week and could have done better. He’s won this event in the past and has twice been runner-up. He’s won more money in this tournament than any other player.
Bubba Watson – Another former winner and last year’s runner-up, Watson’s game is clearly suited to this track. He’s averaged under 67 strokes for his last 20 rounds at River Highlands.
Charley Hoffman – Enjoying a solid season, Hoffman was tied second with Bubba Watson last year after a poor finish. He’ll be out to get his own back on the closing stretch this season.
Key hole: 13th. A relatively short par-5 at just 523 yards. Everyone in the field should have the opportunity to get home in two, however, water waits short and a dangerous bunker lies over the back. It’s a real risk and reward hole.
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