Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What To Look For: 2020 Travelers Championship

Webb Simpson wins at Harbour Town:

Simpson once again used his excellent 'iron play and in' to win at Harbour Town.  I currently have Simpson at 108th out of 216 players in Driving Effectiveness, but as Harbour Town shows the ceiling is low in terms of gaining strokes off the tee due tot he tightness of the course.  And that played right into Simpson's hands.


The Tour returns to Hartford for the Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands was founded in 1928 as Middletown Golf Club and became Edgewood Country Club in 1934. In the early 1980s it was bought by the PGA Tour. The golf course was redesigned to TPC standards by golf course architect Pete Dye, and reopened as the "TPC of Connecticut" in 1984. The course underwent further remodeling in 1989, this time by Bobby Weed in consultation with tour pros Howard Twitty and Roger Maltbie, and renamed the TPC at River Highlands.

The course is fairly well received by the players.  It's not the most awe inspiring track, but it lacks quirkiness and plays pretty fair.  It's a big low scoring event as the tee shots are wide open.

Most strokes at TPC River Highlands will come from either superior mid-to-long iron play or great driving from a long hitter who can consistently leave themselves with shorter approaches to the green.

The final critical hole on the course is the par-4, 17th hole that plays to 412 to the center of the green.

This is the most difficult driving hole and approach shot hole on the course and with the water and the fairly easy putting green it explains the strong deviation in scores.

Last year the average player in the field hit their tee shots 260 yards on this hole, so it's certainly a lay-up hole.  However, the data shows if the player can get hit something closer to 285 yards off the tee their expected scores drop on this hole.  This goes along with one of the findings in previous versions of Pro Golf Synopsis; Tour players tend to lay-up about 20-30 yards too short.

Using the 65/50 Rule from the 2019 Pro Golf Synopsis, the play is to get something that can carry roughly 270 yards off the tee and the target is a tree in the distance which overlays the left center of the fairway.

The importance of hitting it at least 270 yards is clear, the fairway is just about as wide from 270 yards as it is 260 yards, but the bunkers don't come into play as much as the approach shot will obviously be shorter in distance. 

Projected Winning Score: -20


Bryson DeChambeau +1,200
Justin Thomas +1,200
Brooks Koepka +1,600
Bubba Watson +2,500
Patrick Cantlay +2,500
Abraham Ancer +2,800


Collin Morikawa +3,300
Joaquin Niemann +5,000
Corey Conners +8,000
Dylan Fritelli +12,500


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