PGA Tour betting preview: Bubba a logical bet for Travelers title

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Updated: August 4, 2016

PGA Tour featured betting preview: Travelers Championship; TPC River Highlands; par 70 (6841 yards); Cromwell, CT, August 5-8 (AET) – selections by Will Chen

 

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Congratulations to Jimmy Walker on a superb victory at Baltusrol last week, completing a clean sweep for first-time winners in all four majors this year (Danny Willett – Masters, Dustin Johnson – US Open, Henrik Stenson – Open Championship and Walker – PGA Championship). Walker weathered a fierce final round rally from defending champion Jason Day but hold his nerve after finding the green-side rough on the final hole. Plenty of players will be taking a break this week as the Tour resumes at a private club in the heart of New England blueblood country for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

 

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Founded in 1928 as Middletown Golf Club, it was purchased by the PGA Tour in the early 1980s and redesigned to TPC standards by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. This event was first held in 1952 at the nearby Wethersfield Country Club before shifting to TPC River Highlands (pictured above) in 1984. Formerly known as the Buick Championship and Greater Hartford Open, the Travelers attracts the biggest crowd of any tour event behind only the Phoenix Open where they’ve watched outsiders, Tour maidens and old-timers mostly dominate.

There’s no Walker, Day, Johnson or Jordan Spieth so the likes of Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Branden Grace, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed occupy the spots at the top of the market. Watson is the top dog having won this tournament twice in his career. That includes victory here a year ago. The victor here has been in double-digits under par in each edition since 1994 while only two non-American (Marc Leishman and Fredrik Jacobson) have won in that same period. In the past eight years, the average winning score has been just under 16 strokes under par.

 

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Power used to be the big play here but accuracy off the tee is now marginally more important. The past four winners have had an average Driving Accuracy ranking of 12.75. But it’s the short game that is telling on this track. Watson (pictured above) ranked first for Scrambling Putts Per Round last year while five of the past 10 winners have ranked first for Birdie Average. It’s also worth fading players who were in contention in the PGA Championship, as they have a lousy record backing up.

 

 

Confirmed bets (card finalised, E/W = top 5)

We’re genuinely surprised that Watson isn’t shorter than the generous $13 on offer. In his past eight starts here, his record reads 6-14-1-38-2-4-31-1 for two wins. He’s missing the opening ceremony at the Olympics in order to defend his title. History shows that he’s a ‘horses-for-courses’ type of golfer, winning twice at Augusta and Riviera. He finished down the field at Baltusrol (T60) but he faced a similar scenario last year.

Bubba Watson WIN-E/W (one unit @ $13.00)
Zach Johnson WIN-E/W (one unit @ $23.00)
Jon Rahm WIN-E/W (one unit @ $26.00)
Kevin Chappell top 6 (one unit @ $8.00)
Aaron Baddeley top 10 (one unit @ $7.00)
Retief Goosen top 25 (one unit @ $3.25)
Michael Thompson top 25 (one unit @ $3.25)
Bryce Molder top 25 (one unit @ $4.50)

 

Last week’s results: 1-0-7, -3.0 units; overall record: 46-3-162, +65.3 units

Dustin Johnson WIN-E/W (one unit @ $9.00) LOSE (CUT)
Sergio Garcia WIN-E/W (one unit @ $26.00) LOSE (CUT)
Justin Rose WIN-E/W (one unit @ $34.00) LOSE (T66)
Branden Grace top 10 (one unit @ $5.00) WIN (T4)
JB Holmes top 10 (one unit @ $5.50) LOSE (CUT)
Jason Dufner top 10 (one unit @ $6.50) LOSE (T60)
Marc Leishman top 25 (one unit @ $3.75) LOSE (T60)
Thomas Pieters top 25 (one unit @ $5.00) LOSE (86th)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Sportsbet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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