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DFS Dish: Travelers Championship

Russell Henley

Russell Henley

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Network

Los Angeles Country Club offered a unique test last week but now we return to our normal programming at TPC River Highlands.

This Pete Dye design has been hosting since the ‘80s and offers plenty of course history.

Getting labeled a designated event this year, the event will see its strongest field ever. So, instead of leaning on history let’s take a peek at some course fit angles to see what golfers might like the layout.

Short Course Stars

TPC River Highlands is a par 70 that plays to 6,852 yards.

We can tell from the raw yardage it’s on the short side. Diving deeper, we see that only two of the par 4s play over 445 yards. Again, very short.

That tells us that golfers will have a lot of short irons and wedges on their approach shots.

Here are the top performers in adjusted strokes gained per round on short courses, over the last two years:

Rory McIlroy
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Tom Kim
Jon Rahm
Scottie Scheffler
Hideki Matsuyama
Russell Henley
Viktor Hovland
Collin Morikawa
Seamus Power
Corey Conners
Tony Finau
Cameron Young
Justin Thomas

We can also look at performance versus baseline to see who shows the largest increase in performance compared to their typical scores:

Tom Kim
Kevin Yu
Mark Hubbard
Hideki Matsuyama
Harry Hall
Robby Shelton
Brendon Todd
Seamus Power
Hayden Buckley
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Russell Henley
Matt Kuchar
C.T. Pan
Ben Griffin
Brian Harman

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Tom Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Henley, and Seamus Power.

Hovland is certainly starting to announce himself as a big-game hunter with top-7 finishes in the last three majors played.

Seamus a sneaky short-course crusher

The Irishman is 4-for-5 in his career at the Travelers with back-to-back top 25s on his tournament resume. Last year in his pressers he snuck in “I’ve always loved this course” which may be a hint that his upside is well beyond a simple top-25 finish. Power arrives with ho-hum finishes of MC-41-MC in his last three starts but top 20s in the two starts prior to that. He’s not in the best form but also lot too far removed from strong play. A return to a course he likes could be just the cure he needs to get back into contention.

Henley with converging trends at the Travelers

The Georgia Bulldog missed the cut last month at the PGA Championship but has surrounded that dud with six top 20s. That includes a T14 at last week’s U.S. Open. He’s playing some solid golf and also sports a 4-for-5 record at TPC River Highlands with three of those doubling as top-20 finishes. He’s playing well in recent months, overperforms on short courses, and has a steady track record at TPC River Highlands. Everything is pointing toward a strong finish for Henley this week.