US Open champion Brooks Koepka returns to the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Jason Day hope to rebound after missing the cut at the second major of 2018.
There’s no resting up for the World's best players in the week following the US Open, with newly crowned champion Brooks Koepka joining Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jordan Spieth in the field at TPC River Highlands this week.
And while you might be forgiven for thinking a regular PGA Tour event won’t provide as much excitement as a major, the golf fans that have been following the Travelers Championship over the past two years will know that is simply not the case here.
In 2016 Jim Furyk became the first ever person to shoot a record-breaking 58 in a PGA Tour event. He hit all 18 greens in regulation, had just 10 putts on the front nine and was 11-under through 12 holes, picking up his final birdie on the par-three 16th to get to 12-under par.
The following year, Jordan Spieth needed an extra hole to defeat Daniel Berger and complete a wire to wire victory, and he did it with one of the most memorable shots of the year. Spieth holed out from the bunker on the first play-off hole, before turning to caddie Michael Greller and completing a chest-bumping, rake-and-club-throwing celebration for the ages.
But who should you back this week?
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Betting Tips: Travelers Championship
Justin Thomas: 12/1
A T25 at the US Open was JT's worst result since September 2017, which shows the quality of golf he's been producing this year. The World No.2 has two victories and four other top 10s this season already, and ranks inside the top five on tour for Scoring Average, Birdie Average, SG: Tee to Green and SG: Total. 7th for Putting Average. MC here last year but was T3 in 2016.
Brooks Koepka: 14/1
Tough to follow up a major title with another victory, but Koepka returns here for the first time since a T9 in 2016 looking to do just that. And there's no doubt about the impressively gritty display he put on during the final round of the US Open on his way to his successful major title defence.
Has only played in five events since returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him until May, and has a victory, a runner-up finish, a T11, a T30 and a T42. Best stat is a 9th place on tour for Scoring Average.
Jordan Spieth: 14/1
He missed a 10-footer for par on the 18th to miss the cut at the US Open by a single shot, making him miss back-to-back cuts after a few mid-table finishes following his 3rd place finish at the Masters. Spieth is the defending champion here, and while he will be hoping to recapture last year's magic, he hasn’t ever won with a MC the week before and admitted he is just hoping to gain a bit more momentum this week. Ranks 2nd GIR, 4th SG: Tee to green, 6th Birdie Average, 17th Scoring Average but 188th SG: Putting.
"Anywhere you kind of go somewhere you’ve won before you obviously have been there and done it so you believe that you can do it again," Spieth said to local press. "I was in a better place with my game last year coming in. I had been striking the ball better. This year I’m just trying to gain some momentum to get a little bit better each week."
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
A victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational has since been followed with a mixture of results that includes three top 10s and two missed cuts - two of which came in the two tournaments before his MC at last week's major. T17 here in debut last year, and ranks 15th in Scoring Average, 20th in SG: Tee to green.
Jason Day: 18/1
Four top 10s and two victories already this year. Day has finished T44-MC in his last start two starts at Memorial and the US Open, but was T5 at The Players in the tournament before. Ranks 1st SG: Putting, 4th for SG: Around-The-Green, 8th for both birdie average, 11th scoring average and 13th SG: Off the tee. MC at 2017 Travelers Championship.
Patrick Reed: 18/1
Reed gave himself a very good run at back-to-back major titles on Sunday, briefly sharing the US Open lead with Koepka before dropping a few shots from the ninth to finish three shots back. Has had five top 10s and a victory in his last eight starts, with a worst result of T41 after The Players. Ranks inside the top 20 for Scoring Average, Birdie Average and SG: Total. Not to mention a T5 finish here last year and T11 in 2016.
Paul Casey - 18/1
Finished T16 at the US Open and could be a really good bet this week. Was T5 at TPC River Highlands in 2017, and has already notched up three top 10s and a victory this year at the Valspar. Ranks inside the top 15 on tour for SG: Approach the green, SG: Tee to green, Scoring Average. He also ranks 1st for par three scoring average, and given there are four par-threes at TPC River Highlands, this could prove an advantage.
Daniel Berger: 25/1
2nd and 5th place finish here the past two years, and given his first top 10 of the year (a T6 finish) came at the US Open, Berger could be a really solid bet this week as the golf course clearly fits his game.
Webb Simpson: 25/1
A top 10 finish (his sixth in 2018) at last week's US Open that flew under the radar came a few week's after victory at The Players Championship. Ranks 8th in SG: Putting, 5th in Scoring Average, 3rd Scrambling. Was also T8 here last year.
Marc Leishman: 28/1
A bit of a mixed season for the Australian, who finished T45 at the US Open and has a best finish of 2nd in 2018 at the AT&T Byron Nelson where he shot his career low round of 61. Ranks 19th birdie average, 17th in par-four scoring. 2012 Champion who hasn't finished worse than T39 in last six years here.
Xander Schauffele: 33/1
There's a bit of unpredictability with Schauffele this week, who has two missed cuts and two top 10s in his last two starts, including a T6 at last week's US Open. No particularly stand-out stats from the two-time PGA Tour champ, but the rookie of the year was T14 in his debut here last year.
Ryan Moore: 33/1
Wasn't in the US Open field and returns to the PGA Tour following a T13 at Memorial, his best result since a T7 at the Valero Texas Open, and T5 at Arnold Palmer Invitational. In 10 appearances at the Travelers he has two runner-ups and three other top 10s - with a T16 the last time he played in 2016. Ranks 8th SG: Tee to green, 4th in Driving Accuracy, 5th in Scrambling and 23rd in Scoring Average.