How ’bout that US Open? One of the better leaderboards we have seen all year. However, we can’t sit and dwell on what happened last week as it’s time to move on to our PGA DFS Tournament Preview for the 2023 Travelers Championship.
Allow me to introduce myself very quickly. I am one of the newer writers here at Fantrax. However, I have been writing fantasy articles for a long, long time. I’ll be writing football articles this season, but Chad Ezelle had to step out this week. This is far from my first rodeo doing fantasy golf coverage and you may have seen my previews on other sites. Therefore, the powers that be asked me to step in and write this week’s preview.
Being the company man that I am, I figured why not?
So let’s get into it. We’ll talk about the course very quickly and then get to my initial swipe of a potential lineup for the 2023 Travelers Championship.
PGA DFS Tournament Preview: 2023 Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands is a par-70, 6,841-yard course. The well-known course designer Pete Dye completely redesigned the course in 1982, only for seven years later golf course architect Bobby Weed and PGA TOUR Design Services, Inc., with PGA TOUR players Howard Twitty and Roger Matlbie serving as consultants, to redesign it again.
The course stretches over 148 acres of the Cromwell, CT suburbs. It features treelined and gently rolling fairways. TPC River Highlands surrounds its Bentgrass surfaces from tee to green with bluegrass fescue roughs. Plenty of water hazards can be found throughout the course, with a well-balanced mix of both long and short holes.
Holes 15 – 17 are probably the most iconic, situated around a four-acre lake.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this course requires accuracy off the tee, which will be one of the key factors in putting together my lineup this week. Brian Harman for example is one of the shorter hitters on tour, but finished in the top ten here last season. Last year’s winner, Xander Schaufele, is known more for his strong iron play than his ability to bomb it off the tee. I will definitely be weighing that as I make my 2023 Travelers Championship picks.
2023 Travelers Championship Suggested Options
The Anchor/Cash Game Option: Scottie Scheffler $11300
Scottie Scheffler had to “settle” for a third-place finish at the US Open last week, but he still remains the number one player in the world, at least according to the OWGR (Overall World Golf Ranking). We shouldn’t be surprised. He has five Top 5 finishes in his last five tournaments. He has 16 Top 25s this season, including 13 Top 10s. He’s made a perfect 17 of 17 cuts. Need I continue?
No player has a more complete game right now. He’s 1st on Tour in Total Shots Gained, but that will happen when you are first in shots gained Off the Tee, Approaching The Green, AND Tee to Green. Oh, and he’s first in Greens in Regulation. Shocker.
We could go on listing all the reasons to like Scheffler this week. Instead, I will warn you that he did miss the cut at the Travelers Championship three years ago. And all he did the following year at the Travelers was post another Top 20 finish. What a bum.
The only reason to maybe fade Scheffler this week is because of his cost. I am aware that if you try to get Scottie Scheffler and the other five names below in your lineup, you will be over the cap. So the pivot here is Victor Hovland ($9900), who is coming off his 14th Top-20 finish this season and is a perfect 18-for-18 in cuts made. I also really like Rickie Fowler ($9100) this week. I know many might be wondering if he bounce back this week or does last week’s near miss linger with him. I’m going with Option B.
No Time Like The Present Play: Sahith Theegala $8300
ARE YOU KIDDING ME SAHITH THEEGALA?! 😂pic.twitter.com/4jkXPrmO1U
— ActionGolfHQ (@ActionGolfHQ) May 6, 2023
Currently 25th in the overall world golf rankings (OWGF), Theegala has had a great season. The last time he missed a cut was in October, he has ten Top 25s including seven Top 10s and one runner-up. A majority of the tour would love to have accomplished all that.
As good as Theegala’s season has been, it’s actually been a bit of a disappointment given the hype he had coming into the season. Many were expecting a Wyndham Clark-like jump this season for Theegala. However, he is still playing better this season than he did last season. Yet the fact that he doesn’t have a win yet is a little startling.
He is the first on Tour in total birdies and should see many more this week at TPC Highlands. Might be tough to improve on his T-2 here last year, but don’t be surprised if he does!
The Potentially Sneaky Play: Tom Kim $8100
Well hello there Mr. Kim! We have been waiting for you. You lit the tour on fire at the end of last season but have struggled most of this season. But after last week’s T-8 finish and first top-ten finish in six months, could we be looking for another flourish to end the season possibly?
Given that Kim is 4th in Driving Accuracy Percentage, I think he keeps it going this week. Despite not finishing in the top five since January, Kim is still 18th in the FedEx Rankings, 25th in Shots Gained Total, and 7th in Green in Regulation (GIR). If his projected ownership remains low, I love him as a GPP option.
Over Abundance of Shares Play: Russell Henley $7800
🚨🔥RUSSELL HENLEY US OPEN HYPE VIDEO🔥🚨 pic.twitter.com/ycLCuy1jUY
— US Open Tracker (@USOpenTracker) June 12, 2023
Remember when I told you that driving accuracy would be important? Well, guess who’s #1 in Driving Accuracy on the PGA Tour? Yep, that’s Russell Henley, who I will have in more entries than any other golfer this week.
Henley is coming off a US Open where he was T-1st in fairways hit and gained more than eight strokes total. He finished T-14, his seventh Top 20 in his last eight events. Yes, this is pure opinion, but no player under $8K on DK this week has a higher floor/higher ceiling combo than Henley.
Fade him at the 2023 Travelers Championship at your own risk.
The Local Angle Play: Keegan Bradley $7800
Bradley is currently 15th in the FedEx, 31st in Shots Gained Total, and 1st in Driving Efficiency. He would thus be a solid option at most venues. Yet he’s a must-consider this week given his local ties.
Bradley is a New Englander and it should be no surprise that his favorite professional teams are the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots. That personality flaw notwithstanding, he’s always a lock for the Travelers. He has a T-19 and a T-2 here in the last five years. He is always one of the local favorites here and annually has a huge fan backing at the Travelers.
Bradley is always a threat to disappoint after a hot start, i.e. to go “full Keegan” (see 2016 Valspar Championship). However, the upside is worth the risk.
The Salary Saver/Punt Play: Michael Thorbjornsen $6800
I’m not going to penalize the former #2 Amateur for two missed cuts in a row. The kid is just oozing with talent. Success is coming, I promise you that. I’ll let you do your own research on the amount of talent he has.
But I will point out that he has the highest finish by an amateur on the PGA TOUR since 2016 at the….yup, you guessed it 2022 Travelers Championship! Another top 5 finish might be a lot to ask for, but at $6800 there’s just way too much value to leave him off your 2023 Travelers Championship roster.