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After the high drama of an absorbing final day at the US Open and the heartwarming victory of 30/1 shot Matt Fitzpatrick who showed plenty of Sheffield steel in risking the dangerous long bunker shot at the 72nd which virtually sealed the deal, it’s back to bread-and-butter golf this week with the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
In a bumper bundle for Sky TV viewers there are also two Majors, the Senior US Open and the Women’s PGA Championship, and the BMW International Open in Munich, which, depending on whether a similar ban to the one imposed in the USA is announced, may be one of the last times we see two of its main drawcards, LIV Tour rebels Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, in DP World Tour action.
But we’ll concentrate on River Highlands, where Masters champion and US Open runner-up Scottie Scheffler heads a strong field in Connecticut’s lone PGA Tour stop. It could hardly be more different from Brookline where only nine out of 156 finished under par in a gruelling examination. At 6,852 yards, one of the shortest par 70s on the circuit, it will seem a stroll in the park and Fitzpatrick’s winning six under par in Boston barely makes the cut this week.
This was where in 2016 Jim Furyk became the first to shoot a 58 and five years earlier Patrick Cantlay, then a teenager, blitzed it in 60, the lowest on tour by an amateur.
Without knowing how much Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns who were in the thick of the action have left In the tank, it’s a difficult one to call but I thought 2011 PGA champion Bradley who hails from neighbouring Vermont and had the added pressure of being a fan favourite, stuck to his guns well for a share of seventh.
Travelers runner-up to Chez Reavie three years ago and eighth in 2017, the veteran can continue his best run of form for a long while and give New Englanders more to cheer about this week. Fifth in the Players, runner-up at Wells Fargo and top-ten in Texas and New Orleans before his big showing at The Country Club, this jerky, restless performer could go close to landing his first victory since the 2018 BMW.
Another New Englander with an each-way shout is Scott Stallings, sixth to Dustin Johnson in the 2020 Travelers. Hailing from neighbouring Massachusetts, he has been in eye-catching form, notably fourth at Colonial at the beginning of last month, fifth in Bermuda and 13th in the Texas Open.
We have to go a long way back, to 2014, to find the last of his three wins but there have been plenty of surprises at River Highlands, Russell Knox (2016) and Reavie the most recent, so don’t be scared off by his 200/1 quote.
For the main bet I’m going for class act Cantlay who started sluggishly but got better each day at Brookline for 14th place. Surprisingly he has never come close to repeating that 60 of 11 years ago but he’s been a solid 13-11-15 the last three years and recent form is impressive.
Unlucky to be pipped by Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage after getting a poached-egg greenside bunker lie in the playoff, then partnering pal Xander Schauffele to a facile win in the Zurich pairs and taking third spot at Memorial, the FedEx Cup champion is ready to rumble.
Fitzpatrick’s gutsy victory must inspire fellow Englishman Aaron Rai who, like the new champion, is an unflashy, dedicated golfer who tends to be underrated. The quiet man from Wolverhampton played a blinder for 13th in Canada and starred in the Rai-David Lipsky partnership who played above themselves for fourth place in the Zurich Classic. Sixth at Torrey Pines early in the year, he is edging towards a US breakthrough and his tidy game looks perfect for River Highlands.
It’s interesting that Jordan Spieth has made a late decision to compete as he won the 2017 edition after another playoff, this time with Daniel Berger - there have been 25 of them in the 69-year history of the Travelers.
Brookline didn’t show him to best advantage but he wasn’t the only one. He and McIlroy, playing for the fourth week in a row and enjoying his golf much more these days, look best of the rest.
Twelve months ago Harris English won an eight-hole playoff with Kramer Hickok to take the title but has had to take a long break for hip surgery and missed out from January to Memorial. He made the cut at Brookline but it is hard to see him repeating.
Scheffler and McIlroy are deservedly co-favourites at 10/1 but may lack a bit of motivation after a hard week at the office, so let’s go for something a bit friskier, hence the three-figure picks Rai and Stallings.
A showery week is expected with Saturday the only dry day. Temperatures in the high 20s and no appreciable wind.
Travelers Championship Golf Betting Tips 2022
- 2pts each-way Patrick Cantlay at 16/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Keegan Bradley at 35/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Arron Rai at 140/1 with Bet365 (5 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Jordan Spieth at 25/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 0.5pt each-way Scott Stallings at 200/1 with Bet365 (5 places) (opens in new tab)
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Celebrating my 50th year tipping and writing about golf. Tipped more than 800 winners (and more than 8000 losers!). First big winner Lee Trevino at 8-1, 1972 Open at Muirfield. Biggest win £40 each-way Ernie Els at 80-1 and 50-1, 2012 Open. Most memorable: Giving the 1-2-3 at 33-1, 50-1, 33-1 out of 4 tips from a field of 180 in 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. According to one bookmaker “Undoubtedly one of the greatest tipping performances of all time”. Lowest handicap 9 Present handicap 35.6. Publications tipped for: Sporting Life, Racing Post, Racing&Football Outlook, Golf World, Golf Weekly, Golf Monthly, Fitzdares Times. Check our Jeremy's latest tips at our Golf Betting tips home page
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