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4 choose our favorite expert

Tommy Fleetwood enters the week at an average odds of 35-1.

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The wave of golf momentum continues this week in Cromwell, Conn., with another signature event, the Traveler Championship at TPC River Highlands.

Coming off a thrilling finish at the US Open and a historic result at the Memorial before that, the best players in the game reunited this week (well, Rory McIlroy withdrew) in an event that often went over 72 holes. Five of the last 13 Travelers Championship series have been decided in the tournament. If you want to bet on that happening again, the odds are about 4-1.

TPC River Highlands is a short, Pete Dye design. It is a par 70 that plays under 6,900 yards. The crowds are a big part of the draw here and that’s part of the reason the PGA Tour has made this the top event for the second consecutive season. Scoring will be easier than what we saw in the last two weeks. The average winning score over the past five seasons is better than 18-under par.

For that reason, I looked at Birdies or Better this week, along with Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and Par 4 Scoring. I also looked at Strokes Gained: Total Die designs and short golf courses.

The courses that match the layout and style for me this week are Sedgefield (Wyndham Championship), East Lake (Tour Championship), TPC Sawgrass, TPC Deere Run, and TPC Southwind.

We have a small field this week in the form of the Signature Event and McIlroy’s withdrawal, leaving a combined 71 players. With that, I’ve got four picks this week that I like for straight wins and top 20 finishes.

Tommy Fleetwood (35-1)

Fleetwood was able to finish in our top-20 last week at Pinehurst, largely because of his excellent finishing round on Sunday, shooting one of the lowest rounds of the day with a 68. I like to play with the players the next week they finish. as frantically as Fleetwood did. As I did last week, I also feel that TPC River Highlands makes a lot of sense for someone who is very accurate and can rack up birdies like a great putter. Over the past 24 rounds, Fleetwood ranks 12th in the industry, in average, on par-4s ranging from 300-450 yards. Although there was a lot of attention on the Englishman last week that he might win for the first time in the United States, maybe it will happen this week as the highlight of the event.

Corey Conners (39-1)

Another player who had a great week last week. Conners was remarkably consistent at Pinehurst, shooting rounds of 69-70-71-70, good for a top-10 finish, for the second time in three weeks. He is money in the numbers this week, notably ranking third in SG: Approach and fourth in Birdies or Better over the last 24 rounds, and eighth in Hole Proximity from 150-175 yards. It’s always been about the Conners putter but he feels like the hottest player right now and the timing could be right – with a nice price to boot.

Sepp Straka (40-1)

This is the other guy who made my card this week that sounded like a very attractive option last week. But when no one else is looking, I like to sneak her in here. His readiness for this type of course or why he played so well last week has not changed. Simply the idea and the amount of attention has. He has finished in the top 8 in his last five starts. He is 15th in the field this week in SG: Off the Tee, 11th in SG: Approach, ninth in par-4s measuring 300-350 yards, third in 400-450 yard par-4s, and sixth in -Hole Proximity from 150-175 meters. He also won at one of our sister courses, TPC Deere Run, and was second at TPC Southwind.

Tom Kim (50-1)

Kim fell a little short last week in the final round, shooting a 76 on Sunday but before that record round of 71-68-71. This tells me that the form is still very strong for a guy who hasn’t missed a cut in two months. Kim can put together birdies, ranking eighth in the field in Birdies or Better in the last 24 rounds. He is also very accurate and sits 10th in average in the field on par-4s averaging anywhere from 300-450 yards. Kim is also ranked third in the Hole Proximity category from 125-150 yards – and one of his three wins on Tour came at Sedgefield CC in the Wyndham Championship.

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