2013 Travelers Championship Preview, Picks + Predictions Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week

Fresh off the annual grind-fest that is the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour stays on the East Coast and treks to Cromwell, CT for the Travelers Championship.  For the week after a major, the tourney boasts a pretty stout field as U.S. Open champ Justin Rose, as well as Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood, Webb Simpson and other notables will be teeing it up this week. 

The host venue for the week is TPC at River Highlands, which at a par 70 of 6,841 yards is semi-comparable in length to last week’s Open, but will be a welcomed birdie plethora as compared to Merion’s gnarly teeth.  It’s no surprise that winning scores typically get to the high teens and even to the 20-under par mark, with last year’s winner Marc Leishman winning with a 14-under score (one of the highest winning totals in recent years) over Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson by one stroke.  With warm weather forecasted throughout the week, expect birdies to be a flyin’ all week long in Cromwell.

Now, let’s jump into some picks for the week:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Donald t-8th, Stanley 73rd, Rose 1st, Sergio t-45th, Henrik t-21st)

Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan
– This Sean Foley disciple is the all-time leading money winner at the Travelers Championship with a win, two runner-ups and a t-4th among his eight of 11 career cuts made at the event.  Hunter striped his way to a t-4th finish at last week’s U.S. Open where he had a chance to win until late on the back nine on Sunday.  I see another top 5 from Hunter coming this week.

Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner
– The #Dufnering star went on a wild run on Sunday at Merion, only to have it derailed with an OB tee shot ultimately leading to a triple bogey on the 15th hole.  Duf still fired a tourney tying best 67 and finished t-4th, his best finish so far this season.  Duf just hits too many greens (28th in GIR) to not be contending more often this season, I see him continuing his momentum in CT this week.

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: Dufner t-4th, F Jacobson MC)

John Rollins
John Rollins
– Seems like every time I pick Rollins I’m one week off, but this week I’m confident we’ll hit him in his stride.  Finished t-2nd here in ’11 and t-4th last year.  Has a whopping 10 top 25s this year, including recent solid play in a t-4th at Colonial and 6th at the FedEx St Jude Classic.

Bo Van Pelt
Bo Van Pelt
– Struggled a bit over the weekend at Merion, but still fought to a t-21st finish, the same finish he had two weeks before at Memorial.  Six top 25s at TPC River Highlands in his career, I could see Van Pelt and his goofy shirt collars giving the Travelers trophy a run this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUSTS: (Last week: Bubba t-32nd, Keegan MC)

Justin Rose
Justin Rose
– Career defining win last week at the U.S. Open equals letdown city this week.  A letdown for Justin probably means about a t-28th, but for Fantasy reasons it’s not worth burning a start on him this week.  Total media whirlwind doing Letterman, The Today Show, The Dan Patrick Show and others before arriving to Cromwell this week.  Definitely a week to just stay in dream world and continue the celebration for Rosey.

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
– Spot on nailed his MC at Merion last week and expecting another struggle for Keegs this week.  Until he shows that he cares about anything other than fitness, hitting it 3 miles off the tee and his Boston Bruins, I’m not expecting anything inside the top 25 from him.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Last week: Chappell t-32nd)

Glen Day
Glen Day
– Going extra bold here this week.  The notoriously slow playing 47-year-old finished t-10th in his last start at the FedEx St Jude Classic and appears to be finding a stride in his twilight years on Tour before his Champions Tour career begins.  And wouldn’t it be fitting to see him and his excessive slow pace in contention during Pace of Play month?  Glen Day is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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