2021 Travelers Championship Round 2 Preview: 3 Best Bets, Including Brooks Koepka & Brendan Steele at TPC River Highlands
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
After Round 1 of the Travelers Championship, Satoshi Kodaira and Kramer Hickock share the lead at -7. TPC River Highlands is a course that can produce extremely low scores as well as some extremely high scores.
With such volatile scoring, we can expect the leaderboard to shuffle drastically between now and Sunday. Last year we saw Dustin Johnson open his Travelers Championship with a 69 (-1) and end up winning the tournament fueled by a scorching 61 (-9) on Saturday. Buckle up.
Round 2 Best Bets:
Brooks Koepka (-105) over Dustin Johnson
In Round 1, both Brooks and DJ got off to very slow starts and rebounded nicely late to turn in a decent round. After examining the stats from the round, it seems to me that the wrong golfer is favored in this second-round matchup.
Koepka had a very solid day both off the tee, where he ranks 23rd in the field, and on approach, where he ranks 27th. Johnson on the other hand, struggled mightily in both categories, ranking 127th and 85th respectively.
Brooks looked pretty sharp and surprisingly motivated. If he can get his putter (94th) to cooperate, he should put up a low score on Friday.
Keegan Bradley (-129) over Carlos Ortiz
Keegan Bradley had high expectations coming into the week, and is likely disappointed by his opening round 72 (+2). Despite struggling on Thursday, there is some reason for optimism.
Bradley’s iron play was very good, gaining 1.8 strokes on the field on approach. Putting difficulties always are to be expected with Keegan, but after ranking 145th in the field in Round 1 in Strokes Gained: Putting, it is within reason to believe that he will improve on that in Round 2.
Ortiz was able to put together a decent round of 70 (E) despite struggling with his iron play and losing 0.6 strokes to the field. I expect water to find it’s level on Friday and for Bradley to be even with or surpass Ortiz on the leaderboard.
Outright Winner: Brendan Steele (+18000) (DraftKings)
If you didn’t catch my tweet to live bet Steele at +20000 this morning, I still like this play at +18000. As discussed earlier, a 69 (-1) in Round 1 does not take a golfer out of the tournament at TPC River Highlands. Steele played very well today but just couldn’t get any putts to drop.
With how he played from tee to green, it feels like -1 is the absolute worst he could have shot on Thursday. He gained 2.3 strokes on approach and 1.8 strokes ball striking while losing 1.5 strokes with the flat stick.
As evidenced by his excellent course history including a sixth-place finish last year, Steele feels very comfortable at TPC River Highlands. If he can have a better day on the greens in Round 2 ,he will have a real shot to get into the mix for the weekend.