2021 Travelers Championship Sleeper Picks: Our Best Longshot Bets at TPC River Highlands
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Rickie Fowler
After a riveting U.S. Open, the PGA TOUR shifts its focus to TPC River Highlands for the 2021 Travelers Championship. And you gotta admit, it’s a pretty fun change of pace to go from the rugged scoring conditions at Torrey Pines to the short, score-able confines we will see this week.
Will this type of set-up lead to a longshot winner? Check out our favorite sleeper bets for the Travelers below:
Adam Long (+22500)
All of the top players in this week’s field are, of course, making the cross-country trip from the U.S. Open. There’s no doubt that at least some of ‘em will be in the mix this weekend, but there’s also a notion that a lot of these guys will simply be wiped out after a grueling week, which leads to a handful of intriguing sleepers who didn’t compete at Torrey Pines.
Among those on my personal list: Talor Gooch, Richy Werenski, David Lipsky, Nick Taylor, Harry Higgs, Satoshi Kodaira and Vincent Whaley, but if I’m going to take a shot on one guy, let’s make it a, uh, Long shot.
Long is a streaky player who can go low when he’s feeling it — and he just might be this week, fresh off a pair of top-30s in his last two starts.
Austin Eckroat (+31000)
Eckroat is a recent PGA TOUR U grad who finished seventh and 13th in his first two Korn Ferry starts. He was also 12th at Mayakoba in one of his two starts on the PGA Tour this season. Eckroat is probably more of a top-20 play now, but I’d expect him to be on the TOUR next season. He’s got more than enough game to get through the Korn Ferry Finals in a few months and move forward.
Rickie Fowler (+6500)
Let’s get this out of the way: Rickie Fowler is a fan favorite who is often over valued in the betting market. However, I don’t believe that is the case this week.
Fowler has shown flashes of returning to form of late with finishes of eighth (PGA Championship) and 11th (Memorial) in two prestigious events. In those two starts, he has gained an average of 4.4 strokes from tee to green. More importantly, Fowler has seemed to regain his exceptional putting stroke, which historically has been the predominant strength of his game.
With most golfers, I would look at gaining a significant amount of strokes on the green as a potential reason to avoid betting them, but not Fowler. This is a golfer who wins a golf tournament with his hot putter, and it’s back.
This is a reasonable number on a golfer who can absolutely contend at TPC River Highlands.
Kyle Stanley (+14000)
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, as it is guaranteed to lead to elevated blood pressure as the tournament progresses this weekend. From a tee-to-green perspective, Kyle Stanley is a tremendous fit for TPC River Highlands. He ranks third in Strokes Gained: Approach and fifth in fairways gained over the last 12 rounds. His issues around the greens are obvious, but that’s why we’re getting such a good number on him.
Stanley is another one of those guys that can win IF he just holds pace with the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. It’s a tall order, but worth the risk given the recent hot stretch of ball-striking. If you’re adventurous enough to join me, I recommend pairing him with a top-5 each way in case he finds himself in contention and flames out down the stretch.