2022 Travelers Championship Sleeper Picks: 6 Longshots to Target, Including Joel Dahmen
Via Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Dahmen.
What a week for the PGA TOUR.
Matt Fitzpatrick collected his first professional win in the United States as the victor of an absolutely epic U.S. Open, followed quickly by continuing ripples of the schism in professional golf between the status quo and the insurgent Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
Almost proving the point of the need for changes to the golf landscape, the PGA Tour’s calendar flips from the excitement of a major championship to the less spectacular Traveler’s Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
For casual golf fans, there are plenty of reasons to ignore this week’s proceedings and instead obsess over the off-course drama. But for bettors, especially those hungry for an underdog win, this week presents an opportunity.
TPC River Highlands is among the shortest courses on the annual TOUR schedule, topping out under 7,000 total yards. That presents a unique test for pros, opening the door for a wider variety of players to compete on Sunday. These six players jump out as being undervalued in the markets this week:
Joel Dahmen +10000 (DraftKings)
America’s favorite bucket hat model is playing great golf of late, with a real chance to continue his run of strong play in Connecticut this week. He comes off a top 10 at the U.S. Open, which seems disappointing given his share of the 36-hole lead, but for a player with little traction previously in majors, there’s no reason not to look on Dahmen’s play this week optimistically.
He has only missed one of his last 12 cuts and notably performed well at the PGA Tour’s last stop at a shorter course – a T12 finish at the RBC Heritage.
His history at TPC River Highlands is merely fine, but not spectacular, though he is looking to build off his best finish at the event last season (T20).
Kevin Kisner +10000 (BetMGM)
There’s no shorter-hitting player who seems to relish the chance to compete on shorter courses than Kisner. The vocal 38-year-old is well aware that his chances to win on Tour only come on certain courses. This venue provides one of those opportunities.
Kisner’s odds are low because he’s struggled of late, missing the cut in his last five individual events dating back to the Masters. Yet his ball-striking and scrambling skills can’t be ignored on a course like TPC River Highlands, and he’s shown the ability to play well here previously. He finished T5 last season and T15 in 2019.
Matthew NeSmith +16000 (FanDuel)
In NeSmith’s last nine events, he has eight made cuts and two top-five finishes. Coming off a U.S. Open performance where he faded late but showed flashes, he’s an intriguing play this week at a price this high.
NeSmith’s game is mostly in good form, as he’s gained strokes on the field off the tee, on the greens, and via approach in each of his last three tournaments. With some better work around the greens, he’s prepared for a high finish.
Kevin Streelman +20000 (DraftKings)
Horse, meet course.
Kevin Streelman has missed a few cuts at TPC River Highlands over the years, but more often than not, he shows up ready to compete at this venue. He won the event back in 2014 and has four other top-10 finishes in his career here.
This course is the perfect place for Streelman to kick back into gear after he posted four top-25 finishes in a five-start swing earlier this season.
Kramer Hickok +28000 (FanDuel)
We haven’t seen the best golf out of Kramer Hickok of late – he doesn’t have a top 10 in 2022 – but it’s hard to ignore how well he played at this venue last season.
He finished in solo second, losing a marathon playoff to (at the time, one of the hottest golfers on the planet) Harris English.
His play over those four rounds last year is a small sample size, yet it is just enough for me to think Hickok has value at this offering. I’ll take 280-1 on a guy who was millimeters away from a win here last year.
Hayden Buckley +40000 (DraftKings)
In his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, Buckley has missed a ton of cuts, though he has shown some flashes of brilliance. Buckley was in the top 10 in back to back weeks at Sanderson Farms and Shriners last fall, with a T12 at Sony in Hawaii and a T13 in Punta Cana.
Aside from those bright spots, he’s undoubtedly struggled, though he saw a glimmer of hope last week in Brookline. Buckley snuck around the first page of the leaderboard for long stretches, finishing T14.
If he can keep that rolling into this week, he’s well worth a lottery ticket at this price.