2023 Travelers Championship Dark Horse Picks: Si Woo Kim, Sahith Theegala & Denny McCarthy

2023 Travelers Championship Dark Horse Picks: Si Woo Kim, Sahith Theegala & Denny McCarthy article feature image

Via Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Si Woo Kim of South Korea waits to putt on the 12th green during the first round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

There were a lot of mixed reviews on the U.S. Open last week, both from a course and a setup perspective. Ultimately, there was a great leaderboard on Sunday, and Wyndham Clark outlasted the likes of Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Rickie Fowler. I was not on Clark myself, but huge congrats to anyone who bet him outright.

We now turn our attention to the 2023 Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. This has always been one of my favorite non-major venues, and this year we get to see it as a designated event. This is the strongest field to ever tee it up at TPC River Highlands, which is a Pete Dye design that measures only 6,852 yards.

Like most Dye designs, there is less of an emphasis on the driver at TPC River Highlands. There are only two par-5s on the course, and there are quite a few less-than-driver holes as the landing areas off the tee are about 37 yards wide on average. The combination of clubbing down and wide fairways leads to a very high driving accuracy percentage here each year.

The greens on this course are small (5,000 square feet on average) and feature Bentgrass. They are tiered, which places a big emphasis on iron play. A large percentage of approach shots will come from 125 to 175 yards, so I don’t mind taking a look at proximity numbers from those specific ranges. These greens are typically easy to hit on average, which makes around the green play a little less important than most weeks.

This is a course where any type of player can contend, and I'm emphasizing good form and experience on Dye courses for this week. Now, let’s get to the bets. While I do like the idea of starting a betting card with Scottie Scheffler or Patrick Cantlay, I have three longshots for you to consider this week.

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Travelers Championship Dark Horse Picks

Si Woo Kim +5000 (BetMGM)

Si Woo Kim is having his most consistent season on the PGA Tour. He’s been a top-25 machine and has already racked up a win and two more top-five finishes this year. A T39 at last week’s U.S. Open may not seem like much, but that was his best finish at that event in seven years.

He can gain strokes in all facets of his game and already has two career wins on Pete Dye courses. This is a solid number for a golfer who’s in good form and is a nice fit for the course.

Sahith Theegala +6000 (FanDuel)

Theegala has come close to securing his first win a number of times, and this event last year was one of them. He was tied heading into the final hole but drove it left into the fairway bunker. He got unlucky that it was right by the lip and tried to do a little more than he probably needed to. He ended up losing to Xander Schauffele, but this should still be a place where he has good vibes.

Theegala has one of the best short games on Tour, and the fact that he has to club down a lot here is likely a positive since his biggest weakness is driving accuracy. A win is coming soon, and I hope to be there when it happens.

Denny McCarthy +8000 (FanDuel)

I’m a little surprised by Denny McCarthy's number this week. I know he doesn’t have the best track record here, and I know this is a designated event, but McCarthy has been playing some great golf this year. He’s 10th in this field in Strokes Gained: Total over the last 24 rounds and is coming off of excellent performances at the U.S. Open and the Memorial Tournament.

McCarthy hits a lot of fairways, his irons have improved, and he’s arguably the best putter on Tour. If he gets hot with the flagstick again, watch out.

Let’s have a week!

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