2023 Travelers Championship First Round Leader Bets: Picks for Jason Day, C.T. Pan, Matt Kuchar, More

2023 Travelers Championship First Round Leader Bets: Picks for Jason Day, C.T. Pan, Matt Kuchar, More article feature image

Pictured: Jason Day. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads to one of my favorite spots on Tour this week. TPC River Highlands is a 6,841-yard par-70 that is one of Pete Dye's masterpieces. It's one of the shortest courses on Tour, has easy to hit fairways and rates as about average in terms of difficulty. The risk/reward holes and course quirks can be tricky, but it's also possible to go extremely low here, as evidenced by Jim Furyk's 58 in 2016.

In the past five editions of the Travelers Championship, there have been 16 first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the 16, six started their rounds in the morning wave, while 10 started in the afternoon. As of now, the winds don't look to favor any starting time (4-8 mph all day with gust up to 19 mph) and the temperature looks to be in the low- to mid-60s for most of Thursday. There could be some light rain throughout the day, but I think you can be comfortable taking first-round leaders from any tee time.

The must-have app for golf bettors

The best golf betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

2023 Travelers Championship First-Round Leader Picks

Jason Day +6500 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:00 p.m. 

It's been a bit of a disaster for Jason Day since his win at TPC Craig Ranch. The former No. 1 player in the world has missed three consecutive cuts and hasn't looked like the player who was consistently playing well earlier this year. Despite the struggles, I think playing at TPC River Highlands is exactly what Day needs to get back on track.

Throughout Day's career — even when he's been in poor form — he's always put forth a strong effort in Cromwell, Connecticut. He finished 12th at the Travelers in 2018, 8th in 2019 and 10th in 2021. In 2021, he shot a 62 on Friday, showing he can go low at one of his favorite tracks.

It may appear that he's in a major slump, but I think Day will perform well this week.

C.T. Pan +10000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 12:10 p.m. 

C.T. Pan is one of my favorite plays in all formats this week, but he may be best suited to cash a first-round leader ticket. The 32-year-old is back after a long layoff and seems to be playing as well as ever. In his past two starts, Pan finished fourth at the AT&T Byron Nelson and third at the RBC Canadian Open, gaining 8.7 and 9.2 strokes tee-to-green.

While I believe there's an outside shot Pan can win this event, the chances of him being the first-round leader are undeniably higher. Pan is a good putter and has been especially hot with the flat stick since his return from injury. I think he's capable of going low Thursday.

Matt Kuchar +11000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 12:50* p.m.

Matt Kuchar hasn't played TPC River Highlands often, but that isn't due to a lack of success. In his four trips to the course, he's never finished worse than 31st. He's also finished 8th (2012) and 17th (2016). The last time Kuchar played this course, he shot a 65 in his final round. Kuchar is short off the tee, but very accurate and can get dialed in with his short irons and putter. In other words, his skill set matches up well with this course.

Kuchar has had a good season and it may feel as though he's starting to fall out of form, but I believe it's just a case of a veteran struggling at courses that favor the long ball. I still believe he's playing well enough to capture the first-round lead this week.

Justin Suh +10000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:51 a.m. 

Justin Suh has been playing some great golf lately, despite not being a very long hitter off the tee. TPC River Highlands is a course that should suit the former college star as it's one of the shortest courses he'll see all year. Suh had some success at TPC Sawgrass this year, another course Dye designed.

I love backing good putters for first-round leader bets, and I believe the 26-year-old is one of the best putters on Tour.

Brendon Todd +12500 (Caesars)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:05 a.m. 

Brendon Todd is another morning starter we can deploy in case there ends up being a severe wave bias. He's a great putter who has some previous success at TPC River Highlands. The 37-year-old found himself deep in contention in 2020, which, at the time, was the strongest field the tournament had ever seen. Todd faltered down the stretch after having to stare down the eventual champion (Dustin Johnson) in the final round, but not before he was able to put an unconscious 9-under 61 on the board on moving day.

If he finds the rhythm with the putter that he's lost over the past month, look out.

Chez Reavie +12500 (Caesars)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:15 a.m. 

There are plenty of players with a great course record at TPC River Highlands, but there are few who have had the success Chez Reavie has had on this track. The veteran ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Total at the course and boasts a victory back in 2019.

Reavie finished 8th here last year and gained 4.0 strokes putting. He's typically a very poor putter, but has managed to gain strokes putting in nine consecutive events. In his most recent start (Oakdale), he was able to get it going with his approach and gained 4.9 strokes on the field.

The familiarity of TPC River Highlands could be exactly what Reavie needs to match up a strong ball striking week with his newfound confidence with the putter.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.