2023 Travelers Championship Odds, Picks: Course Fits Include Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Henley & Tom Kim
Via Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan plays his shot from the 17th tee during the second round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
The third major championship of 2023 did not disappoint as Wyndham Clark capped off an excellent Sunday with a U.S. Open victory. The season rolls along to Cromwell, Connecticut, where TPC River Highlands hosts the 2023 Travelers Championship. This is yet another designated event with a $20 million dollar purse.
TPC River Highlands is a 6,841-yard par-70 that has been a PGA Tour stop for 39 years. Home of the only 58 in Tour history, it is possible to go extremely low at this Pete Dye design. However, TPC River Highlands does feature a difficult closing stretch with holes 16-18 all historically averaging scores over par.
The Travelers Championship will play host to 156 golfers this week. Due to the designated status of the tournament, almost all of the best players on Tour will be teeing it up. The only notable exceptions this week are Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Sam Burns.
Past Winners at The Travelers Championship
- 2022: Xander Schauffele (-19)
- 2021: Harris English (-13)
- 2020: Dustin Johnson (-19)
- 2019: Chez Reavie (-17)
- 2018: Bubba Watson (-17)
- 2017: Jordan Spieth (-12)
- 2016: Russell Knox (-14)
5 Key Stats For TPC River Highlands
Let's take a look at five key metrics for TPC River Highlands to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Approach sits at the top spot in the stat model this week. The course is relatively short, and golfers with multiple types of skill sets compete here. Iron play is often the great equalizer allowing the shorter hitters to compete, and that should be the case again this week.
SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+39.0)
- Mark Hubbard (+31.0)
- Collin Morikawa (+30.2)
- Jon Rahm (+28.1)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+25.7)
2. Strokes Gained: Par-4
With only two par-5s on the course, the importance of par-4 scoring cannot be understated. Whoever plays the par-4s most effectively this week will put himself in the driver's seat.
Strokes Gained: Par-4 Over Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+38.9)
- Xander Schauffele (+36.4)
- Adam Scott (+34.8)
- Jon Rahm (+33.4)
- Viktor Hovland (+32.8)
3. Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Ball striking combines off the tee and approach and will be the stat I use to incorporate off-the-tee play this week. The over-emphasis on approach play will incorporate golfers who give themselves plenty of birdie looks in the event.
SG: Ball Striking past 24 rounds:
- Scottie Scheffler (+67.7)
- Rory McIlroy (+41.1)
- Patrick Cantlay (+38.7)
- Corey Conners (+37.4)
- Collin Morikawa (+36.8)
4. Course History
Course history has proven to be a major factor at TPC River Highlands. With seven golfers who have multiple wins at the course, familiarity could be the key at the Travelers Championship.
Strokes Gained: Total at TPC River Highlands per round over Past 36 Rounds:
- Brian Harman (+38.4)
- Patrick Cantlay (+33.9)
- Xander Schauffele (+33.7)
- Ryan Moore (+33.6)
- Kevin Streelman (+33.3)
5. Strokes Gained: Total Pete Dye Designs
TPC River Highlands is another prototypical Pete Dye track where many of the same golfers play well consistently.
SG: Pete Dye Over Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+42.8)
- Sungjae Im (+42.4)
- Xander Schauffele (+41.0)
- Corey Conners (+39.5)
- Patrick Cantlay (+38.5)
The Travelers Championship Model Rankings
Below, I've compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (27.5%), SG: Par-4 (18%), SG: Ball Striking (22%), Course History (16.5%) and SG: Pete Dye (16.5%).
- Scottie Scheffler
- Xander Schauffele
- Russell Henley
- Jon Rahm
- Patrick Cantlay
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Rory McIlroy
- Tony Finau
- Viktor Hovland
- Hideki Matsuyama
2023 Travelers Championship Picks
Russell Henley +4000 (FanDuel)
Russell Henley has played some great golf at TPC River Highlands throughout his career. He finished 11th in 2018 and sixth in 2016 to go along with a 19th-place finish in 2021. Henley ranks 12th in the field in Strokes Gained: Total at TPC River Highlands and 12th in Strokes Gained: Total at Pete Dye Designs in his past 24 rounds.
Perhaps more importantly, Henley's approach play has caught absolute fire over the past few starts. The 34-year-old gained 6.4 strokes at the Memorial and 7.2 strokes at the U.S. Open, finishing 16th and 14th in those events, respectively.
Although it's been considerably strong in the past few starts, Henley's play has been trending in the right direction for a while. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks sixth in the star-studded field in Strokes Gained: Approach and 17th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. He has also been fantastic on par-4s (ninth in the field), which will be a major factor at TPC River Highlands.
Henley isn't the longest off the tee, but this is a track where he should be able to keep up with the best players in the world from tee to green.
Sungjae Im +5000 (BetMGM)
Sungjae Im has been struggling of late, but I believe at this number it’s worth taking a second look at the South Korean.
Im has made two starts at TPC River Highlands, finishing 21st and 58th respectively. While the 21st is solid, I do believe this is a situation where course fit is more important than course history. Im hits fairways at a high clip, and his lack of driving distance won't be an issue here. He also ranks 2nd in the field in his past 24 rounds in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye designs.
Im missed the cut at last week's U.S. Open, but he wasn't too poor statistically. The course didn't suit his skill set, and the silver lining is that he got to avoid grinding all weekend like many of the top players in the field.
In his two PGA Tour wins, Im hasn’t had incredible lead-in form. When he won the Honda Classic, he had finished MC-29 in his two previous starts. When he won at Shriners, he had finished 20th-31st in his previous two starts and lost strokes on approach in three of those four instances.
The golf betting world has taken notice of Tom Kim this week, and for good reason. However, Im has an almost identical skill set and has performed well on similar courses as his compatriot and is flying under the radar.
Tom Kim +5000 (BetMGM)
After a flying start to his career, Tom Kim has struggled for much of 2023. Things started to turn around last week, and it seems like the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club may have been a turning point in Kim's 2023 season.
Kim gained 7.5 strokes on approach last week, which ranked fourth in the field. The performance was the best Strokes Gained: Approach performance of his career, and he'll now head to a course that should be a much better fit. TPC River Highlands is one of the shortest courses on Tour, so Kim's lack of driving distance won't be too much of a hindrance.
Kim has repeatedly won on courses that he's never played before as a professional, so being a debutant here isn't a concern. The South Korean has shown that when he gets into contention, he has what it takes to close out victories.
Hideki Matsuyama +6500 (FanDuel)
Hideki Matsuyama's health will always be a question in 2023, but I consider this to be a "bet the number" play. Although he really struggled on Sunday, that shouldn't overshadow what he did all week at Los Angeles Country Club.
For the week, Matsuyama gained 8.6 strokes on approach, which led the field. He struggled mightily with the putter, which is no surprise. He lost six strokes putting which isn't completely abnormal, but it's not something I expect him to repeat two weeks in a row.
The 2021 Masters winner has put together consistent ball striking numbers, which are a cause for optimism as he's gained an average of 7.1 strokes from tee to green and 4.2 strokes on approach over his past five starts.
This will be Matsuyama's first trip to TPC River Highlands, but the course should fit him pretty well. He ranks 20th in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye designs and finished fifth at THE PLAYERS earlier this season.
This number is far too big for a player of Matsuyama's caliber.
Ludvig Aberg +12500 (BetRivers)
At this point in his career, it's difficult to predict exactly what courses may suit the world's former top amateur. However, I believe we should be betting the Swede at triple-digit odds anytime he tees it up while we still have the chance. I am extremely high on Aberg's ceiling and believe he has all the tools to be among the world's best in a few years.
Aberg flashed some of that elite skill in his first professional start, where he gained 6.2 strokes off the tee. The 23-year-old led the field in the category, topping players such as Rory McIlroy and Cameron Young in the process. His ability to hit it long and straight makes him a threat on any course, and while it's not the norm, we've seen long hitters such as Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson win at TPC River Highlands in the past.
This is a talent play on one of the game's best young prospects.
C.T. Pan +15000 (BetMGM)
I grabbed this on FanDuel at +35000 earlier, but I'd still recommend a bet on C.T. Pan at 150-1 or better. The 32-year-old missed some time this season after having wrist surgery but has come back with a vengeance in his past few starts. Pan finished fourth at the AT&T Byron Nelson and third at the RBC Canadian Open, gaining 8.7 and 9.2 strokes from tee to green in the process.
If Pan is back to playing some of his best golf, TPC River Highlands should suit him perfectly. He hasn't been great on the track over the past few years, but he did finish eighth at the course back in 2017. He's also won on a similar Pete Dye setup at Harbour Town in 2019 and finished runner up on a short plotter's track at Sedgefield in 2018.
Pan's game is trending in the right direction and worth taking a flier on at long odds.
Justin Suh +20000 (BetRivers)
Justin Suh is starting to show what made him such a highly touted prospect when he was a collegiate player at the University of Southern California. He finished 27th in the U.S. Open last week on a very long course that shouldn't have necessarily fit his game. The former top amateur in the world is short off the tee but is an outstanding putter and should take advantage of a shorter track in TPC River Highlands.
Suh also has some encouraging form on Pete Dye tracks and finished sixth at this year's PLAYERS Championship. The 26-year-old has plenty of time to live up to the lofty expectations he had coming out of college. A win at a designed event would be a great start towards realizing Suh's potential.