2024 Travelers Championship First-Round Leader Picks: FRL Bets for Thursday

2024 Travelers Championship First-Round Leader Picks: FRL Bets for Thursday article feature image

Via David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele of The United States plays a shot during practice prior to the 2024 U.S. Open on the No.2 Course at Pinehurst Resort on June 11, 2024 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Here's everything you need to know about the 2024 Travelers Championship first-round leader picks — including our expert's three FRL bets for this week's PGA Tour event in Cromwell, Connecticut.

With the U.S. Open in the rear-view mirror, we now look forward to this week's 2024 Travelers Championship. TPC River Highlands hosts once again, which it has done annually since 1984.

TPC River Highlands is a par-70, 6,835-yard track designed in 1982 by Pete Dye and renovated by Bobby Weed in 1989. It is a short course that is easy to score on, with the winning players typically relying on strong iron play to stick close approach shots for simple birdie opportunities.

Last season, each of the top-six finishers here ranked in the top 22 among the field in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, the only statistic or metric in which such a trend occurred.

Find my 2024 Travelers Championship first-round leader picks below.

2024 Travelers Championship First-Round Leader Picks (FRL)

Xander Schauffele +1600 (FanDuel | 0.15 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 1:50 p.m. ET

This play is just a way for me to be financially tied to one of the world's best golfers in some capacity. Xander Schauffele has not finished outside of eighth place in four consecutive tournaments, which includes that tremendous victory at Valhalla last month at the PGA Championship.

There's nothing to dislike about Schauffele: he's one of the best ball-strikers on Tour, his putter has been on fire all season, and he pounds the ball off the tee. He just won at this venue in 2022, and he very well could do so once again this week.

However, I don't like his outright number enough at 8-1 to invest in that market, so I will take my chances on him in the FRL market at 16-1.

Patrick Cantlay +3300 (BetRivers | 0.15 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 1:40 p.m. ET

Patrick Cantlay tees off in the group immediately prior to Schauffele.

While the end of spring left many concerned about the state of Cantlay's game, he silenced any concerns with a brilliant third-place finish at Pinehurst No. 2 last week in what was a truly superb all-around performance. He gained true strokes in every category across the board, but his iron play was particularly impressive, as he ranked third in the field in SG: Approach (with Schauffele second and Tony Finau first).

As mentioned in the introduction, iron play is the key to success at TPC River Highlands. Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising that Cantlay has finished inside the top 15 in each of his past six appearances at this venue.

He could win this tournament, but I trust him more on a Thursday than I do on a Sunday at the moment. Cantlay cashed in the FRL market last week at the U.S. Open when he was tied with Rory McIlroy (who withdrew this week) following Thursday, so why not go after Cantlay once again this week?

Sahith Theegala +3500 (bet365 | 0.15 Units)

Thursday Tee Time: 9:50 a.m. ET

Sahith Theegala is a promising young Tour player with a bright future ahead that I believe will culminate with multiple major championships. However, he is still developing and has yet to win against a field of this magnitude, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the skill set to at least take down the first round.

He has made the weekend in 14 of his 17 tournaments this season, boasting eight top-20 finishes over that stretch. Theegala also finished runner-up here in 2022, so it's not like he can't compete at TPC River Highlands.

I want to take us back the first tournament of the season: The Sentry, which was contested at Kapalua (Plantation Course). I think that tournament is a good comparison to this week for two reasons.

First, there is a similar strength of competition with both events having smaller fields stacked with the best golfers on the PGA Tour.

Second, the Plantation Course at Kapalua is incredibly easy to score on, and most other Signature Events have been played on the toughest golf courses on the PGA Tour.

With that in mind, Theegala was the solo FRL at The Sentry, and I think he could position himself in a similar spot once again this week.

Here's my full betting card for the Travelers Championship, and you can find more of my thoughts on this week's tournament on the Links + Locks Best Bets podcast:

  • Viktor Hovland Outright Winner (+2200 at FanDuel) – 0.3 Units
  • Tony Finau Outright Winner (+3500 at FanDuel) – 0.3 Units
  • Russell Henley Outright Winner (+4500 at FanDuel) – 0.3 Units
  • Corey Conners Outright Winner (+5000 at FanDuel) – 0.3 Units
  • Denny McCarthy Top 10 (+550 at FanDuel) – 0.24 Units
  • J.T. Poston Top 10 (+600 at FanDuel) – 0.23 Units
  • Xander Schauffele FRL (+1600 at FanDuel) – 0.15 Units
  • Patrick Cantlay FRL (+3300 at BetRivers) – 0.15 Units
  • Sahith Theegala FRL (+3500 at bet365) – 0.15 Units

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