Justin Rose was able to take advantage of the rest of the fields struggles to capture his first major championship at last week’s U.S. Open. Rose was the only player who finished inside the Top 20 who didn’t shoot over par in the final round. While you have to be happy for Rose and what he was able to accomplish at Merion, you have to feel for Phil Mickelson, as he finished runner-up for a record sixth time at the US Open (extended his own record).
Rose won’t waste any time looking to build off his first major title, as he will tee it up this week at the 2013 Travelers Championship. The tournament is held at the par 70 TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. Rose isn’t the only big name deciding to get right back at it after a grueling four days at the second major of the season. Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson, and Keegan Bradley are among some of the notable entries in the field.
Those that will be in action this week will enjoy a much easier time on the course, as TPC River Highlands is one of the easier stops on the schedule. It’s one of the shortest tracks left on the schedule at just 6,841 yards. Defending champion Marc Leishman won here last season with a 14-under 266. It was the sixth time in the last 11 years that the winning score was 14-under. That’s not to say the winner won’t have to shoot even lower. Fredrick Jacobson won here in 2011 with a 20-under 260 and Kenny Perry set the course record with a 22-under 258 in 2009.
Looking for some expert advice on who to take this weekend? Here’s a look at the twogolfers I feel have an excellent shot at holding up the trophy.
Hunter Mahan (+1300)
Mahan is the all-time money leader at this event, despite having never won. He’s recorded four Top 5 finishes at TPC River Highlands, including two runner-ups. He’s fresh off a 4th place finish at the US Open, his best finish since he won in Houston last season. Given his strong play last week and the success he has had at this course, he’s clearly worth a look at this price.
Bubba Watson (+1800)
It’s been a difficult stretch of golf for Watson, but I really like his chances of breaking his slump with a victory at the Travelers Championship. Watson won here back in 2010, where he held off Scott Verplank and Corey Pavin in a three-way playoff. That victory was one of four Top 20 finishes (3 inside Top 10) at this event in six career starts, which includes a runner-up showing at last year’s event. His 67.41 scoring average at TPC River Highlands is the fourth best among players in the field.