Travelers Championship picks 2023: Don't quit on Patrick Cantlay yet
Beaten down by the whirlwind that is this PGA Tour season yet? Too bad, we roll on to the Travelers Championship, yet another designated event. If the guys actually playing in the event can get up for it after a crazy week at LACC, you can, too.
And where else would you rather begin your TPC River Highlands research than right here? Once again, Brandon Gdula hit a winner last week, correctly selecting Wyndham Clark as his outright pick. Just an insane cash, and an insane run Gdula continues to be on. Definitely read and listen to what he says. Hopefully, the rest of us can start to chip in as well.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 Travelers Championship.
Travelers Championship picks 2023: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Tommy Fleetwood (35-1, DraftKings) — Tommy has been playing some insanely good golf, and it’s about time for it to pay off with a victory. The Sunday 63 was incredible—and his ball-striking stats for the week were insanely good. He can let his all-around game shine at TPC River Highlands—if he can putt just slightly above average for him, he will be live.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Tommy Fleetwood (35-1, DraftKings) — Do the stats align as much as you’d like? Nah. But he’s been so close for weeks now, that it’s time to just keep riding the form and pray he can figure out how to close.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Collin Morikawa (22-1, FanDuel) — Morikawa hasn’t lost strokes via approach play since July 2022 in ShotLink events, and the putter is not as bad as it has been. At a setup that benefits accurate drivers, he’s setting up well, and this is a good number for him this week.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Patrick Cantlay (12-1, DraftKings) — After a slow start for Cantlay in Los Angeles, he was able to improve his position on the leaderboard and finish T-14 for the week, marking his 10th top 25 in his last 11 starts. Now he heads back to TPC River Highlands where he’s dominated, earning five straight top-15 finishes. He’s gained 1.84 strokes per round at this course since 2018, the most of anyone who has played all 20 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Viktor Hovland (18-1, DraftKings) — Just a week ago, people were drooling all over Vik after his Memorial win. Now there were 20-1s on him at the Travelers? It looks like bettors are back on him here, driving his price down, but I won’t back off it. His off-the-tee game should be a separator at TPC River Highlands.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sahith Theegala (70-1, FanDuel) — Sahith is my new Cameron Young in that I am going to chase that breakthrough victory until it happens (spoiler alert: it hasn’t happened for Cam yet). Coming off a week where he gained 4.5 strokes tee-to-green and 3.9 on approach, this feels like it could be the time. Helps, too, that he was a lip-out away from getting into a playoff with Xander Schauffele at TPC River Highlands last year.
Andy Lack, RickRunGood.com and Inside Golf podcast: Patrick Cantlay (12-1, DraftKings) — While I was incredibly disappointed in another ho-hum 14th-place finish out of Patrick Cantlay in a major, we can’t hold grudges in this game, and I love the spot for him this week at TPC River Highlands. We’ve seen this movie before, as last year, Cantlay backed up a similarly satisfactory U.S. Open performance with a contending effort at the Travelers. Of the elite players in this field, the eight-time PGA Tour winner remains the most trustworthy putter, particularly on Bentgrass greens. I would expect some fairly easy scoring conditions this week in Cromwell, and while Scheffler, Rahm, and Rory’s advantage seems to grow on tougher tests, this is the type of event I want Cantlay on my side.
Past results: As we head into summer, the panel remains as hot as ever, with 11 outright victories on the year as a group. Brandon Gdula leads the way with SIX of his own, his latest coming at the U.S. Open where Gdula touted Wyndham Clark at 85-1 (!!). Our newest expert picker, Andy Lack, checks in next with two winners on the year. The rest of us have some catching up to do.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "The Loop," (below) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "The Loop" wherever you get your podcasts!
Travelers Championship picks 2023: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Min-Woo Lee (80-1, BetRivers) — Just like Tommy, Min-Woo has a complete game. I love his off-the-tee numbers from the U.S. Open, which is a great way to separate yourself here at TPC River Highlands. Look for another great week from the Aussie, who’s as hungry as anybody.
Mayo: Sahith Theegala (65-1, DraftKings) — The high-end finishes have evaporated, but the consistent results still remain. And now he gets to return to the scene of the crime. Theegala walked onto the 18th with a one-stroke lead a year ago and proceeded to blade a wedge into the bunker and lose to Xander Schauffele by two. Time for redemption. He rallied at the U.S. Open after a poor opening round to churn out a top-30 finish, based mostly on his irons. And when you look at the courses where he’s done the best in his career so far, it’s basically the same as Bubba: Augusta, Riviera, Copperhead and TPC Scottsdale.
Gdula: Sungjae Im (45-1, FanDuel) — Im has missed three of his past four cuts after a win on the KPGA, but this is a good setup for him. He’s accurate off the tee and has a good short game. The irons are more down than up lately – but that’s also the reason the odds are so good.
Gehman: Austin Eckroat (80-1, DraftKings) — Eckroat is turning the corner right now and proving to be one of the better ball-strikers in this field. Over his last 24 rounds, he’s gained 1.20 strokes per round ball-striking – the 15th-best rate in the field. That puts him smack dab between Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama in that category. It’s turned into three top-16 finishes including a T-10 at last week’s U.S. Open.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (150-1, FanDuel) — I’m pot-committed on Homeless Hubbs here. I also like the fact he’s fresh, not having grinded at the U.S. Open, and he’s coming off a nice T-6 in Canada. The biggest thing I like is that he has gained 31.06 strokes on approach in his past six starts, per RickRunGood.com.
Powers, Golf Digest: Harris English (70-1, FanDuel) — I’m aware of the strength of this field, but this is an INSANE price for a guy who just top-10’d at the U.S. Open and won the Travelers two years ago, the same year he made the damn Ryder Cup team! He appears to be rounding back into that same form of late, with five top-12 finishes in his last 11 starts.
Lack: Shane Lowry (66-1, BetRivers) — A name that I doubt will be mentioned often this week is Shane Lowry, who quietly continues to play some excellent golf. The former Open Champion is coming off a 20th at the U.S. Open where he gained in both ball-striking categories, and Lowry has now gained off the tee in seven straight starts, and on approach in nine straight starts. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that Lowry’s putter is beginning to come alive as well, a weapon he will need this week at TPC River Highlands.
Travelers Championship picks 2023: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Wyndham Clark (45-1, DraftKings) — An easy one after a major, but it’s warranted.
Mayo: Wyndham Clark (45-1, DraftKings) — Come on. If anyone is going to mail it in, it’s the first-time major winner.
Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (33-1, FanDuel) — Fleetwood’s odds are super short on FanDuel Sportsbook after his red-hot finish to the US Open. It’s not that he’s not a good fit – it’s this particular number that is not ideal.
Gehman: Max Homa (45-1, DraftKings) — Homa is far removed from his form at the start of 2023. Missing the cut at the U.S. Open is his third missed cut in his last six starts. Now he’s looking for a get-right spot but I’m not convinced he’ll find it at TPC River Highlands. He’s played this event four times and has yet to make the cut. He’s lost strokes putting in every trip which is concerning considering that’s the only part of his game that has buoyed him recently.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Wyndham Clark (45-1, DraftKings) — Joining the chorus of easy fades here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Wyndham Clark (45-1, DraftKings) — Clark making it to the first tee on Thursday would be more impressive than his U.S. Open win. Kidding, sort of.
Lack: Jon Rahm (9-1, BetRivers) — It’s never easy fading a player who I still believe is the second-best golfer on the planet right now, but I’m certainly not in love with Jon Rahm’s fit at TPC River Highlands. Relative to the field, the two-time major winner is a far stronger long-iron player than he is a short-iron player, and all of his best off-the-tee performances tend to occur on longer golf courses as well. With zero top-20 finishes in three finishes at the Pete Dye track, the reigning Masters champion is the elite that I certainly have the least confidence in entering this week.
Travelers Championship picks 2023: Matchups
Caddie: Matt Kuchar (-110) over Taylor Moore (DraftKings) — This is a course tailormade for Matt Kuchar, and though he hasn’t played in a while, he’s finished T-17 (2016), T-31 (2014) and T-8 (2012) in his past three starts.
Mayo: Justin Suh (-120) over Eric Cole (DraftKings) — In a putting contest, it’s not hard to back the best putter in the field in Suh.
Gdula: Rickie Fowler (-118) over Max Homa (FOX Bet) — Fowler needs to bounce back after a heartbreak at the US Open, but historically speaking, good finishes at the Travelers are common after great showings at West Coast US Opens. Fowler’s the value play in this matchup.
Gehman: Matt Fitzpatrick (-110) over Justin Thomas (Bet365) — Thomas looks lost right now and called his missed cut at the U.S. Open “the lowest I’ve felt.” He hasn’t had a ton of success at TPC River Highlands, failing to crack the top 30 in any of his last four trips. In this matchup he’ll battle Fitzpatrick, who has a well-rounded game and has been a staple on the first page of the leaderboard.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Keegan Bradley (+100) over Denny McCarthy (DraftKings) — There’s a huge course-history disparity between these two: Keegan has gained a combined 15.96 strokes in the past five years of the Travelers, per FantasyNational.com, whereas Denny has lost 5.38 strokes in the last five years here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Adam Scott (+105) over Jason Day (DraftKings) — Went against J-Day last week and it worked out nicely, because he’s clearly faded fast since the Byron Nelson victory. Running it back this week with Scotty at plus money.
Lack: Corey Conners (-130) over Patrick Rodgers (DraftKings) — I normally don’t love laying this much juice on a matchup, but I was fairly surprised to see these two players matched up against each other. There is a fairly objectively difference in baseline between Conners and Rodgers, and particularly on a shorter golf course with such a large plurality of approach shots between 125 and 175 yards, Conners’ advantage is even more accentuated. I could be sold on favoring Rodgers on a longer golf course with a low greens in regulation percentage, where the former Stanford’s standout power off the tee and strong around-the-green play will come more to forefront, but at TPC River Highlands, Conners is the easy selection.
Matchup Results from the U.S. Open: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Henley (-130) over Woodland); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (-110) over Hovland); Powers: 1 for 1 (Fowler (-120) over Day); Lack: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (-110) over Hovland); Gehman: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Gehman: 20-11-2 (up 7.46 units); Hennessey: 20-12-1 (up 6.71 units); Caddie: 17-13-3 (up 3.11 units); Powers: 17-14-2 (up 2.76 units); Lack: 12-10-1 (up 0.73 units); Gdula: 14-18-1 (down 6.08 units); Mayo: 12-18-0 (down 6.4 units)
Travelers Championship picks 2023: Top 10s
Caddie: Austin Eckroat (+650, DraftKings) — We often see a surprise U.S. Open top finisher or two near the top of the Travelers leaderboard, so just like Nick Hardy last year, I think Eckroat could continue this great run of form.
Mayo: Aaron Rai (+850, DraftKings) — The Brit has gained over seven strokes on approach in two of his past three starts, but on shorter tracks in Canada and in Fort Worth, similar to TPC River Highlands. And he’s been doing it by dominating the short par 4s. Over the past 24 rounds, Rai’s tied for best in the field on holes of that length with Scottie Scheffler. Good news, since there are eight of them on the course.
Gdula: Si Woo Kim (+410, FanDuel) — Kim has top-level driving accuracy and is 16th in strokes-gained/ball-striking over the past 50 rounds, via datagolf. He’s got the right game right now to top 10 at TPC River Highlands.
Gehman: Brian Harman (+500, DraftKings) — Harman flashed brilliance at times last week in Los Angeles, ultimately finishing T-43. However, I assume it was just a tune-up for his actual major championship this week at TPC River Highlands. Few golfers have the record that Harman does at this course, earning four top-eight finishes in the last five years.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Cameron Young (+450, DraftKings) — I think the hate on Cameron Young is getting out of control. I have bet him at 50-1, and I think the top-10 bet is nice … he will figure it out, and this is the perfect place for him to do it.
Powers, Golf Digest: Ludvig Aberg (+800, DraftKings) — Aberg’s PGA Tour was sneaky strong in Canada, the young Swede tying for 25th. He gets to build on that this week and he just had the week off unlike the rest of the field. Should be fresh and ready to roll.
Lack: Tony Finau (+300, DraftKings) — I love the value that I’m getting on Tony Finau this week, even after watching him quietly recuse himself from contention at another major championship over the weekend. I have always loved the six-time PGA Tour winner at Northeastern Bentgrass courses, and Finau’s irons were on full display last week at Los Angeles Country Club. I think this is a wonderful buy-low spot on an elite talent who should find his way onto the first page of the leaderboard by week’s end.
Top-10 results from the U.S. Open: Gehman: 1 for 1 (Wyndham Clark +550); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Cameron Smith +260); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 9 for 33 (up 10.1 units); Hennessey: 7 for 33 (up 9.95 units); Gdula: 9 for 33 (up 9.2 units); Lack: 7 for 23 (up 4.4 units); Mayo: 7 for 30 (up 1.7 units); Caddie: 8 for 33 (up 0.6 units); Powers: 4 for 33 (down 6.9 units)
Travelers Championship picks 2023: One and Done
Gehman: Tony Finau — Finau showed signs of a positive trend at the U.S. Open, gaining 5.45 strokes to the field on approach – ranking him 10th for the week. He’s still not as sharp with the driver as I would like, but he won’t need all the firepower this week around TPC River Highlands. After struggling to solve this course for a few years, he finished T-13 in 2022 thanks to a solid ball-striking week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise. RSM Classic: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Cameron Young. Sony Open: Hideki Matsuyama. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Jason Day. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Scottie Scheffler. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Sungjae Im. API: Rory McIlroy. Players: Jon Rahm. Valspar: Justin Rose. WGC-Match Play: Cameron Young. Valero: Rickie Fowler. Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Collin Morikawa. Zurich: Kurt Kitayama. Mexico Open: Ben Martin. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: K.H. Lee. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Min Woo Lee. Memorial: Patrick Cantlay. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka.
Hennessey: Tom Kim — He’s coming off a great week at LACC, and I missed out on the 50-1s, but I’ll stick with him in OAD formats.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Patrick Cantlay. Sony Open: Matt Kuchar. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Will Zalatoris. AT&T Pebble Beach: Seamus Power. WMPO: Collin Morikawa. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Keith Mitchell. Players: Rory McIlroy. Valspar: Adam Hadwin. WGC-Match Play: Tyrrell Hatton. Valero: Nick Taylor. Masters: Scottie Scheffler. RBC Heritage: Jordan Spieth. Zurich: Sahith Theegala. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Xander Schauffele. Byron Nelson: Tyrrell Hatton. PGA Championship: Jon Rahm. Charles Schwab Challenge: Justin Rose. Memorial: Corey Conners. RBC Canadian Open: Tommy Fleetwood. U.S. Open: Max Homa.
Powers: Tom Kim — Was pleasantly surprised to see I hadn’t used TK yet. This should be a nice course fit for him, and he’s coming off a phenomenal backdoor top 10 at LACC.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka. RSM Classic: Davis Riley. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Gary Woodland. American Express: Cameron Young. Farmers: Taylor Montgomery. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Sungjae Im. Genesis: Collin Morikawa. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Will Zalatoris. Players: Patrick Cantlay. Valspar: Justin Suh. WGC-Match Play: Tom Kim. Valero: Matt Kuchar. Masters: Tony Finau. RBC Heritage: Rickie Fowler. Zurich: Robby Shelton. Mexico Open: Luke List. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: Tom Hoge. PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. Memorial: Shane Lowry. RBC Canadian Open: Justin Rose. U.S. Open: Dustin Johnson.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports