2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview

by Keith Flemming
2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview

If the PGA Tour was being totally honest, Wyndham Clark winning the US Open last week was a letdown. With all the unwanted attention the PGA Tour was receiving post-merger with the LIV Golf Tour (ownership), a Rory McIlroy or Rickie Fowler win would have been better from a PR perspective for them. But as the Rolling Stones famously said "you can't always get what you want". This week we will preview the next elevated event on the 2023 PGA Tour schedule and I break down this week's event below in my 2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview.

US Open Recap

Wyndham Clark was the least interesting name in contention to win on the leaderboard Sunday. This has more to do with the other names with a chance to win than it does with Wyndham Clark.

Rickie Fowler failed at his attempt to lead wire-to-wire when he faltered on Sunday. Rickie will have to wait at least one more major to earn his first major championship win. Scottie Scheffler couldn't make enough putts over the weekend (what else is new) but finished inside the top 10 for his third consecutive major this year. Rory was unsuccessful in ending his nearly decade-long major drought. He failed to get that win despite a great break on the 14th hole. Where he was allowed to take a free drop from his ball being embedded into the grass, at the top of a greenside bunker.

There should be no doubt or discussion that Clark won this major championship on Sunday more than someone else lost it. He shot even par over a grueling final 18 holes of golf. He made three straight pars, all three on 500-plus yard par 4s, to secure his victory.

My picks from this column last week were good, but not great. Eight of my ten plays made the cut and six finished inside the top 20. Let's see if I can do better this week!

You can find me on Twitter @KeithFlemming to keep the conversation going! Be sure to listen to me during my weekly guest appearance Wednesdays at 1pm Eastern on The Inside Drive on ESPN Northwest Radio. Where I will preview that week's PGA Event. 

2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview

The tour moves from Los Angeles Country Club to Connecticut this week for the 2023 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. The top eight players in the OWGR are in the field this week with their elevated event status. Overall 31 of the top 40 players in the official world golf rankings will tee it up at TPC River Highlands. Past winners in this event include Xander Schauffele, Harris English, Chaz Reavie, Russell Knox, Kevin Streelman, and Stewart Cink.

This is the 71st year of the Travelers Championship being part of the PGA Tour schedule, with TPC River Highland being its host since 1984. This event annually ranks second in attendance on the tour only behind TPC Scottsdale. The Travelers always attracts a decent amount of the top players in the game, but even more so this year with its elevated tournament status.

This event has been one of the more exciting events on tour over the last 15 years, with five playoffs occurring in the last 12 Travelers Championships held at TPC River Highlands. Patrick Cantlay burst on the scene in 2011 shooting a then course-record 60, while playing as an amateur from UCLA. A few years later Jim Furyk broke Cantlay's record with a 58. This was the lowest round in the history of the PGA Tour.

This course is a potential playground for the players who make birdies in bunches on tour. The winning score over the last 13 Travelers Championships has ranged from -12 to -20 under par. The winning score has been -15 or better in seven of those events. You should target golfers this week that have the ability to go low and make lots of birdies or better.

Venue (TPC River Highlands)

This Par 70 course has two par 5s, four par 3s, and twelve par 4s. It plays 6800 yards in length. Golfers with strong mid-to-long iron play, good strokes gained numbers off the tee, and make plenty of birdies should find success at this venue. I looked at players who excel from 125 to 175 yards into greens. Nearly 50% of approaches at this event come from that yardage range. Finally, I looked at players who excel at Par 4 scoring on holes 350 to 450 yards in length. This is because eight of the twelve par 4s will play in that yardage range.

Course Comps

  • TPC Deere Run
  • Colonial CC
  • TPC Scottsdale
  • Innisbrook Resort
  • PGA venues on tour in 2023 with a winning score of -14 or better

  Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Off The Tee
  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Proximity 125-175 Yards
  • Par Scoring 350-450 Yards
  • Birdies or Better Gained
  • Strokes Gained Total (<7,200 Yard Courses)
  • Strokes Gained Around The Greens
  • Strokes Gained Putting (Bent/Poa)

Top Ten golfers in key categories below:

Overall course history at TPC River Highlands in the field

  1. Ryan Moore
  2. Brian Harman
  3. Xander Schauffele
  4. Charley Hoffman
  5. Kevin Streelman
  6. Patrick Cantlay
  7. Rory McIlroy
  8. Webb Simpson
  9. Keegan Bradley
  10. Jason Day

Mid-to-short iron players(125-175 yards) for the field

  1. Viktor Hovland
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. Aaron Rai
  4. Jon Rahm
  5. Collin Morikawa
  6. Hideki Matsuyama
  7. Ben Martin
  8. Cameron Young
  9. Ryan Moore
  10. Charley Hoffman

Par 4 scoring from 400-450 yards for the field

  1. Scottie Scheffler
  2. Collin Morikawa
  3. Viktor Hovland
  4. Jason Day
  5. Aaron Rai
  6. Rory McIlroy
  7. Thomas Detry
  8. Jon Rahm
  9. Tommy Fleetwood
  10. Stephan Jaeger

Birdies or better gained

  1. Jon Rahm
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. Patrick Cantlay
  4. Wyndham Clark
  5. Sahith Theegala
  6. Max Homa
  7. Adam Scott
  8. Keegan Bradley
  9. Rory McIlroy
  10. Si Woo Kim

Players who excel in proximity 125-175 yards/Par 4 scoring 400-450 yards/above average history at TPC River Highlands

  1. Jon Rahm
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. Keegan Bradley
  4. Viktor Hovland
  5. Tommy Fleetwood
  6. Cameron Young
  7. Aaron Rai
  8. Tom Kim

My 2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview Lineup

Tommy Fleetwood ($9,300)

For my official DraftKings lineup this week I'm using Tommy Fleetwood as my anchor and passing on the players in the more expensive range of $9,500 or more. Fleetwood has four top 5 finishes and six top 20 finishes in his last eight starts on tour. Tommy is top ten in the field in strokes gained total, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained short game, DK scoring, and strokes gained around the greens.

He's made 19 or more birdies in four of his last eleven starts, 14 or more in seven of them. Fleetwood definitely makes enough birdies to find success at TPC River Highlands. The main reason for Fleetwood's great play as of late, is he's gained strokes on the greens in eight straight events. If Fleetwood has a major weakness in his game, it is putting. So it's not a coincidence that all four of his top 5 finishes this season have occurred during that 8-event stretch.

Choosing Fleetwood as my anchor allows me to add four players in the $7,800 to $9,000 range to my lineup. I believe most lineups this week will include one of the following players Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, or Rory McIlroy. I don't believe there is a huge difference between those three players in the high 10k-11k range to Fleetwood at his price this week. That makes Fleetwood a great value on DraftKings for this event.

Another option in this price range: Scottie Scheffler ($11,300)

Rickie Fowler ($9,100)

I know it was disappointing last week to see Fowler falter for those pulling for him to get his first major championship win. He played amazing golf for the first 54 holes, including a US Open record 62 in the opening round. But on Sunday it wasn't meant to be for Fowler.

The good news is this was Fowler's third straight top 5 finish on the PGA Tour. He's finished inside the top 15 in seven of his last eight starts. His strokes gained numbers are great across the board this season. Rickie did miss the cut at this event in his last two appearances in it, but he has multiple top 15 finishes earlier in his career at this venue. Fowler will win this season on tour. I believe that with every fiber in my body and maybe that elusive win comes this week at The Travelers Championship.

Another option in this price range: Xander Schauffele ($10,400)

Jason Day ($8,400)

If you are reading this column and wondering why I am including a golfer for my lineup whose best finish is 66th in the last month. I understand why you're questioning my judgment. Jason Day has looked really bad since his win at the Byron Nelson. We know he has been battling a bone bruise in his wrist and he changed to new irons just two days before the US Open started.

I love Jason Day this week despite everything in the paragraph above seeming like I shouldn't. He has three consecutive bad starts but all of those events were on the difficult side, with two of them being majors, and the other being The Memorial. Day has thrived in easier events this season on tour. He is gaining almost 1.5 strokes on the field per round on easy courses in 2023. He finished T5 at one of the comp courses, TPC Scottsdale, and won at the Byron Nelson(another Donald Ross design).

I believe Day will be low-owned this week on DraftKings due to his recent struggles but I expect a bounce back this week. His price tag on DK is too enticing for me to pass up.

Sahith Theegala ($8,300)

Last year Theegala, in his second career start at the Travelers Championship, finished runner-up. In this price range, it doesn't get much safer than Sahith, who has made the cut in 19 of 20 starts this season on tour. What I like the most about Theegala on this course where there should be plenty of birdies and low numbers is Theegala has made 15 or more birdies in 13 of 14 starts in 2023. In the only event where he didn't reach 15 birdies this year, he made 14. I think Theegala is one of the safer plays this week and has a legit chance to win the event.

Russell Henley ($7,800)

In hindsight, I regret not including Russell Henley in my ten plays for the US Open last week. He finished 14th at LACC with two 68s over the weekend. Henley has quietly strung together five top-20 finishes in his last six starts on tour. He's had previous success at this venue with three top-20 finishes in his five career starts at the Travelers Championship. Henley is one of the best players on tour from those short-to-mid iron yardages I spoke of earlier and I expect his good recent results to continue this week.

Another option in this price range: Byeong Hun An ($7,500)

Mark Hubbard ($6,900)

I love the value of Hubbard in his price range for DraftKings this week. He has a good history at the Travelers Championship with three cuts made in his only three appearances at this event. He has three career top 10 finishes on tour for his entire career, but two of them have come in his last three events.

Hubbard is playing arguably the best golf of his career. He's finished inside the top 30 in six of his last seven starts. His only non-top 30 finish of the three events was at the PGA Championship (a difficult venue). In that span, he's made 100 birdies over those seven events. Players need to make birdies this week to find success at TPC River Highlands and that shouldn't be a problem for Mark Hubbard.

Another option in this price range: Ryan Moore ($6,200)

Now that you have read the 2023 PGA DFS: Travelers Championship DraftKings Preview, be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays.

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