Picks, Equipment Round-Up: Travelers Championship

June 24, 2015

The Travelers Championship is a nice respite for those who battled through the broccoli-infested dust pit that was Chambers Bay — and it’s drawn a fairly solid field. Since 1994, every winner of the event has finished 10-under par or lower, with several reaching the 20-under mark at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.

TPC River Highlands is not a demanding course tee-to-green, but many of the greens are small and wavy. Of the last five winners at TPC River Highlands (Kevin Streelman, Ken Duke, Marc Leishman, Freddie Jacobson and Bubba Watson), three have finished the week ranked among the top 10 in strokes gained/putting and four have ranked top five in total putts.

En route to victory last year, Streelman one-putted his final 10 holes and made seven consecutive birdies to close the round, shoot 64 and win by one.

With putting stats in mind, here are our picks for the Travelers Championship, along with odds from GolfOdds.com and a look at each player’s putter:

Brandt Snedeker 15/1

Sneds made a late run at Chambers Bay and finished eighth after a final-round 68. His putting stats speak for themselves: sixth in strokes gained, eighth in one-putt percentage (43.4 percent) and sixth in putts per round (28.1). He finished T11 at the Travelers last year after a final-round 64 and has top-10 finishes in each of his last three starts this season, dating to a T2 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Snedeker is putting with an Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie.

Cameron Smith 60/1

Most golf fans had no idea who Cameron Smith was until he showed up at Chambers Bay and finished T4, earning special temporary membership on the PGA Tour and an invite to the Masters in 2016. Well, the 21-year-old Aussie finished T5 at the CIMB Classic in November and T15 at the RBC Heritage in April — and he’s made $814,567 on tour this season. Smith is second in strokes gained/putting, third in one-putt percentage (44.09 percent) and 12th in birdie average (4.1 per round). He finished ahead of all but three guys at Chambers, which could provide just the kind of confidence boost needed for that first PGA Tour victory.

Smith is putting with a Scotty Cameron GoLo 5.

Morgan Hoffman 80/1

Hoffman is fresh off a final-round 66 at Chambers Bay which helped him to a T27 finish. He’s 29th on tour in strokes gained/putting, ninth in total putting, third in putting average (1.7) and 11th in three-putt avoidance (1.85 percent). He’s had chances to win in the past, most notably at Bay Hill earlier this year where he stumbled to a fourth-place finish after back-to-back 71s on the weekend. TPC River Highlands has a history of young winners, and Hoffman could be the latest.

Hoffman is putting with a Scotty Cameron Futura X.

Louis Oosthuizen 25/1

Oosthuizen is another guy coming off a hot finish at Chambers Bay. He finished T2 after rebounding from an opening 77 with rounds of 66-66-67; he also made six birdies in his last seven holes Sunday. Oosthuizen’s season-long putting numbers aren’t spectacular, but he finished T2 at Chambers in putts per hole, averaging 1.68. He also has four other top 10s this season at Doral, Bay Hill, Harbour Town and Harding Park. If his putter is anywhere near as hot as it was during that closing stretch at Chambers, he’ll be a factor late Sunday.

Oosthuizen is putting with a Ping Scottsdale ZB S.

Check back Monday to see how our picks fared and which club(s) played the biggest role in determining victory.

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