The Spring Segment of our Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game comes to a close this week as the PGA Tour makes its first stop of the season in New England. The TPC River Highlands has hosted the event for the last 23 years in its current form, but the event goes all the way back to 1952 under various names and at various courses around the Hartford, Connecticut area. The event is known for its good attendance (second only to Phoenix Open), low-scoring, and tendency to favor long-hitters and risk-takers in recent years.
Expect scores to be much lower than last week’s U.S. Open won by Martin Kaymer in wire-to-wire fashion. In our Fansided group (details to join here), Par-Tee took the win behind Kaymer and Adam Scott while the Harbour Dogs maintained the overall lead for the segment and the season.
Headed to Connecticut for some low scores, here are my picks for the week:
Bubba Watson: With Bubba, a course either fits his game or it doesn’t. Last week at Pinehurst, he struggled, but I don’t think that will really have much affect at all on his performance this week. TPC River Highlands definitely fits Bubba’s game and his track record here is amazing. Not only is this where he earned his first PGA Tour win, but he also has three more top six finishes in the event. He’s putting together a very nice season on tour this year and another strong finish at the Travelers is probably the next step in that.
Marc Leishman: While Matt Kuchar is a good pick (although obvious) as your second option, I’m going to try and conserve starts from the top-ten machine and go instead with the big Aussie Marc Leishman who has made the cut in his last four tournaments and has been in the top 25 in three of those events. Last year, he defended his 2012 Travelers Championship title with a top 30 finish at the event, so the course definitely is one he has a good history at.
Jason Day: Day is one of my personal favorites and will be on this list a lot coming down the stretch if he can put his thumb injury behind him and get back to his top form. Even without much runup, he managed a top five finish at the U.S. Open and will look to continue his return with a good finish this week in Connecticut. He hasn’t played this specific event in the last five years but did finish t27 in 2008 in his only other appearance here.
Fredrik Jacobson: Jacobson has been quietly been stringing together solid starts this season and has a good history at the Travelers including his win in 2011. He also finished t6 in 2012 and in the top 30 last year. He’s a safe pick despite trailing off a little bit since the Crowne Plaza Invitational where he finished tied for third. He has made the cut in 10 of his last 11 events.
Dustin Johnson: DJ fits the long-hitting model of recent winners and is always a threat to win any tournament he enters if his putter gets going. Since missing the cut at Augusta, Johnson has made the cut in six straight events playing every week since THE PLAYERS Championship. He has two top tens in those starts including last week when he finished in a group tied for fourth.
Graham DeLaet: I’ve been on board with DeLaet to be a breakthrough winner at some point this season, but he hasn’t quite pulled it off yet. He crashed hard out of the U.S. Open but had back-to-back top-15 finishes before that. Having him in my fourth spot here is a bit of a gut call, but his third place last season at the Travelers and his pair of runner-up finishes earlier this season show that the potential is definitely there for him to become a first-time winner this week like the last four champions at Travelers.
Brooks Koepka: Koepka is coming off an amazing t4 last week which secured his spot on the PGA Tour and in Majors for the near future. The FSU alumnus also logged a top 20 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic the week before the Open and had a t21 two starts earlier at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Koepka is a trendy but risky pick for this week after his impressive showing, so make sure you pair him with a more established option to avoid leaving you without a C-list player for the weekend. I’m going to roll with the 24-year old, and pair him with…
Charley Hoffman: Hoffman has made nine straight cuts since Valentine’s Day and has five top-25′s in that run. He’s also been in the top ten the last two year’s at TPC River Highlands making him a solid pick to be on the leaderboard again this weekend.