Travelers Championship 2015: Snedeker stats show route to victory at River Highlands

In-form Brandt Snedeker is Dave's fancy amongst the fancied runners this week
In-form Brandt Snedeker is Dave's fancy amongst the fancied runners this week

Dave Tindall landed a pay out at the US Open last week thanks to Adam Scott's late charge and here our man brings us his analysis and each-way tips for this week's PGA Tour event at TPC River Highlands...


"It also seems that Snedeker does well on courses under 7,000 yards. Pebble Beach is the shortest track on the PGA Tour and the man from Tennessee has won there twice (2013 and 2015)."

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

A look at the top five in the last 10 runnings of the Travelers Championship shows that strong Putting Average stats and Par 4 Performance are the best guides to success. That would make sense on a par 70 (two less par 5s) where the average winning score is 16-under.

It's also worth noting that this is a great tournament for those looking to post a first PGA Tour success. Six of the last nine winners were making the big breakthrough while four of the last five champions hadn't played all four rounds at the previous week's U.S. Open. Put all that into the mix and...


Favourites: Back Brandt Snedeker @ 14.013/1

Picking from the favourites means we won't find a non-winner and may struggle to locate anyone who didn't make the cut at Chambers Bay.

So, let's focus on the other strong stats this week and search for a player who ranks highly in the Putting stats and Par 4 Performance.

The standout candidate is Snedeker, who sits 6th in Strokes Gained Putting, 8th in One-Putt Percentage and T12 in Par 4 Performance.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner is coming off a T8 in the U.S. Open where he threatened a back-nine title challenge whilst prior to that he was T6 at the Byron Nelson and T2 in the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

It also seems that Snedeker does well on courses under 7,000 yards. Pebble Beach is the shortest track on the PGA Tour and the man from Tennessee has won there twice (2013 and 2015).

This week's venue, TPC River Highlands, is the second shortest course on the PGA Tour at just 6,816 yards and in his last two appearances Snedeker has finished T24 (2011) and T11 (2014).

The warning signs about a future win here grow bigger when you look at his round scores - a second-round 63 in 2011 along with an opening 65 and a closing 64 last year.

On a personal note, all the whingeing at Chambers Bay got on my nerves so Snedeker's post-tournament comments were rather refreshing and show how positive his mind-set is at present.

"I had a blast. I understand guys were complaining about the greens, whatever it might be. But I played on quite a few greens that were just as bad, if not worse, than this on the PGA Tour," he said.

"I thought the ball rolled fine, and if you hit good putts they'll go in. You can't beat the venue. The vistas out there were gorgeous. I thought the golf course played great. The guys on the top of the leaderboard are all quality players. I think it's a great venue."

Hopefully that good karma will result in some reward here but if you're not into eastern philosophy there are plenty of good down-to-earth reasons to suggest that this is Snedeker's week!


Mid-range: Back Brendon de Jonge @ 81.080/1

I've been here before with de Jonge and part of me thinks I should just come to terms with the idea that following him is a fruitless exercise destined to end in disappointment.

And yet...

If ever there was an event designed for the stocky Zimbabwean, it's this. It caters for those who can't win and he has the ideal game to triumph.

Big Brendon, who played on the International team at the last Presidents Cup let's not forget, is 24th in Putting Average, 8th in 3-Putt avoidance and 33rd in Par 4 Performance. That puts him in the top 17% on Tour in each category.

De Jonge's latest form doesn't look anything special - T37-MC-T22-MC - but he was 10th with a round to go at the Byron Nelson after a Saturday 63 and also T19 at St Jude after a third-round 66.

He's made five of his last six cuts at TPC River Highlands and two of those were top 10s (2010 and 2012). He was also T8 at halfway two years ago.

Those form figures are certainly on a par with previous winners here. Kevin Streelman, the 2014 champ, had also made five cuts out of six with two top 10s while Ken Duke had made three cuts out of four with a best of T27 before his 2013 triumph when he memorably turned to camera and celebrated like an underdog in a naff made-for-TV golf movie.

Since March, de Jonge has finished in the top 25 in six of his 12 PGA Tour starts so hopefully he can raise his game and challenge.

Finishing T5 in Putting Average at St Jude last time out suggests his putter, while missing the mental battering that many took at Chambers Bay, may also give him an edge.


Long-shot: Back Patrick Rodgers @ 101.0100/1

The other first-time winners in this event have more experience than Rodgers but 2012 champion Marc Leishman triumphed having only played TPC River Highlands once.

That's actually as many times as Rodgers, who played here in 2014 after the Travelers Championship granted him a prized sponsor's exemption.

At the time he was the No.1 ranked amateur golfer in the world and he took advantage of his opportunity by opening with a 66 and eventually finishing T46 after further rounds of 69-71-70.

Thanks to a superb second place at the Wells Fargo Championship, a T40 at Memorial was enough to give Rodgers Special Temporary Status on the PGA Tour and his first and only start since then was a decent T29 at St Jude where he shot 70-69-69-69.

To give his amateur career further context, while at Stanford he tied Tiger Woods' record of 11 college victories there. "Anytime you're chasing records set by arguably the greatest player of all time, it's a really special deal. It's something I take a lot of pride in," he told Golf Digest.

Also, it can surely do no harm that 22-year-old Rodgers has just watched 21-year-old Jordan Spieth win the first two majors of 2015.

The young guns have no fear and Rodgers, who won on the Web.Com Tour just four months ago, might be able to go and make his big statement this week.

Stats-wise, the former Walker Cup star looks a good fit for this course. He's 25th in Par 4 Performance and 22nd in Putting Average on the PGA Tour this year.

Roll the dice and take him at a three-figure price which could be one to look back on with fond memories.


***


Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveTindallGolf


Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £630
Returned: £308.75
P/L: -£321.25

(Includes last week’s U.S. Open)

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