Travelers Championship: Get on board 50/1 Chappell

Kevin Chappell is ready to secure his first PGA Tour win
Kevin Chappell is ready to secure his first PGA Tour win

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and tips for this week's PGA Tour event - the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands...


"Getting 50/1 in a weak field for a guy who is a three-time runner-up on the PGA Tour this season looks good."

Main Bet: Back Kevin Chappell @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places


Main Bet: Back Kevin Chappell e/w @ 50/1

In an event which has been kind to first-time winners, I'm going for Kevin Chappell to shed his maiden tag this week.

Ken Duke (2013), Marc Leishman (2012), Fredrik Jacobson (2011), Bubba Watson (2010), Hunter Mahan (2007) and JJ Henry (2006) all made TPC River Highlands the scene of their first PGA Tour win and Chappell has the profile to do the same.

This is one of the Pete Dye-designed tracks used on the PGA Tour and Chappell has already excelled on two of them this season.

First, he was T9 at Harbour Town in The Heritage - an event, just like this one, played the week after a major.

Second, and most notably, he was runner-up to World No.1 Jason Day in The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

That was one of three second places he's delivered/suffered in this wraparound season (also November's RSM Classic and March's Arnold Palmer Invitational so the 30-year-old's knocks at the door are loud and repeated.

He's been somewhat inconsistent since his near-miss at Sawgrass but a third place in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone a month ago was a reminder of his obvious class and, after finishing T53 at Royal Troon, it's probably no bad thing that he missed the cut at the US PGA.

Last year's winner Bubba had crashed out at halfway in the US Open when winning here in 2015 (the tournament has moved in the schedule since then). Streelman and Duke had also arrived at TPC River Highlands on the back of a weekend off so the last three winners of the Travelers Championship had missed the cut on their previous start.

Chappell is 11th this year in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and 25th in Strokes Gained: Total. True, his putting has stopped him getting over the line and it can be argued that you need to putt well here but winning scores haven't been crazy-low (Duke won with -12) and Chappell's second places were achieved with totals of -16, -16 and -11 so it's in his wheelhouse.

And, as for recent putting stats, he was 18th in SGP at Firestone and 14th for Putting Average (the only recorded measure at Royal Troon) so his flatstick has been hotter in recent events. He even had a positive SGP mark when missing the cut at Baltusrol.

The other obvious negative is that he's played this event twice and missed the cut twice.

However, on debut in 2011 there was hardly much wrong with scores of 67-70. And the last time he pegged it up here in 2014, Chappell opened with a 66 before crashing out with a 75.

On those stats, he can score well at TPC River Highlands so it's worth giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Getting 50/1 in a weak field for a guy who is a three-time runner-up on the PGA Tour this season looks good.


Next Best: Back Zach Johnson e/w @ 25/1

It's not often that Zach Johnson goes through a season without notching at least a single win and there must be a good chance he can grab his first of 2016 this week.

Since he won The Masters in 2007 (part of a two-win season), the only year he failed to put a win on the board was 2011.

Very few can boast that sort of record and yet he still goes off at decent prices despite being one of the PGA Tour's regular victors (he has 12 to his name now).

Right now, he's played enough good golf in recent times to suggest another win is coming and TPC River Highlands looks an obvious venue.

Starting with his current form, ZJ has been T17 or better in four of his last five starts, a run ended with a respectable enough T33 at Baltusrol last week (71-66-71-69). Prior to that he'd been T12 in defence of his Open Championship crown at Royal Troon, T10 at Firestone, T8 in the US Open and T17 at Colonial.

As for course form, he took T6 here last year after opening with a 65 and adding a 64 on Saturday while he's had four other top 25s including third place in 2004.

Last year, he said of the course: "I feel comfortable around here. Throughout the years I've had some decent finishes. But it's one of those I feel like I should step up here and shoot really low. I feel like I can do some work here if my wedges are on and certainly if I'm putting decent."

Reviewing his performance at Royal Troon, Johnson said: "All in all I thought my short game was great again. My pitching was terrific. I putted great."

It looks as if the double major winner is doing all the things that he needs to, to perform well this week.

Oh, as for his Pete Dye form elsewhere..... how about runner-up at Sawgrass (2012), runner-up at Harbour Town (2012) and 3rd at Whistling Straits (2010 US PGA).

As for the three market leaders, Bubba Watson is poor at defending titles so I'm shying away from him and historically players have underperformed here if in contention at a major the week before which puts a cross next to Branden Grace and Brooks Koepka.

All could feature and the 14s on Bubba could be a fair price but I'm happy to give that trio a swerve.


Best Top 5/10: Back Bryce Molder for top 10 at 12/1

I'm going to find a place for Bryce Molder in this week's staking plan due to his excellent record on Pete Dye tracks.

He's also made the top 10 - the requirement for success with this bet - three times in his last nine starts which are clearly good numbers if we're backing him at double figures to do it again.

Two of his three recent top 10s came on Dye layouts. He was T6 in The Heritage the week after The Masters and, two starts later, Molder posted T8 in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

He added T10 at Colonial after opening with a 64 and, going through his results from earlier in the season, the 37-year-old was T6 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and T4 in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

That's five top 10s from 22 starts in 2016 so it's a target he hits fairly regularly.

The downside is that he's missed his last three cuts. However, he's often sandwiched top 10s between weekends off this season so it's probably just a case of catching him on the right course.

TPC River Highlands has been a decent one for him. He's made six of his last seven cuts there and was second going into the final round in 2011 before ending T6. Molder also made the top 20 in 2009 and opened with a 66 last year before fading.

This week's course has Bentgrass greens and, when interviewed at Colonial recently, Molder revealed: "These greens, I absolutely love. I wait all year to get on Bentgrass greens."

He's always been handy with the flatstick and, on the current stats, Molder sits a very healthy 16th in Strokes Gained Putting while he's also 2nd in Scrambling.

As with Chappell, his missed cut in the PGA Baltusrol (74-71) can easily be viewed as saving himself two extra rounds of mental majors gruel so hopefully he can bounce back here and get back in the top 10 groove.

Other longshots I considered for a top 10 or a big-priced each-way punt were Patton Kizzire and Boo Weekley.

Kizzire shot a pair of sub-70 rounds on the weekend at Baltusrol and putts well. He also played some good golf at TPC Louisiana (T8) and Harbour Town (T14) earlier this year although stringing four good rounds together since then has been a problem.

Weekley has finished T11 (Barbasol) and T12 (St Jude) on his last two starts and has a bunch of good form on Pete Dye courses including back-to-back wins at Harbour Town. But, despite going close, he's not had a top 10 since February so preference is for Molder.


Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £880
Returned: £703.25
P/L: -£176.75

(After US PGA)

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