The PGA Tour moves across the country from the banks of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest to the banks of the Connecticut River south of Hartford for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. Kevin Streelman is back to defend his crown, and there are also six other former champs looking to etch their name on the trophy again. Stewart Cink is the only two-time winner (1997, 2008) in the field, and Sergio Garcia is champing at the bit trying to make up for last season’s runner-up finish. It should be an exciting event, and all of the golfers will be excited to be back on lush and pristine greens after the bumpy and brown putting surfaces at Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open.
We’ll select a roster of seven golfers with a salary of $50,000, or $8,333 per golfer at DraftKings.com (salaries in parentheses). I like to go with a high-low strategy, going with several bargain basement selections and a few top studs. Here are your winning selections:
Francesco Molinari ($8,700): Molinari is another player who is short from the tee box, averaging just 278.0 yards per drive, ranking 171st on the PGA Tour. Consider U.S. Open runner-up Dustin Johnson ranks first in drives at 318.8 yards per game, and it seems like a huge disparity. However, when Molinari does drive the ball, he is extremely accurate, ranking first in driving accuracy percentage by hitting an amazing 406 of 512 fairways (79.3 percent). He is also fourth in greens in regulation, and 25th in scoring average. His work with the irons is tremendous, and keeps him in the hunt. His putting can be a little suspect, but at a mid-level DFS salary he is well worth the risk at a course which plays to his strengths.
Cameron Smith ($6,500): While others might have complained vehemently about the putting surface and crazy course setup at Chambers Bay, Smith was quietly mowing them down. He finished fourth at the U.S. Open, his best PGA Tour finish. He has made the cut in four of his past five events, finishing in the Top 50 in each of those events. He is a nice salary saver to help you load up on studs in your first three or four spots without losing much at the bottom.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,900): Snedeker heads to Connecticut with three consecutive Top 10 finishes, including an eighth-place showing when the light bulbs were brightest at the U.S. Open. For what he lacks off the tee he makes up for on the putting surface. He ranks 10th in scoring average, and is solid in sand save percentage, too. His accuracy, efficiency and intelligence will serve him well at TPC River Highlands.
Kevin Streelman ($9,600): Like Snedeker, Streelman won’t wow anyone off the tee. In fact, he ranks a pedestrian 101st on the PGA Tour in driving distance. However, he makes up for his lack of strength by keeping it safe, hitting 655 of his 963 fairways (68.02 percent) to rank 25th in driving accuracy. He is also 17th in greens in regulation percentage and 11th in ball striking. His game was good enough to find the trophy last season at the Travelers, and slow and steady could win the race again in 2015.
Brendon Todd ($7,300): There are over 100 bunkers at TPC River Highlands, so Todd could be a very valuable player for DFS players. Todd ranks second on the PGA Tour in sand save percentage (64.76), and he also checks in ninth in driving accuracy. That’s a fantastic combination at this course where brains will top brawn. Look for Todd, who has finished 30th or better in seven of the past 12 stroke-play events, to be right there come Sunday.
David Toms ($6,800): Toms hasn’t had a great stretch lately, failing to qualify for the U.S. Open. We have seen him just once in the past month, and while he made the cut in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he managed a subpar 62nd-place finish. He has made the cut just four times in the past nine events, but his driving accuracy and sand save percentage will help him make the cut and post one of his best finishes of the season.