The U.S. Open at Merion was a great one with a difficult course, wicker baskets, and Phil’s heartbreak joining the enduring images along with first-time Major champion Justin Rose. This week, scores should be radically lower as the Tour heads to Cromwell, Connecticut, and the TPC River Highlands for the Travelers Championship.
Last week in our FantasyCPR group, Judge Smails tore it up on his way to a 216 point week with Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, and Steve Stricker all turning in top ten’s and hauling in the points. Smails is second as we head into the last week of the Spring Segment trailing only Foot-Wedge. On the season, Foot-Wedge holds the lead by 10 over Eagle’s Nest.
TPC River Highlands offers players and fantasy owners a different challenge this week although it is a par-70 like Merion. The first 15 holes of the course are definitely attackable with the last three being extremely tough forming what’s called The Golden Triangle. During the closing holes, players can easily drop the strokes they’ve gained, and Sunday’s finish is usually a drama-filled finish. Here’s the players I think will emerge with a strong finish from Cromwell.
Bubba Watson- Watson broke through at the Travelers but in 2010 and has placed in the top 15 three other times. He was co-runner up last year and thrives on the challenge of this course. He has made seven of his last eight cuts but has only managed three top 20’s. This is a ourse that he enjoys, though, and I think he’ll continue his solid play in Cromwell.
Nicolas Colsaerts- Colsaerts hasn’t played here before but has dispelled the myth of the bombing Belgian and has shown himself to have a versatile all-around game. Last week he finished t10 for his third top-ten in the US this season. In the events he hasn’t finished in the top 10, he’s struggled with six missed cuts along the way. He’s a high-risk option since he tends to be all or nothing, but with Watson a relatively safe pick, I feel comfortable enough to go Belgian or go home.
Hunter Mahan- Mahan always plays well at TPC River Highlands and as a result is the all-time leading money-winner at this event. He’s won, finished runner up twice, and added a t4 as well. He was right there last week but couldn’t close the event with a win on Sunday. He usually heats up as the season goes on, so if you’ve saved Hunter starts now is the time to deploy them.
Webb Simpson- Simpson has made the cut in all five trips here but hasn’t been able to crash the top 10 yet. He finished t32 last week at Merion and has eight top 20 finishes on tour this season.
Marc Leishman- Leishman has cooled off a bit from his mid-April to mid-May run. He missed the cut at Merion and finished in the 40’s at Colonial and the Memorial. He won this event last year and still is having a good season since he hast four top 15’s from the Masters through the Nelson. Obviously as defending champ he knows the course and can execute on it as he looks to regain that earlier-in-the-season form and get back to the winner’s circle here.
Bo Van Pelt- BVP is a good option whenever the course requires a bunch of birdies and this event is no exception. He’s finished in the top 25 six times in the past. He comes in off matching t21’s at the Memorial and the US Open. He’s also made seven cuts in a row.
John Rollins- Rollins has back-to-back top 5’s at the Travelers and is coming of a pair of top ten’s coming into this event. He was 6th two weeks ago at TPC Southwind and t4 the Crowne Plaza Invitational. He has top 25’s in four of his last five starts.
Rickie Fowler- Fowler comes off a solid t10 last week highlighted by an electric 67 in the third round. He hasn’t won this year but has finished in the top four times. He looks primed for a great 2nd half, so he’ll be a regular in my lineups if he continues to play well.