It was said time and time again this past week: The Travelers Championship is a tournament that demands a lot of birdies. And after a test like the U.S. Open, the birdie-friendly TPC River Highlands is a course welcomed by pros and fans alike. But none welcomed the birdies quite like, or as much as, Kevin Streelman, who shot a record-setting 7-straight birdies to close his round on Sunday and win by one stroke.
Streelman would have been the ultimate dark horse pick. He was coming off 4-straight missed cuts, and save for a 3rd place finish in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and its limited field, he has only one other top 20 finish on the season, a T14 at the Wells Fargo Championship. This is Streelman’s second career win on the PGA Tour, his first coming last year in Tampa Bay. Streelman, who is enjoying having a newborn and his first child at home, paid no attention to all the hype directed toward Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, and so on, and instead kept his head down, made 10 one-putts including 8 birdies in his final 10 holes, and soared to a victory over seasoned pros in K.J. Choi and Sergio Garcia.
As for our predictions… well you can see for yourself below, but suffice it to say the invitations to the birdie fest were lost on our favorites. When the highest finish among our picks is a T18, there is not much to report. The majority of our players ended in a traffic jam at -6, and though we made our picks on the conservative side, it seemed as though the big names projected to be in contention could never even get into the conversation on the weekend. Sure, it wasn’t the most unexpected tournament of the century. Aside from Bubba, the safest bet based on recent course performances was Ryan Moore, who held the 54-hole lead before slipping to a T5 finish. Brandt Snedeker followed up a strong Open performance with a T11, and Marc Leishman, who won the tournament a couple years ago got back to double-digits under par. Still, betting in golf is a fickle thing, and while it may cause lots of frustration and headache, it is this unpredictable nature that makes us love the sport and keep coming back to it. Check out our results below, as we focus on trying to give some more reliable predictions at the Quicken Loans National.
Favorites to Win
Jon: Dustin Johnson (-6, T31)
Tom: Jason Day (-9, T18)
Dave: Hunter Mahan (68-72, Cut)
Unexpected Player to Miss the Cut
Jon: Jason Day (-9, T18)
Tom: Ken Duke (-4, T46)
Dave: Sergio Garcia (-14, T2)
Dark Horse of the Week
Jon: Patrick Reed (70-71, Cut)
Tom: Chesson Hadley (70-72, Cut)
Dave: Brian Davis (-5, T42)
All: Bubba Watson (-6, T31)
Jon: Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley (Total Earnings: $129,184)
Tom: Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Hunter Mahan, Jonas Blixt (Total Earnings: $110,416)
Dave: Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan (Total Earnings: $96,888)