The PGA Tour heads north this week to the Travelers Championship, where a recent trend of low scores will likely continue.
The birdies have fallen in bunches through the first two weeks of the Tour's return from hiatus, and TPC River Highlands has a long history of red figures. Another stacked field will tee it up in the Nutmeg State, including eight of the top nine players in the world. That group includes Rory McIlroy, who was stuck in neutral last week at Harbour Town, Brooks Koepka, whose brother, Chase, Monday qualified into the 156-man field, and Webb Simpson, the Tour's most recent winner after setting scoring records at the RBC Heritage.
Chez Reavie is back in Cromwell to defend the title he captured a year ago, as the Tour once again conducts a tournament without fans present. Here are some players to consider when building your lineup for what will likely turn into another low-scoring affair:
Justin Thomas ($10,800 on DraftKings): JT has demonstrated an ability to turn less than stellar stuff into top-10 finishes. He did it earlier this year in Phoenix and he did it again last week in South Carolina, where he finished T-8 thanks to a closing 63. Thomas not only has two wins already this season, but his other results have been remarkably consistent: 10 top-10 finishes in 13 starts dating back to his victory at the BMW Championship in August. He's making his seventh start at TPC River Highlands, the highlight of which came in 2016 when he closed with a 62 to tie for third. He's in the discussion for best player in any field, let alone one where he brings with him ample course history and some recent momentum.
Paul Casey ($8,900): If Casey hasn't bought a house yet bordering a fairway or green at TPC River Highlands, he's missing a golden opportunity. The Englishman plays some of his best golf here, with four top-5 finishes in five prior trips. That includes a pair of hard-luck runner-ups (more on those in a minute), and Casey's outlier was still a respectable T-17 finish. He's compiled a stunning 67.10 scoring average on the par-70 track, and he circles this particular week on the calendar each and every year. While he hasn't played since the WGC-Mexico Championship almost four months ago, his scintillating course history is too much to pass up.
Bubba Watson ($8,800): A three-time champ with some solid recent form? Sign me up. Like Casey, Watson has feasted on TPC River Highlands, winning in 2010 before edging the Englishman to win again in both 2015 and 2018. Throw in his runner-up finish in 2012 and a T-4 finish in 2013 and Watson has been a fixture on the Cromwell leaderboards for most of the past decade. He's known for capitalizing on a handful of his favorite tracks, and this one certainly fits the bill. With player data beginning to roll in after a three-month break, Watson's T-7 finish two weeks ago at Colonial is proof enough that he has what it takes to make another deep run at one of his strongest events.
Corey Conners ($7,500): The Canadian may not be a household name right now, but his game is worth recognizing. Conners broke through last year, winning the Valero Texas Open as a Monday qualifier en route to making the 30-man Tour Championship field. He's shown little let-up this year, especially with his improved ball-striking: Conners is 14th this season in SG: off-the-tee and 25th in SG: tee-to-green. He has posted consecutive top-25s since the break, opening with three straight rounds in the 60s each of the last two weeks. While he missed the cut in 2018 in his lone prior Travelers appearance, he's a far different player two years later and could easily factor in deciding the tournament if he turns 54-hole trends into 72-hole results.
Keegan Bradley ($7,400): The New England native would surely love nothing more than to win an event close to home, as he very nearly did last year when he tied for second. Bradley has a strong history at the Travelers, having made the cut in each of his nine prior appearances with top-10 finishes in two of the last three years. The former PGA champ returned to action two weeks ago at Colonial with four straight rounds in the 60s en route to a T-32 finish, and if his notoriously fickle putter heats up as it often does around these parts, he could improve on that result considerably this time around.
Joseph Bramlett ($6,600): Bramlett hit the best shot nobody saw last week, a 72nd-hole albatross at a Korn Ferry Tour event that vaulted him into a share of third place. That followed a runner-up showing at the KFT event the week prior in Ponte Vedra Beach, and now Bramlett levels up as one of the last players in the Travelers field. Having survived Korn Ferry Finals last season, he has flashed positive signs against PGA Tour competition including top-20 finishes at Pebble Beach (T-18) and Puerto Rico (T-9). His lone prior trip to Cromwell came back in 2011, but he did make the cut that week while carding all four rounds in the 60s.