Power Rankings: Travelers Championship

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June 17, 2013

Unlike last week's test for the U.S. Open, TPC River Highlands is anything but a grind. The host of the Travelers Championship is a par 70 like Merion Golf Club, but a 1-over aggregate at the midpoint of last year's edition would have resulted in a missed cut on the number. The same score in relation to par won the season's second major for Justin Rose, who now takes his talent to Cromwell, Conn.

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In 2011, TPC River Highlands played as the easiest par 70 on the schedule, but it slipped to sixth-easiest (of 15 par 70s) last year at 69.839. It was the hardest the course had played since 2007.

At 6,841 yards, it's one the shortest tracks remaining on the 2013 schedule. Although it always yields a par-breaker split right around 20 percent, the field will be picking off eagles and birdies primarily on the first 15 holes. While Nos. 15, 16 and 17 make up The Golden Triangle, reasonable danger doesn't come into play until the second leg of that loop.

The par-3 16th over water averaged +0.092 strokes to par last year. Of the 49 courses played in 2012, TPC River Highlands' 17th hole was the third-hardest. The renowned dogleg over water boasted a scoring average of 4.263 last year.

Greens average 5,500 square feet and are conditioned to run at just 10.5 on the Stimpmeter. That fuels a mindset to be aggressive with the putter. However, there are no gimmes as the course annually ranks among the most stringent in putting from three feet and in.

Rain cannot be ruled out this week, but the greatest threat will have exited by Thursday. Seasonable conditions are expected otherwise with high temperatures pushing 80 degrees and light-to-moderate winds complementing.

NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.

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Power Rankings: Travelers Championship
Rank Player   Comment
Hunter MAHAN Hunter MAHAN The all-time money leader at the Travelers Championship -- win, two T2s and a T4 among eight cuts made in 11 starts -- tied for fourth place at the U.S. Open, his best finish in a stroke-play event since winning in Houston last year.
Bubba WATSON Bubba WATSON His first PGA TOUR victory here in 2010 is one of four top 15s. The lefty shared second place last year. He's averaged 66.9 strokes over his last 20 rounds at TPC River Highlands. Ranks fifth in both greens in regulation and par breakers.
Rickie FOWLER Rickie FOWLER Shared 10th place at the U.S. Open where he was buoyed by a 67 in the third round, best in the field. Tied for 13th in his last appearance at TPC River Highlands in 2010. Sits T45 in par breakers and 34th in adjusted scoring.
Justin ROSE Justin ROSE While he's fresh off his major breakthrough, he's been around long enough that it could come in stride, meaning the expected letdown could be minimal. Four top 20s at TPC River Highlands; three are top 10s. Second in adjusted scoring.
Jason DUFNER Jason DUFNER First appearance since missing the cut in 2008, but he's coming off a season-best T4 at the U.S. Open where he closed with a field-tying-low 67. Ranks 28th in greens in regulation, 30th in adjusted scoring and T8 in par-4 scoring.
John ROLLINS John ROLLINS In the hunt at the last two editions of this event. Chased a T2 in 2011 with a T4 last year, averaging 66.125 over those eight rounds. Ten top 25s this year, including a T4 at Colonial and a solo sixth at TPC Southwind in his last two starts.
Freddie JACOBSON Freddie JACOBSON TPC River Highlands presents just what he needs after missing cuts the last two weeks. Backed up his lone PGA TOUR victory here in 2011 with a T8 last year. Perfect on 369 attempts from three feet and in. T8 in adjusted scoring.
Charley HOFFMAN Charley HOFFMAN Settled for a T2 (by one stroke) at TPC River Highlands last year due to a double bogey-bogey finish. Enjoying a solid 2013 with four top 10s and another two top 25s. Ranks 27th in strokes gained-putting and 12th in par breakers.
Padraig HARRINGTON Padraig HARRINGTON Coming off a T21 at Merion that occurred on the heels of a T10 at TPC Southwind. He's 4-for-4 at the Travelers Championship with a T5 in 2010. Also placed T11 last year, going 62-for-65 in conversions from eight feet and in.
Harris ENGLISH Harris ENGLISH Had last week off to digest his breakthrough victory in Memphis. It was also his third top 20 in his last five starts. Currently T50 in greens hit, 37th in strokes gained-putting, T22 in par breakers and T15 in par-4 scoring.
Lee WESTWOOD Lee WESTWOOD Just his second appearance (T51, 2005) but he's logged a top 15 in six of his last seven starts worldwide, including a T15 at the U.S. Open. Ranks 18th in total driving, 64th in greens hit, ninth in scrambling and 14th in adjusted scoring.
Bo VAN PELT Bo VAN PELT The long-time birdie machine has been a great fit for TPC River Highlands over the years. Six of his seven cuts made have gone for a top 25. He's posted T21s in his last two starts entering this week (Memorial, U.S. Open).
Webb SIMPSON Webb SIMPSON Hasn't missed a cut in five tries at TPC River Highlands but hasn't cracked the top 10 yet either. Ranks 32nd in greens in regulation, 31st in par breakers and 27th in adjusted scoring. Three top 10s and eight top 25s this season.
Ryan MOORE Ryan MOORE Two top 15s in his last five starts, but he missed the cut in the other three. He's 6-for-7 at TPC River Highlands with a pair of T2s, a T4 and an actual scoring average of 67.692. Fifth in all-time earnings at the Travelers Championship.
Marc LEISHMAN Marc LEISHMAN The defending champion emerged with his first and only PGA TOUR title with a 62 in the final round. Led the field in par-5 scoring at 4.00. Blistered through April and the first half of May this season with four top-12 finishes.
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