The PGA TOUR heads to TPC River Highlands for this week's post-major competition.
River Highlands has been hosting this event for decades, so we can dive into the course history stats if we please. However, this event is also known for giving some talented youngsters a shot with notables this week including Cole Hammer, Michael Thorbjornsen, and Chris Gotterup. As a result for their kindness, we often see a strong field as those young stars return the favor by returning on an annual basis.
With some young stars in the field, we should look at some stats to see who might like the course, before they've racked up enough rounds to qualify as a course horse.
Historically, this short course has rewarded smart iron play and a hot putter. Let's look at those two angles.
Strike while the irons are hot
There are only so many ways to defend par on a sub-6900-yard layout. For the Travelers, they do so with tricky pin placements.
With a short course, golfers will have lots of wedges and short irons in hand. They will have to use their brains to know when it's best to "attack" and when it is best to aim at the center of the green and take their par.
Let's look at recent data in the strokes gained approach department to see who has their irons and wedges dialed in lately. Here are the top performers in total strokes gained on approach over the last 12 measured rounds played:
Brendan Steele ($28): He has eight top 25s in 11 tries at TPC River Highlands. He's swinging some hot sticks in the lead-up to this year's edition so I like his chances to add another top 25 to his tournament resume.
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Putt for Dough
TPC River Highlands is not an easy course, per se, but with lots of wedges hit there are inevitably some really low rounds recorded here each day.
Iron play is how you set up those chances but you need to nail the putts to seal the deal and give Jim Furyk's '58' a scare.
Here are the names that are arriving with a hot putter, looking at total strokes gained putting over the last 12 measured TOUR rounds:
Beau Hossler ($21): He was a late entry into the field, finding a spot after an Erik van Rooyen backed out in Tuesday. That may leave Hossler a bit under-clicked this week. We know that Hossler can heat up the putter as well as anyone and he's done it here in the past with two top 10s in five starts at TPC River Highlands. He only has nine career top 10s so for two of them to come at this course tells us plenty.
Hopefully, these stats will give you some names to dive into when it comes to researching your final selections this week over at Yahoo!