First look: Travelers Championship

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First look: Travelers Championship

Dustin Johnson returns to defend his title at the Travelers Championship, his first win last season that led him to win his first FedExCup.

TPC River Highlands has an impressive field of participants with many of the TOUR’s top players who had toured the country the week before from the US Open in California.

FIELD NOTES: Current FedExCup Leader Patrick Cantlay is looking for his third win of the season … Five of the top 10 golfers in the world play in Connecticut, including Cantlay, Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka … Phil Mickelson, who made that event in 2001 and 2002 won, is back in the TPC River Highlands as the reigning PGA Championship winner … Garrick Higgo, who won the Palmetto Championship, will make his first non-great start as a PGA TOUR winner … Ten former winners at TPC River Highlands teeing off, including Bubba Watson, who won the tournament three times … Sponsor exceptions include Chase Koekpa (Brooks’ brother), John Pak (the highly acclaimed College Player of the Year), Davis Thompson (formerly the # 1 Amateur of the World) and Austin Eckroat (four-time All-American) … Rickie Fowler returns after missing his first US Open since 2010.

FEDEXCUP: The winner will receive 500 FedExCup points.

COURSE: TPC River Highlands, Par 70, 6,841 yards. Located between the cities of Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, the TPC River Highlands has been a PGA TOUR venue for 38 years. The course is the site of the lonely 58 of the TOUR (Jim Furyk, 2016), but the key section comes on numbers 15-17, which play around a four-acre lake. Pete Dye oversaw a redesign of the course in the early 1980s, while Bobby Weed worked on an upgrade about a decade later, after consulting TOUR players Roger Maltbie and Howard Twitty.

STORYLINES: Can I get more low scores in TPC River Highlands? Alongside Furyks 58, Patrick Cantlay shot 60 (the lowest in TOUR history by an amateur) in 2011 and Johnson’s 61 last year in the third round … Bubba Watson is still looking for Billy Casper as the sole four-time winner of the Traveler … The tournament became Played without fans in 2020, but about 10,000 a day will be welcome to the tournament … A total of 14 major championships have been won by golfers in the field at TPC River Highlands, and Phil Mickelson makes up six of them. Mickelson returned to Travelers in 2019 after a 15-year absence, but has topped it up every year since … The fatigue of the US Open didn’t quite affect the winners of the Travelers Championship. Everyone from Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie, Watson, Jordan Spieth, Watson Again, and Russell Knox all played the US Open, but Johnson (COVID-19 schedule change) and Knox (Olympic schedule change) get stars because their events were held at different times.

72 HOLE RECORD: 258, Kenny Perry (2009)

18 HOLES RECORD: 58, Jim Furyk (4th round, 2016)

LAST TIME: Dustin Johnson’s 2020 Travelers Championship win was the first of three wins of the season as Johnson would win the FedExCup. He secured a sizzling 61 on Saturday and a 67 on Sunday to beat Kevin Streelman in one fell swoop – despite bogeying two of his last six holes. Streelman put birdies on numbers 10 and 13, but remained stuck in neutral the rest of the way. He hit his approach at 18 to 37 feet and when he couldn’t convert the birdie the title was Johnson’s. Will Gordon and Mackenzie Hughes finished the week at 17-under and T3, while Kevin Na rounded off the top 5 at 16-under. Johnson’s win broke a 20-tournament drought. It was his 13th TOUR season, and with the Connecticut win, he’d won every one of them.

HOW TO FOLLOW (all times ET)

Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1pm – 3pm (Golf Channel), 3pm – 6pm (CBS).

PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (featured groups), Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET (featured groups). Saturday-Sunday 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. ET (Featured Holes).

Radio: Thursday-Friday 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).

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