The most important tool for the professional golfer when they are on the course besides their caddie is their yardage book. You know, that little book they pull out of their pocket with all the numbers, formulas, and lines. Tour players study it feverishly prior to each shot and with their caddies base all their on-course decisions from this little book. Ever wonder what’s inside that yardage book and how the Tour Player approaches dissecting the course?
This week we are at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT, a par 70 track that has been around since 1923 in some form or another and steadily reworked through the years, most notably by Pete Dye back in the early 80’s to bring it around to the track that we know today. A 6,800 yard layout with only 2 par 5’s makes this course one of the midgets of the Tour annually, It is safe to say that driving distance shouldn’t be too much of a focal factor this week, unlike last. For an indepth analysis of the scoring and how TPC River Highlands plays from the DFS perspective, make sure to check out my Tee 2 Green: First Cut @ TPC River Highlands
As far as the course itself goes, TPC River Highlands is not exactly known for it’s difficulty year in and year out. At the upper end of total birdies allowed per tournament for the Tour, we should be expecting plenty of scoring this week on a less that 7,000 yard course.
Before we dig into the specifics of the course and get some takes from the tour guys about how they approach the course, let’s take a quick look at the weather and see if we have any draw biases developing in the early week.
Historically this tournament tends to be on the soft and slow side of things, mostly due to the location and time of year. This year it doesn’t appear (at this time) that we have any significant rain in the forecast in the days leading up to and during the tournament so we could see a slightly faster/drier course than normal. But the region did get saturated a bit ago from frequent rains. The winds are up a bit today and tomorrow pre-tournament and that could play a role in firming this place up a bit more than normal. That said, I don’t expect it to get real fast and firm with balls running out everywhere but keep an eye on the greens firming up. (more on this in a bit)
Thursday is looking to be a glorious golf day with light winds and little gusting expected throughout the day with nary a rain drop in sight. A great day for scoring on this course that should be very gettable on Thursday. Friday starts out pretty nice as well but the winds are projected to kick up a bit in general but specifically in the afternoon, this has potential to create a draw bias for our lineup construction. The winds on Friday are set to be 6-7 mph in the morning steady with gusts reaching 20 mph. The afternoon gets it a bit worse with steady winds of 14 mph and gusts increasing to the 22-25 mph range.
Pay attention to this throughout tomorrow and into Thursday early morning to see if a draw bias develops to favor the Thursday PM/Friday AM wave.
Saturday is looking to be the worst golfing day of the week. The winds of Friday appear to lead to a front moving in with some rain and winds for the morning and midday Saturday. Winds are projected to be steady at 9 mph and gusting to 25-30 mph at the peak (11am) with conditions steadily improving as we move through the day. Not sure how significant the rains and storms will be to slow/stop play but expect some weather in general on Saturday that could push tee times back a bit and will certainly soften the course a bit more for the final round.
Sunday is projected to start out nice and calm with winds increasing mid morning to 8-10 mph steady and gusting to 14-17 mph range. While not ideal they aren’t gale force either and should make for a great day to close out a birdie rich tournament.
Stats From the Pros
This week the stats from the Pros are going to be very similar to my key stats from the First Cut mainly due to the non de-script nature of the course and few trouble areas.
- Good Drive %
- SG Approach
- Par 4 Scoring
- Total Putting
In general the attitude of tour players while playing TPC River Highlands is this…I feel like I can score on every hole! The trends about this tournament seem to support this attitude, given the birdie rate and such! You have probably heard that this is anyone’s tournament this week and it is true. The players all feel like coming into this week because of the setup and course that they can win no matter who is playing. The course isn’t too long and the fairways are wide enough to give anyone hitting solid irons a shot at victory this week.
That said, it is really anyone’s tournament that is sitting within 8 shots of the lead come Sunday…last year Jim Furyk was -1 and completely out of the tournament going into Sunday, he walked off 18 in a tie for 5th and -11. When Kevin Streelman won here, he fired a back nine 28 to close it out….a 28!!! Basically the setup of the back nine with a driveable par 4 keep this tournament interesting all the way to the end and the closing stretch of holes should provide plenty of excitement in crowing a winner this week. The moral of this story is that golf is a 4 round event and this event more than maybe any other one will likely showcase that each day as we see several guys go really low. If you are live betting at all this week, it is a good idea to wait to deep into the 4th round before laying any huge money as guys tend to come out of nowhere to surge up the leaderboard at this place.
From the Tour players perspective on Scrambling at TPC River Highlands, the scrambling around the greens is difficult here but not because of the rough length immediately off the greens for short sided misses. The challenge for missing the green is the run off that are situated below that green surface and a firm green that isn’t holding will allow balls to scurry across and down theses run off with speed and instead of collecting at the bottom they can run through and end up in the really thick rough. That’s right the thickness of the rough immediately surrounding the greens is bad but you can manage it because you are at green level and don;t have to go far. Missing down these run offs in the rough is another story all together. Being below the greens and out of thick rough and 10-20 yards away makes pitching very difficult to control and leads to an extra stroke. So if the greens start to firm up a bit this week, look out for some tough scrambling conditions.
As always good luck this week!!!