TPC River Highlands hosts its first tour round since Jim Furyk fired a PGA Tour record 58 last August, as the Travelers Championship rolls back around this week.
As Russell Knox took home the title, Jim Furyk went out in 27 with a hole-out eagle and six birdies and came back in 31 to shoot the lowest round in PGA Tour history; having started the day 16 shots off the lead, though, it left the then 46-year-old still three shots off first place.
The course is only a par 70, making it easier to reach the 50s, and Patrick Cantlay came close with a 60 in 2011. However, the winning score has breached 15-under-par nine times since its movement to the revamped TPC River Highlands in 1991 and so, even relative to par, it’s easy to go low at this event.
Nevertheless, the Travelers is one of the PGA Tour’s most popular events and set the record for biggest attendance in 2002 with just under 400,000 spectators across the week and it is second behind only the Waste Management Phoenix Open in overall attendance.
Those attending this week will be treated to a number of the game’s biggest stars including debutant Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – who will both be looking to bounce back from missing the cut at the US Open – as well as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and two-time champion Bubba Watson.
Reigning champion Knox will return after edging out Jerry Kelly, who skips the event this year, by one shot and Furyk will also be back to relive his historic fourth round of last year. As well as Knox and Watson, Kevin Streelman (2014), Ken Duke (2013), Marc Leishman (2012), Hunter Mahan (2007), and J.J. Henry (2006) all return as previous champions.
TPC River Highlands is host for the 33rd consecutive year, although it did go through a complete redesign and rebrand in 1991. Even for a par 70, it is somewhat short at 6841 yards making distance off the tee seem somewhat significant. Holes 15 through 17 surround a four-acre lake offering both scenery and drama.
The purse aligns with standard on the PGA Tour at $6.8million this year with the customary 500 FedExCup points also on offer.
Whilst taking the title will be the first goal for all entering in Connecticut, on a short par 70 it’s hard to believe players aren’t getting excited about the prospect of scoring in the 50s.