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Expert picks: Travelers Championship

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This week the PGA Tour heads to Connecticut as the Travelers Championship takes place across TPC River Highlands. Fredrik Jacobson defends his title against a strong field, including U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.


Gary Williams

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: Mahan has nothing but great memories of this event as the Travelers offered him one of his first sponsor's exemptions, and then in 2007 was the site of his first career Tour win. From 2006-2009, he went runner-up, win, runner-up, T-4 in this event. He has a pair of wins in 2012 and I think TPC River Highlands could be the site of his third of the year.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: Moore is another player who was invited to play the Travelers Championship early in his career and has since returned year after year. He finished runner-up in his first appearance in 2006 and in the last three years has finished T-4, T-13 and T-2. He has made the cut in each of his last seven Tour starts and while he has three top-10s, he would certainly like another and this could be the place to get it.

Group 3: Blake Adams: The Georgia native has had a quiet year except for notable performances in two events: The Players and the U.S. Open. Adams was T-4 entering the final round last week before shooting a Sunday 75 to finish T-21. Having finished ninth here last year, momentum could be on his side this week.

Group 4: Chris DiMarco: This 3-time PGA Tour winner has not won since 2002 but he has played well in the Travelers Championship, making the cut in each of his last ten starts. After an encouraging start to 2012, DiMarco has been struggling of late but this could be the place where he puts up a strong finish to change his momentum for the season.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: Strongly considered Jacobson here but give the edge to the 2007 champion to pick up his third win of the season. While not impressive he did have a solid showing last week, tying for 38th. Couple that with his victory at TPC River Highlands and his two runner-ups here as well and he has the resume to contend.

Group 2: Michael Thompson: In addition to his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open (seemingly out of nowhere) he also finished fourth at the Travelers a year ago. He's been cashing some decent checks in 2012 with five top-25 finishes and ranks fifth on Tour in strokes gained putting.

Group 3: Blake Adams: The Georgia boy made a little noise at the Open before carding a 75 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 21st, one of four top-25s this year. He tied for ninth at last year's Travelers so he comes in with form as well as past success at TPC River Highlands.

Group 4: Kevin Kisner: He tied for 13th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic the week before the U.S. Open and I look for him to continue that form after his week off. 


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: His breakthrough victory (2007) came at TPC River Highlands and his recent short-game work with Mark Roe has already started to pay dividends.

Group 2: Michael Thompson: Bookend rounds of 66-67 at the U.S. Open were no flukes and he played well in Hartford last year, finishing fourth.

Group 3: John Merrick: Was on the bench last week after a runner-up showing in Memphis and according to his swing coach Jamie Mulligan, his results are finally starting to catch up with his game.

Group 4: Brad Faxon: A rare cameo for the senior on the PGA Tour but good putting is ageless and the New England native has had success at TPC River Highlands, winning here in 2005.


Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: Hard not to like the 2007 champion here, who boasts a solid overall track record. The problem comes with his lackluster performance the last two years.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: Moore has a pair of runner-up finishes in this event and was T-4 in 2009. He likes the place and is quietly enjoying a good season.

Group 3: Kevin Streelman: Streelman was T-6 here last year and T-10 in 2008. He's never missed a cut here and seems like good value.

Group 4: Mark Anderson: It's a shootout this week and Anderson makes plenty of birdies as he is T-21 on Tour in birdie average. He's missed four cuts in a row, but TPC River Highlands should suit his eye.


Rob Bolton

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Now that I'm back on top of the Experts leaderboard (for the third time), I'm not going to get cute. Taking the chalk here. He hasn't missed a cut in 20 starts and serves as the most consistent and valuable talent in this group.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: Seemingly always reinventing himself, he's logged four top-15s in six appearances at TPC River Highlands, thus illustrating an infrequent constant over the years. Co-runner-up twice, including last year. 

Group 3: Kevin Streelman: Though he's struggled in recent starts, TPC River Highlands has presented itself as a comfort zone of sorts. He's 4-for-4 with a pair of top-10s, including a T-6 finish in 2011.

Group 4: Vaughn Taylor: Flies in under the radar having missed his last four cuts, but he's cashed in seven of eight visits to TPC River Highlands with a personal-best T-9 two years ago.

**Join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com**

Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3P-6P ET for live coverage of the Travelers Championship.