Last fall, TPC River Highlands went under renovation, which was more of a face lift than a substantial change. Players got to see the changes on Tuesday, and were happy with what they saw.
“It’s all about appeal. They tried to renovate for looks. I don’t know if you would call it modernization, but it looks newer, fresher,” said defending champion Bubba Watson.
The majority of the work was to do with removing the outdated bunkers. The 17th green was rebuilt to increase the number of available pin positions and slight alterations were made to a few putting surfaces. The Par-4, 15th, got a new tee complex.
TPC River Highlands is one of shortest courses on tour and is extremely forgiving. The list of winners here – long hitters like Bubba Watson and Marc Leishman, short hitters like Brad Faxon and Woody Austin – goes to show that while distance is an advantage, it isn’t everything.
The 3 Keys to Success
Par-4 Birdie or Better
The key to scoring this week are the Par-4’s. Since there are only two Par-5’s, players will need to take advantage of the shorter Par-4’s on the course. The Par-4’s here vary in distance, with the shortest being the 15th at 296 yards and the longest 4th at 481 yards. This gives the players ample choices of what to hit off the tee.
Top Players This Week: Brooks Koepka, JB Holmes and Branden Grace.
Greens in Regulation
Last time around, TPC River Highlands ranked one of the easiest courses to birdie on. Players will need to make sure that they provide themselves plenty of opportunities. Just because it’s short, doesn’t mean it’s a driver wedge course. The entire stack of irons will come into play.
Top Players This Week: Lucas Glover, Russell Knox and Thomas Aiken.
On a course, where there are plenty of birdie opportunities, it’s also important to avoid bogeys. As such, scrambling will be a key this week. Last year, Bubba Watson missed plenty of greens but made it up with his short game, he ranked first in scrambling.
Top Players This Week: Bryce Molder, Jerry Kelly and Alex Cejka.