Fresh off his U.S. Open triumph at Merion, Justin Rose will play the first two rounds of the Travelers Championship alongside a pair of fellow major champions. Here are some other key groups to keep an eye on this week at TPC River Highlands:
7:40 a.m. (10th tee): Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan
Coming off a T-4 finish at Merion, Mahan returns to a course where he won in 2007 and finished inside the top five on two other occasions. He’ll play the first two rounds with Fowler, always a crowd favorite who also enters off a solid performance at the season’s second major, and English, who will tee it up for the first time since scoring his maiden PGA Tour victory in Memphis two weeks ago.
7:50 a.m. (10th tee): Kevin Streelman, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood
A year ago, Simpson made a cross-country trek from San Francisco to play in Connecticut on the heels of his first major win. This year he enters with considerably less fanfare but in the midst of a solid 2013 campaign, highlighted by a playoff loss to Graeme McDowell at Harbour Town. He’ll be joined by Westwood, hoping for inspiration from his fellow countryman’s success last week in Philadelphia, and Streelman, who is in the midst of a career year that has already included a win in Tampa and a runner-up finish at TPC Sawgrass.
12:50 p.m. (1st tee): Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson
All eyes this week will be on the reigning U.S. Open champion, as Rose makes his first start with the title “major champion” prefacing his name. Playing alongside the Englishman for the first two rounds are fellow major winners Bradley, who will undoubtedly have support all week long from the New England crowds, and Johnson, who will look to bounce back from a disappointing performance at Merion that ended with several pointed comments directed to the USGA pertaining to course setup.
12:50 p.m. (10th tee): Michael Thompson, Brian Gay, Ian Poulter
Ironically, the highest-ranked (and most outspoken) player of this threesome is the only one without a PGA Tour title to his credit in 2013. Like Westwood, Poulter will hope to draw on Rose’s victory last week, an event in which he himself was firmly in contention heading into the weekend before fading to a T-21 result. Thompson, a winner earlier this year at PGA National, and Gay, who won in a playoff at the Humana Challenge, will both look to add another trophy to their collection this week in Connecticut.
1:00 p.m. (1st tee): Marc Leishman, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson
Set to defend his lone PGA Tour title to date, Leishman has already had an impressive 2013 season thus far, one that saw the Aussie notch four straight top-12 finishes that included a T-4 result at the Masters. He’ll be joined by Watson, a winner here in 2010 and co-runner-up a year ago, and Dufner, who rose all the way to a T-4 finish at Merion, his best result of the season, thanks to a 3-under 67 in the final round that could have been much lower if not for a triple bogey on the 15th hole.