We’re just one week removed from Matt Fitzpatrick’s enthralling win at the US Open which gave the Englishman a first victory on US soil as well as his first Major. It was a thrilling final round and one that showed that Fitzpatrick is very much one of the world’s elite these days given he held off the likes of world number one Scottie Scheffler on route to success.

We head to TPC River Highlands this week on the PGA Tour and with Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas as well as a host of other stars joining Scheffler in the field, it’s an event that will take some winning.

Here’s our preview.

Xander given another chance

Xander Schauffele was recommend as being a major contender at the US Open and if you used three of his four rounds at Brookline, he would have been bang in contention. Obviously, golf tournaments are decided over four rounds and a Saturday 75 really took the American out of contention, particularly a seven-over 42 on the front nine. However, he played his last 23 holes in five-under par and that followed two solid opening rounds. In short, he played nine holes badly but bar that he played nicely and his tie for 14th as well as the fact he made 15 birdies – the fourth most – were further evidence that a win surely can’t be too far away.

Since winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside great friend Patrick Cantlay, Xander has played four times with a worst finish being a tie for 18th at the Memorial Tournament. He shot a closing 61 at the AT&T Byron Nelson to finish in a tie for fifth and it very much looks a case of when he can put four rounds together, he’ll be bang in contention.

The 28-year-old heads to TPC River Highlands with a steady record which saw him finish 14th on debut in 2017, miss the cut in 2018 and finish 20th in 2020. And while that’s not a record to write home about, this is a course that should suit. The last six winners have averaged 11th for SG: Approach, while they have ranked just third for SG: Tee-To-Green, so the fact Schauffele ranks 12th and seventh in those two categories is a clear positive. This is a course that tends to yield plenty of birdies and therefore putting will be key – recent winners average 17th in SG: Putting – and although Xander’s putting has deteriorated this year, he’s been better on the greens recently and that’s perhaps unsurprising given how well his irons have been.

He looks a must for the shortlist at 20/1.

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Riley could go well

Davis Riley is one of the most in-form players on the PGA Tour at the moment with recent form figures of T4, 5, T9, T13, T4, T13, T31 and he’s another who doesn’t look very far away from a win. That would of course be the American’s first on the PGA Tour and this looks a good opportunity given it’s a course he should like. He ranks 10th in birdie average on the PGA Tour this season, so the fact plenty of birdies will be needed will be music to his ears. He isn’t particularly strong in any area but does everything well and the fact TPC River Highlands is a course that requires a bit of everything to be working well should mean it’s one that suits his eye too.

Most courses he plays are new to him so that will hold no fears and he seems to thrive when the pressure is on as shown so far this season, particularly recently. He’s worth considering at 33/1.

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