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Nine of top 20 golfers in world set to play in Cromwell at Travelers

Justin Thomas, who is ranked No. 5 in the world, will be returning to Cromwell in June to play at the Travelers Championship.

CROMWELL, April 22 – Four of the top 10 golfers on the PGA Tour and nine of the top 20 have committed to play at the Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlanders in June.

Brooks Koepka, ranked No. 3 in the world, and Justin Thomas, ranked No. 5, committed to the tournament in January. Bubba Watson, who is ranked No. 17 in the world, won the tournament for the first time last June. He is thrilled to be back.

Other players making early commitments include Francesco Molinari (No. 7), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 8), Paul Casey (No. 12), Tony Finau (No. 14), Patrick Reed (No. 19) and 2012 Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman (No. 22). The tournament is scheduled for June 17-23.

“The Travelers Championship is one of my favorite tournaments — and favorite weeks — on the PGA Tour,” Watson said earlier this spring. “It will always hold special meaning to me because it was the site of my first tour victory (2010), but the way the entire community embraces it, and how the tournament team goes above and beyond to ensure it’s a great experience, truly makes it special.”

Over the past three years, he has donated $300,000 to tournament charities. After coming from six shots back in the final round to win the Travelers Championship for the third time last June, Watson donated $200,000 to the tournament’s primary beneficiary, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That allowed the tournament’s charitable proceeds to reach $2 million for the first time in its history.

During the 2016 tournament, Watson pledged $100,000 toward the Bruce Edwards Foundation Benefit Dinner, a one-time special event that raised money for ALS causes, the charitable focus that year.

Watson’s first PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Travelers Championship, when he beat Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff. He added a second Travelers Championship title in 2015, also in a playoff, this time against Paul Casey.

Watson is a two-time Masters champion, winning in 2012 and 2014, giving him two major championships. He’s also a four-time participant in the Ryder Cup, a three-time winner of the Genesis Open, a two-time representative of the United States in the Presidents Cup and was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

“Bubba has been such a wonderful ambassador for our tournament,” said Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube. “Our fans enjoy seeing Bubba play every year, and the fact that he’s the defending champion for the third time will bring even more excitement to what promises to be an incredible week.”

The most recent top 20 player set to play in Cromwell in June is No. 13 Jason Day, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, who was ranked No. 1 in the world at one point in his career. It will be his third straight appearance.

Ten of Day’s 12 PGA Tour wins have come since the start of the 2015 season when he won five times, highlighted by his victory at the PGA Championship – his first major title.

Reed, who won at The Masters in 2018, will be making his eighth appearance at TPC River Highlands. Reed is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour, including his victory at the 2018 Masters.

Reed participated in the 2016 Olympics and represented the United States at the Presidents Cup in 2015 and 2017 and in each of the past three Ryder Cups. His performances at those events — especially in singles competition (3-0 Ryder Cup record) — have earned Reed the nickname “Captain America.”

Koepka is a three-time major champion, having won his first at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. He won the U.S. Open for the second time in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles.

Koepka’s victory two months later at the PGA Championship helped him wrap up PGA Tour Player of the Year honors. He reached No. 1 in the official world golf ranking for the first time by winning The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges  earlier this season.

Thomas has played TPC River Highlands the past four years, tying for third in 2016. He made his Travelers Championship debut as a 20-year-old amateur in 2013, when he tied for 30th.

Thomas has nine career tour wins, including five in the 2016-17 season, when he also won the season-long FedExCup points race. His win at the 2017 PGA Championship was his first major title, and he followed that up with his first FedExCup playoff victory at the Dell Technologies Championship.

Thomas won three more tour events during the 2017-18 season. He has two top-10 finishes already this season, including a third at Kapalua. Thomas was a member of the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team and played in the Presidents Cup in 2017.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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