For a first occasion in nine months Rory McIlroy will tee-up not as a clear tournament favourite.
McIlroy has entered this week’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut, the third of four ‘no spectator’ events on the 2019/20 PGA Tour wraparound schedule.
Of course, the Tour lost three months due to the COVID-19 lockdown but you have to go back to last November’s inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan when McIlroy wasn’t a clear bookies’ favourite.
After poor finishes in both Ft. Worth and last week at Hilton Head, he heads into this week’s Euro 6.5m event sharing Paddy Power equal favouritism at 11/1 with American Justin Thomas.
McIlroy has contested the TPC River Highlands course just twice before, producing back-to-back 64s but a year apart.
He ended the 2017 event with a final day 64 in sharing 17th place and twelve months later, McIlroy commenced the 2018 event with a 64 on route to eventually finishing tied for 12th.
“It’s a great course and I can see why Jim Furyk shot 58 last year (2017) and why guys can go so low,” said McIlroy on the eve of the 2017 tournament.
“If you’re on with your scoring clubs, it gives you a lot of opportunities.”
Thomas has contested the event on six occasions with a best finish of T3rd in 2016 and that thanks to a closing 62.
Also, in the field is former Irish Open and also Travelers champion, Russell Knox, with the Scot desperately looking to end a horror and unprecedented run of six missed cuts this year.
PADDY POWER (IRISH GOLFER) ODDS
Rory McIlroy 11/1
Shane Lowry 90/1
Graeme McDowell 125/1
Leader After Round 1:
Rory McIlroy 25/1
Shane Lowry 90/1
To Make the Cut:
Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry & Graeme McDowell 7/2
To Miss the Cut:
Rory McIlroy 7/2
Shane Lowry 11/10
Top- 5 Finish:
Rory McIlroy 11/4
Rory McIlroy 8/11
Shane Lowry 11/2
Rory McIlroy 3/1
Shane Lowry 22/1
Graeme McDowell 33/1