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JJ Henry set for Travelers Championship defence

J.J. Henry defends his first US PGA title starting Thursday at the six million-dollar Travelers Championship with Vijay Singh, Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington among the heavy favorites.

World number one Tiger Woods, whose wife gave birth to daughter Sam Alexis on Monday, and Argentina's Angel Cabrera, who won last week's US Open for his first major title, are among many top players skipping the tournament.

But the field will still have plenty of solid strikers, the highest-ranked among them being sixth-rated Singh, who shared 20th at the US Open. He seeks his third tour triumph of 2007 and leads the PGA with 244 birdies in 66 rounds.

Henry, ranked 71st, became the first home-state player to win this event by three strokes last year, capturing his first PGA triumph and used the victory to launch himself onto the US Ryder Cup team.

"Last year being my breakthrough event, it was pretty special," Henry said. "I feel like I'm playing well. I finished tied for 26th at the Open last week. With conditions as tough as they were I felt I played pretty well.

"I feel refreshed and I'm looking forward to a good showing this week."

Ireland's Harrington, who missed the cut last week at Oakmont, shared seventh at the Masters and will try to bolster his world number 10 ranking.

Masters champion Zach Johnson, fourth on the money list with 2.9 million dollars, shared 45th at the US Open without a score below 74 despite his win at Augusta coming on similarly tough course conditions.

England's Justin Rose contended for his first major title last week before a final-round 76 doomed his dream, leaving him a share of 10th. He shared fifth at the Masters and could be a threat at next month's British Open.


June 21, 2007

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