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Travelers building reputation for young talent

Associated Press Modified: May 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm •  Published: May 1, 2012

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Five more young golfers have committed to playing in this year's Travelers Championship, which is gaining a reputation as a good tournament for new talent to break through on the PGA Tour.

Master's champion Bubba Watson (2010), Hunter Mahan (2007) and J.J. Henry (2006) are among the golfers who have earned their first Tour win at the Connecticut tournament.

Travelers announced Tuesday that the two top amateurs in the world, Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Rodgers have been granted exemptions to play in the June tournament, along with Ryo Ishikawa, Kelly Kraft, and Bryden Macpherson, the top amateur in Britain.

"We try to be strategic with our exemptions," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "We try to think, where is the next Bubba Watson? Where is the next Phil Mickelson, the next Tiger Woods? They're out there. They are looking for starts and building a relationship with them is something we take very, very seriously."

The tournament is played June 18-24, the week after the U.S. Open.

Fredrik Jacboson, earned his first Tour victory at Travelers last year. He said his doesn't know why it has been such a good tournament for producing first-time champions, but he thinks it might have something to do with its spot on the schedule.

"With the big scene that it is on a major and all the attention ... you're used to all the media and the hype," he said. "So it almost feels a little bit relaxing to go back to a regular PGA Tour event. So you come back from an extreme to normal, which makes normal feel even less. I think maybe that takes a little bit of pressure off."

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