Bubba Watson moved one step closer to tournament history, shooting a 2-under-par 68 at TPC River Highlands on Saturday to pull into a tie for the lead with Kramer Hickok after three rounds of the 2021 Travelers Championship in Cromwell.
Watson has won this tournament three times, in 2010, 2015 and 2018. He is trying to join Billy Casper as the only four-time winner of the tournament. Casper won in 1963, 1965, 1968 and 1973.
Through 54 holes, Watson and Hickok are at 10-under-par 200, one shot in front of Cameron Smith, Russell Henley and Jason Day, who held the lead after two rounds. A bogey at the 18th hole dropped Day out of a share of the lead and gave him a Saturday 70. Smith shot 66 and Henley had 68.
Playing with Day in the final group, Watson grabbed a share of the lead after birdies at the second hold and third hole. Day birdied the first hole to reach 10-under. Watson added a birdie at the par-4 seventh hole to claim the outright lead at 11-under.
“I’ve played this golf course pretty good over the years, and so my whole thing is just make birdies when you can,” Watson said. “That’s the golf course leads you to do. When the wind picks up like this you just got to play steady. Hopefully tomorrow nobody goes really crazy so I have a chance when I hit the back nine.”
Hickok, who is looking for his first career victory on the PGA Tour, used back-nine birdies at the par-3 11th hole, par-4 14th hole and par-4 15th hole to take a two-shot lead at 12-under. Bogeys at the last two holes dropped him back into a tie with Watson and Day, who then fell out of the lead when he bogeyed No. 18.
It’s playing tricky and firm and really fast and the wind is swirling, so to me it’s just all about giving yourself looks, getting yourself on the green, and dancing,” Hickok said. “
There are 38 players within five shots of the lead. Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 5-under-par 65 to jump into contention. He is at 7-under, three shots back and in a tie for ninth. He is joined there by Bryson DeChambeau, who shot a 68 on Saturday.
“I feel like I’m doing a lot of things really well. It’s just every time I feel like I make a mistake it’s a bogey,” Johnson said. “When you’re playing well, you miss a shot, you’re grinding out the pars. That’s just what I haven’t been doing lately, or making big numbers, which I don’t really do either.
“So it’s nice this week obviously playing solid. But to birdie the last two yesterday to make the cut, which I definitely wanted to be here for the weekend, and obviously go out today and shoot a nice score, it was good. So I feel like the game is coming around,” Johnson said.
Abraham Ancer and Kyle Stanley provided the early fireworks. Playing five groups apart, both players made a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole, using a 7-iron from 179 yards.
The final round is scheduled for Sunday, with Golf Channel providing live early coverage from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by coverage on WFSB-3 (CBS) from 3 to 6 p.m.
2001 Travelers Championship