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McCarthy grabs early lead at Travelers ahead of Bradley and Scott

Keegan Bradley birdied the first five holes of the day and is two shots off the pace after one day of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell.

CROMWELL, June 22, 2023 — After the challenge of the U.S. Open last week in Los Angeles, playing in Connecticut at the Tournament Players Club at River Highlands can seem like a breath of fresh air.

With 10 birdies, American Dennis McCarthy shot a 60 to grab a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Travelers Championship. He finished one stroke shy of the tournament record set of set by Jim Furyk in 2016.

“We’ve played some hard golf courses the last few weeks,” said McCarthy, who is still searching for his first PGA Tour win. “My last two events have been U.S. Open and Memorial, so coming into a place that doesn’t quite beat you up as much, it’s a little bit of a mindset change.

“It was nice to know from the start that it was gettable,” he said. “The back nine here is one of my favorite nine holes on tour. It’s very risk-reward. If you’re playing well you can shoot 5-, 6-under; if you’re not playing well it can beat you up.”

Keegan Bradley of Vermont teed off at 7:20 a.m. this morning on the back nine and made five consecutive birdies to begin his round. He finished with a 62.

“It was amazing,” Bradley said. “There are some tough shots there actually, especially when you’re off that early.

“They’re all birdie holes, but they’re all bogey holes as well. I hit just perfect shots on every shot I had on those first five holes,” he said.

Not only did Keegan hit a 29 on the first nine holes but he is getting time this week with his five-year-old son in attendance.

“This is a special week,” Bradley said. “I don’t get to have my family out here a lot anymore with school, and having them out here is an advantage for me. It’s really special to see my son out in the crowd watching, cheering. It’s just really great.”

American Alex Smalley, right, and his caddy try to remove a leaf without moving his ball after his tee shot on the tenth hole. Smalley got par on the 10th and finished with an even par 70.

Adam Scott also shot a 62 and tied for second with Bradley despite a pair of bogeys, including a two-shot bogey at 18.

Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, shot a 63 with seven birdies and no bogeys. “I just kept the golf course in front of me. That’s pretty much it. I didn’t drive it as well as I would’ve hoped to today, but outside of that I didn’t put myself in any really horrible spots. There are some bad spots you can put yourself in here in the bunkering,” he said.

Rory McIlroy, the No. 3 player in the world, had his first ace on the PGA Tour at the 214-yard, par 3 eighth hole with a five iron.

“A s hole in ones go, I’ve had them in the past where it has been like an okay shot and you get a little lucky. That was the best shot of the day that I hit,” he said.

“I played pretty averagely up until that point. Felt like that hole in one got me going a little bit. Birdied the next couple holes after that and sort of got me into the tournament a bit,” he said. McIlroy finished with a two-under-par 68.

Newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark also shot a 68. “I hit some pretty poor wedge shots today. I probably shot the worst score I could have today,” he said. “I drove it pretty decent and had some really good opportunities to make birdies, so I would say there is a little bit of brain fog there.”

Clark teed off early on Thursday morning at 7:35 a.m. “Obviously the fan interaction was great. We went off early, which normally when I’m going off on a Thursday that early there is hardly any fans watching me and there as of decent amount, so that was kind of nice,” he said.

Golfer Total 1R
Dennis McCarthy -10 60
Keegan Bradley -8 62
Adam Scott -8 62
Scottie Scheffler -7 63
Shane Lowry -6 64
Chez Reavie -6 64
Eric Cole -6 64
Kevin Streelman -5 65
Kelly Kraft -5 65
Patrick Cantlay -5 65
Brendon Todd -5 65
Cam Davis -5 65
Zac Blair -5 65
Kevin Yu -5 65
Sungjae Im -5 65

Complete 2023 Travelers Championship results



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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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