Travelers Championship has new leader after third round, but plenty still in contention entering Sunday

Published on Saturday, 23 June 2018 23:15
Written by DAVID GLOVACH

@DavidGlovach

CROMWELL - For the third day there was a new leader in the clubhouse at the Travelers Championship.

On Saturday, it was Paul Casey’s turn to have the hot round. The Englishman shot an 8-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round.

Casey played a bogey-free round to move to 16-under 194 and finished with six birdies and an eagle on 15. He was able to break away from a crowded field after hitting all 18 greens.

“It was just one of those days, so glad to be in the lead,” Casey said. “It's a championship I'd really like to win having gotten close a couple years ago and losing in the playoffs to Bubba Watson [in 2015]. It's one I feel like I can win, and I'm really happy to be in the position I'm in.”

The rest of the field after Casey is a bit murkier. The others in top 10 entering Sunday are separated by two strokes or less.

Russell Henley shot a 67 to move to 12 under and into second place and a pairing with Casey. J.B. Holmes (65), Anirban Lahiri (65) and second-round leader Brain Harman (69) were all tied for third at 11 under.

“I think I can shoot a low number on this course,” Henley said. “You've got to make the putts. I'm definitely hitting it well enough and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can't control what [Casey is] doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

Jason Day shot 66, Bubba Watson 67 and Bryson DeChambeau 68 to be part of a five-way tie for sixth. Neither seemed to be worried. Watson has come back from six down at the Travelers before when he beat Casey in 2015.

“All the pressure's on Paul tomorrow,” Day said. “I'm not quite sure how many wins he's had [as of late]. I know that he's in the past hasn't quite got over the line with some of the wins that he possibly could have won, and that's kind of positive in my mind knowing that.

“But you look down the leaderboard, you look at the guys in second all the way through to me, and even guys behind me, there's a bunch of great players that can take it low.”

Two of the players who are more than likely out of contention are Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

Spieth followed up a 3-over 73 on Friday with a 1-over 71 on Saturday. The world’s No. 5 played an even par over the front nine, but bogeyed three of his final six holes. He currently sits in a tie for 46th place at 3 under.

McIlroy, meanwhile, had just as frustrating round at times and got off to an odd start when a squirrel kept running in front of the first tee box. When the Northern Irishman finally got his shot off, he hit it wide right and into the rough. He settled for a bogey, which set the tone the rest of the way.

But McIlroy started to show some positive signs over the final nine holes, making a birdie at 13 an eagle at 15, but again struggled on 18 when he three-putted for a bogey. He ended his round with a 69 that placed him in a tie for 15th at 8 under.

James Hahn provided one of the lighter notes of the day after acing the 154-yard 11th hole to help salvage a rough start.

“I thought I had to play kind of a 148[-yard] shot, and luckily I asked my caddie right before I hit it,” Hahn said. “I said, “what do you think I should play?” And he said 152, so I went with his number, so I have to give him credit for that.”

The final round, however, will be all about Casey and if he can continue his momentum.

“Things will be different,” Casey said. “They always are. That's the thing. You get pin positions that suit your eye, and the greens, the lines were popping out for me, you just hope that continues tomorrow.”

David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or dglovach@newbritainherald.com



Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports on Saturday, 23 June 2018 23:15. Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2018 00:18.