Watson ties course record, leads Hero by 2


After two days of tightly-packed scores, Bubba Watson found a little bit of separation atop the standings at the Hero World Challenge. Here's how things look after three rounds in the Bahamas as Watson holds a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-19), Paul Casey (-17), Patrick Reed (-16), Chris Kirk (-16), Jordan Spieth (-15), Bill Haas (-15), Brooks Koepka (-14)

What it means: Watson began the day one shot off the lead, but he quickly moved up thanks to a 63 that tied Casey for the low round of the day and set a new low mark at Albany. Watson is a strong front-runner, and he edged Casey in a playoff earlier this year at the Travelers Championship. The two will be reunited Sunday to duel for the final trophy to be handed out this year.

Round of the day: Watson got off to a nearly perfect start, playing his first four holes in 4 under en route to an outward nine of 5-under 31. The southpaw added four more birdies on the back nine to cap a bogey-free 63, two shots lower than the previous best at Albany, which is hosting a PGA Tour field for the first time this week.

Best of the rest: It looked for much of the day as though Casey would have the new course record to himself, as the Englishman was 9 under after only 13 holes. Despite closing with five straight pars, Casey's 63 moved him into sole possession of second place as he looks for his first worldwide win in more than a year.

Biggest disappointment: Jimmy Walker held a share of the 36-hole lead, but he fell well off the pace after a 1-under 71. Walker made a double-bogey 7 on No. 3 and never truly recovered despite five birdies from Nos. 6-12. At 12 under, he now sits alone in 11th place, seven shots behind Watson.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Watson didn't get a spot in the 18-man field until Jason Day's late withdrawal, but he is now clearly the player to beat and a strong favorite to lift the trophy. Should he falter, though, it could open the door for Spieth to successfully defend his title or Reed to close out 2015 with bookend victories.

Shot of the day: Watson called for his 169-yard approach on No. 4 to sit down, and the ball certainly listened. After two hops, his approach found the bottom of the cup for an unlikely eagle that continued Watson's hot start to the round.