CROMWELL, Conn. – Bubba Watson could have run away and made Sunday at the Travelers Championship a foregone conclusion, but the big left-hander closed with three sloppy bogeys in a round of 70 and will begin the final round at TPC River Highlands tied for the lead.
But if Watson was kicking himself following his round on Saturday he wasn’t letting on.
“If you would have told me a guy from Bagdad, Fla., named Bubba would win five times on Tour I’d be happy,” said Watson, who hasn’t won since his Masters victory in 2012.
In some ways, Sunday will be a unique challenge for Watson. Three of his four PGA Tour victories came after he was trailing through 54 holes and the Travelers Championship tends to favor the fresh face.
The last three Travelers champions were first-time Tour winners and 16 players have nabbed their first Big League victory at TPC River, which may make Canadian Graham DeLaet the statistical favorite.
DeLaet carded a third-round 65 to hold a share of the lead at 10 under with Watson and Charley Hoffman, who finished his week last year at the Travelers double bogey-bogey and lost to Marc Leishman by a stroke.
Or maybe it’s Chris Stroud’s turn to get on the board with his first Tour title following a 66 on Saturday to grab a share of fourth place at 9 under with Nick O’Hern.
“That would be nice,” Stroud smiled.
This much is certain, Sunday’s champion will need to continue this week’s low scoring trend. The last five champions at TPC River Highlands have a final-round average under 65.
Maybe that’s what Watson was so excited about.