Watson shoots 67, grabs Travelers lead


After a 63 in Thursday's afternoon wave, Bubba Watson continued his charge up the leaderboard Friday, in search of his second win at TPC River Highlands in the last four years. Here's how things shape up heading into the third round of the Travelers Championship, where Watson is in position for his first win since donning the green jacket at the 2012 Masters:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-10), Padraig Harrington (-8), Patrick Reed (-8), Hunter Mahan (-7), Tommy Gainey (-7), Nick O'Hern (-7), Tag Ridings (-7)

What it means: Scores were considerably higher Friday than the day prior, as no one shot better than 5-under 65 during the second round. Watson carded a tidy 67 that included only one dropped shot, and by the end of the day the 2010 Travelers champion found himself staked to a two-shot advantage heading into the weekend.

Round of the day: Having started slowly Thursday with a 1-under 69, New England native Keegan Bradley pleased the Connecticut crowds with a bogey-free 5-under 65 in the second round. The former PGA champion started on the 10th hole and did all of his damage during a six-hole stretch in the middle of his round, carding birdies on 17 and 18 before reeling off three in a row on holes 2-4. At 6 under overall, Bradley will begin the third round tied for eighth, four shots behind Watson. 

Best of the rest: Like Bradley, Tag Ridings carded a 5-under 65 Friday at TPC River Highlands, and as a result heads into the weekend in position for his best finish of the 2013 season. The Texan notched seven birdies against two bogeys in his second round, and at 7 under sits just three shots off the pace after 36 holes. Ridings is still in search of his first top-10 finish this year, with a tie for 15th at the Farmers Insurance Open his best result to date.

Biggest disappointment: After firing a 9-under 61 in the opening round, Charley Hoffman held the overnight lead and appeared poised to avenge last year's disappointing T-2 finish. Instead, the two-time PGA Tour winner fell back to the pack Friday, needing 12 more shots to complete his round of 3-over 73. Hoffman played 10 holes Friday before recording his first birdie, and at 6 under heads into the third round tied for eighth.

Storyline heading into Saturday: Still searching for his first win since the 2012 Masters, Watson clearly enjoys his time in Hartford, having won here in 2010 and finishing T-2 a year ago. Several top-ranked players remain close behind, though, including major champions Harrington, Bradley and Webb Simpson, who all begin the weekend within four shots of Watson's lead. Also lurking quietly among a tie for 12th at 5 under is U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who is showing no signs of a Merion hangover.

Shot of the day: After coming up just short of the green at the driveable par-4 15th, O'Hern found the hole with his chip from 10 yards away for an eagle 2. The chip-in helped propel the Aussie to a 4-under 66 Friday, and at 7 under O'Hern finds himself in position for a second straight top-10 finish after a T-10 result two weeks ago in Memphis.

Quote of the day: “I just really played bad. A lot of unforced errors ... I didn't really do anything good today.'  – Mahan, who followed up an 8-under 62 Thursday with a 1-over 71 in the second round.