Charley Hoffman had been cruising on Sunday at TPC River Highlands, perhaps on the way to a win. Standing on the 17th tee, he had a two-shot lead.
Then that tee shot found the water.
Hoffman took a drop and hit his third shot over the green at the par 4. He was unable to get up-and-down, and the double bogey erased his lead and left him in a tie with Marc Leishman at 14 under.
Leishman is done but Hoffman will have a chance at 18.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- By the time Marc Leishman finished his post-round interview Sunday, he’d already lost his lead.
Still, Leishman’s 62 was enough to give him the clubhouse lead at 14 under -- for now. Charley Hoffman had already birdied the 12th hole to move to 15 under by the time Leishman was done talking.
Not that Leishman was going anywhere anytime soon.
“I'll be watching pretty closely, but I don't need to be anxious,” Leishman said. “I probably think I'm one or two short and that's the attitude I'm going to have, so I'm not going to be disappointed when or if someone comes in at 15.”
Nevertheless, the round was a step in the right direction for the Aussie, who has just one top 10 this season and was burned out after five straight starts. He took the last two weeks off, however, and barely touched club. The rest seemed to pay off.
“I practiced I think two times in the three weeks,” Leishman said. “It's been close for a while actually. I just get a little bit streaky with the putter, and I haven't been lately.”
Leishman had just 24 putts in the final round and was perfect from inside 10 feet. He was also 3-for-4 from outside that range.
“It’s just been a matter of giving myself enough chances,” Leishman said. “I've been giving myself a few chances and then hitting a bad shot and throwing a bogey or a double in there. I didn't have any holes that just wrecked my momentum.”
Rory Sabbatini makes a hole-in-one on the 162-yard 16th hole.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Rory Sabbatini just aced the 161-yard par-3 16th hole.
The ace moved Sabbatini to 4 under on his round and 9 under for the tournament. He used an 8-iron.
“Kind of joking in mid flight, I said, be the right number and go in the hole, and it landed perfect and just kind of spun left, and the crowd started to go crazy and all of a sudden it was hard to tell whether or not it went in or not,” Sabbatini said. “But then actually you could tell from the reaction of the crowd. Pretty surreal. It was amazing.”
Sabbatini wins an 18-karat Rolex watch valued at $27,650. It was the first hole-in-one for him on the PGA TOUR.
He also had holes-in-one at the Masters and THE PLAYERS Championship, though both were in practice rounds.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- James Driscoll grew up about 90 minutes north of TPC River Highlands and because of that said he expects a “rowdy” crowd for the final round of the Travelers Championship.
If he keeps playing the way he has so far, he might be right.
Driscoll chipped in for birdie on the first hole, then added another birdie on No. 3 to get to 12 under and in a tie for the lead with Brian Davis.
A standout as an amateur, Driscoll twice won the Massachusetts State Amateur. He also beat Luke Donald to reach the final of the 2000 U.S. Amateur.
On the PGA TOUR, it’s been a different story. Driscoll has gone 179 starts without a victory.
Neither has the player he’s tied with.
Davis has gone 237 starts without a win and has five career runner-up finishes. He ranks third on the all-time money list of players who have yet to win on TOUR.
Will that change today? Four of the last six winners here were first-time winners.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- TPC River Highlands has a history of yielding low numbers. Marc Leishman is trying to add his name to the list.
Through his first nine holes, Leishman is 5 under on his round, making the turn in 30, to get to 11 under for the week and within one of the lead of Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher.
Davis and Thatcher will tee off at 2 p.m. ET.
So far, Leishman has missed just one green in regulation and has a half-dozen one-putts.
Leishman’s best finish this year was a tie for third at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Like the two current leaders, he’s also never won the PGA TOUR.
Others making an early move include 2010 winner Bubba Watson, who is 2 under through his first three holes and now just two off the lead. Ditto Charley Hoffman, who is 1 under through two holes.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- We’re still 45 minutes away from the final group of Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher teeing off. Both are trying to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR. Here’s a sort of tale-of-the-tape of the two co-leaders.
-- Thatcher, who hasn’t made a cut since March and has made just three all year, is looking for his first top 10 of the year. He has just two top-10 finishes each of the last four seasons on TOUR.
-- Thatcher missed his previous two cuts at the Travelers Championship in 2009 and 2010. His only other start came in 2004 when he tied for 71st.
-- Twice, Thatcher has led going into the final round of an event. In 2004, he led at the Reno-Tahoe Open before finishing in a tie for fifth. In 2010, he was leading the Children’s Miracle Network Classic going into the last day before finishing second.
-- Jason Dufner, who won twice on TOUR this year, and seven-time winner John Huston are the only former Auburn Tigers who have won on TOUR. Thatcher and Will Claxton, who is three strokes off the lead, are both former Tigers.
-- Davis is looking for his fourth top-10 finish of the season, which would tie his personal best from 2009.
-- Davis has five runner-up finishes in 237 starts on TOUR -- but zero wins.
-- Davis is making his seventh start here. His only top 10 came last year (T9). Davis’ last seven rounds at TPC River Highlands have been at 68 or better.
-- Davis’ only other third-round lead/co-lead came at the 2010 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial when he was tied with Bryce Molder entering the final round. Davis shot 68, but Zach Johnson shot a 64 to win.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Needing to make a 6-foot putt on his final hole of the third round just to make it to Sunday, Hunter Mahan rolled in the par and made the secondary cut on the number.
Then he took advantage of the second chance.
Mahan shot a career-best 61 in the final round of the Travelers Championship, where he came up one short of tying the course record. He missed just two fairways and birdied nine of his final 13 holes.
“I've been swinging it great all week; I just got some putts to fall in and got a little momentum early and kind of rode the wave coming in,” said Mahan, who twice barely made the cut this week.
The first time came after a bogey-double bogey finish to shoot 69 in the second round to finish 1 under. The cut was even par.
The second came Saturday afternoon when there was a secondary cut because more than 78 players had finished at even or better. Mahan birdied Nos. 6 and 7 -- his 15th and 16th holes of the round -- then made pars coming in, including that testy 6-footer on No. 9.
“At that point you're kind of like, God, do I want to make this?” joked Mahan, who like several players had to finish his second round Saturday morning before going right back out for the third round because of weather delays earlier in the week. “Long day [Saturday].”
It was a short one on Sunday.
“I figured the lower I shoot, the faster we'll play,” Mahan said. “We're not going to hold up the field. It shouldn't take long to play golf.”
Mahan’s first birdie of the round didn’t come until the par-5 sixth, then he added two more birdies in his next three holes. He made five more birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine and finished with nine in all, including a 20-footer on the 18th hole.
It was a special finish for Mahan for more than just his score, however.
David Finn, a 19-year-old from River Edge, N.J., who suffers from Leigh’s Disease (a neurological disorder similar to Multiple Sclerosis that has him bound to a wheelchair), got to “caddie” the final hole as Mahan’s caddie, John Wood, wheeled him down the fairway.
“He's so aware, but he just can't do the things that he wants to do,” Mahan said of Finn, who has been a regular at PGA TOUR events in the Northeast the last five years. “He's a fun kid, and it's an opportunity that you couldn't pass up.”
It was actually the second day in a row Wood wheeled Finn down the fairway on the final hole.
“It didn't quite have the impact since we were 1 under and no one was watching us,” Mahan joked.
There was plenty to watch Sunday. With the finish, Mahan, who won here in 2007 and finished runner-up each of the next two years, becomes the all-time leading money winner in the event.