By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
CROMWELL, Conn. — What an opening nine holes for Brian Davis. The Englishman shot 6-under 29. He had six birdies and no bogeys – and it could have been lower. Davis did not have a single putt longer than 15 feet, 1 inch. He was 6 under through his first eight holes then shot even on the last 10 holes for a 64.
Drainage: TPC River Highlands took an inch of rain in a 12-hour period from Thursday night to Saturday morning and yet by the time the leaders teed off at 2:50 p.m., the course was dry. TPC River Highlands is built on top of a bluff with a bed of sand. It drains very, very well, and there was no need to play preferred lies. Infact, while the greens were very receptive, they still had some speed to them.
Rollercoaster: Padraig Harrington and Greg Chalmers rode the elevator on Saturday, up and down throughout the round. Harrington ripped off seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch before playing the final five holes in 1 over to shoot 5-under 65.
Greg Chalmers was out in 5-under 30. He was 9 under for the tournament on the tee of the 411-yard par-4 12th hole, then proceeded to hit three tee balls. He hit one out of bounds to the left, one out of bounds to the right and made par after his third drive. Chalmers took an eight on the hole, followed that up with a bogey at the par-5 13th and shot 1-under 69. Chalmers is 5 under for the tournament.
Kid stuff: It has not been a good year for Camilo Villegas.
He is 131st in the FedExCup standings with his best finish in 14
PGA TOUR events being an 18th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
After missing the cut in Memphis he made a decision to forget about
any technical aspects of his swing and play by feel. He wanted to
"play like a kid again" and remember how to have fun on the course.
Villegas certainly enjoyed finishing his second round on Saturday
morning when he shot 6-under 64.
Eagle man: Will Claxton had played 990 holes this year and made two eagles – then he almost made a pair of them in an 11-hole stretch on Saturday. Claxton chipped in from 39 feet for eagle at the 15th hole and then had a 30-foot eagle putt at the sixth hole in the third round. That's when the magic stopped, as he didn’t even get a chirp out of the hole. Claxton three-putted for par and it seemed to bother the Auburn graduate. He played the next seven holes in 2 over before rallying again on the 15th with a birdie.
Equipment change: Technology is a wonderful thing. Ken Duke was hitting driver on the practice range before his third round and was not happy with the ball flight, so he took out a wrench designed for his TaylorMade driver, quickly removed the clubhead and replaced it with another head he had from an extra driver in his bag. Satisfied with the change, Duke went to the first tee to begin his third round. He would shoot 73. Sometimes it's the Indian and not the arrow.
Tournament host: J.J. Henry grew up near TPC River Highlands and is a former winner of the Travelers. Many consider him the unofficial tournament host and it looked like Henry would not last the weekend after shooting 73 in the opening round. He rallied for a 67 in the second round and then sparkled with a 65 on Saturday. Henry joked that now since his game was in order he was going to work on providing perfect weather for the final round.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at the Travelers Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
Following his third-round 66, James Driscoll reflects on his play in the 2012 Travelers Championship.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- James Driscoll appeared to be on the fast track to success on the PGA TOUR.
At 18, he became the youngest ever winner of the Massachusetts State Amateur before winning it again two years later.
In 2000, he reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur after beating Luke Donald 2 and 1 in the semifinals. He would lose to Jeff Quinney in the championship match at Baltusrol but surely would win on the professional level.
More than a decade later, Driscoll is still looking for his first TOUR win.
After a second straight 66 at TPC River Highlands, he’s in position to get it just two strokes off the lead with one round to play in the Travelers Championship.
To win here would be extra special to Driscoll, who still keeps an apartment in Boston and has dozens of friends and family in attendance this week.
”If you're playing well, it's great to have everybody out here.,” Driscoll said. “If you're not playing well, it's frustrating because you want to play well for the people that are following you.”
They weren’t disappointed Saturday.
Driscoll made three birdies and an eagle, chipping in on the short par-4 15th.
This is the second year in a row Driscoll, who has made 179 starts on TOUR, has contended here. Last year, he shot a third-round 64 before finishing fifth.
Four of the last six winners here were also first-time champions.
“I think there will be maybe a bit of a rowdy crowd [Sunday],” Driscoll said. “I'm looking forward to it.”
So are they, especially if he wins.
Following his third-round 65, Bubba Watson reflects on his play in the 2012 Travelers Championship with Mark Carnevale from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Not everyone had to come back to finish the second round Saturday morning. Bubba Watson was in the half of the field who finished his second round Friday, which allowed him to sleep in a little later than usual, work out and otherwise go through his normal routine.
The rest certainly seemed to help.
Watson shot a 65 Saturday to get to 9 under and within four shots of the lead with one round to go at the Travelers Championship, where he’s trying to win for the second time in three years.
“For me, my first win here, announcing that my dad was about to pass away of cancer, there's up and down moments at this place,” Watson said. “But they've always treated me well.”
He’s played well, too.
Only once in his last 12 rounds at TPC River Highlands has Watson failed to break par -- he shot 71 in the second round -- and he’s already won once this year of course at the Masters.
“I'm going to have to shoot a low number, lower [Sunday] than [Saturday],” Watson said. “It will be fun.”
Two years ago, Watson shot a final-round 66 before beating Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff.
He’ll likely need something even lower Sunday, especially if TPC River Highlands continues to play soft.
“They're going to have to slow down for me to catch them,” Watson said.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Four of the last six winners of the Travelers Championship were first-time winners on the PGA TOUR.
With Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher sharing the lead with one round to go, it very well could become five of the last seven.
Davis shot 64 and Thatcher 65 to get to 12 under, two shots clear of John Rollins, James Driscoll and Stuart Appleby. Of that group, Driscoll, who finished fifth here a year ago, has also never won.
After rain and thunderstorms pounded the area much of Friday, skies were clear Saturday with 77 players finishing the second round before players went right back out for the third round.
With soft conditions, many players took advantage.
Nine players shot 65 or better in the third round.
J.B. Holmes went lower than that, finishing off a second-round 62 in the morning. He struggled in the afternoon, however, to fall out of contention.
So did first-round leader David Mathis. After opening with a 64, he missed the secondary cut (88 players made the initial cut) after rounds of 73 and 74.
Other notables in contention: Bubba Watson, who won here in 2010, and Camilo Villegas, both of whom are 8 under, and Webb Simpson, who is another stroke back.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With weather having delayed play much of Friday, the third round is still going on -- and there’s a new leader with Roland Thatcher having birdied each of his last two holes to get to 12 under and one shot clear of Brian Davis.
There’s a cluster of players behind them with John Rollins, James Driscoll and Charley Hoffman all at 10 under and still on the course.
Padraig Harrington and Matt Kuchar are both in at 9 under after shooting 65 and 66, respectively.
Tim Clark, Marc Leishman and Stuart Appleby are all 9 under as well and still with holes to play.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Brian Davis is still 12 under -- and still leading by two at the Travelers Championship, where the third round should finish just before dark.
He has plenty of company now, though, with Padraig Harrington right behind him at 10 under along with Roland Thatcher.
Will Claxton, meanwhile, has dropped a couple of shots since reaching 11 under, bogeying the 11th and 12th holes.
Bubba Watson, who got his first career victory here in 2010, is in at 8 under after a 65 Saturday. Ditto Chez Reavie, who also shot 65, and Robert Karlsson, who shot 66.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- TPC River Highlands is no stranger to low scores, and we’re seeing one from Brian Davis right now.
The 37-year-old Englishman who has five times been a runner-up on the PGA TOUR just made the turn in 29 after six birdies through his first nine holes.
Davis has yet to miss a green in regulation and has missed only one fairway here in the third round.
In case you’re wondering, the course record here is 60, which was shot by then-amateur Patrick Cantlay in last year’s second round.
He’s not the only player going low, though.
Padraig Harrington is 5 under through 12 holes and within three of Davis. Chez Reavie and Bubba Watson are also 5 under on their rounds.
In all, there are 18 players within four shots of Davis at the moment.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Thanks in part to a penalty assessed to Brian Gay on the 17th hole -- his eighth in the second round -- 18 more players made the cut at the Travelers Championship on Saturday than would have had he not been penalized.
Here was the scenario: Gay hit his approach shot from a fairway bunker into the hazard short and left of the green on the difficult par 4.
Gay stepped on the ball while looking for it in the thick rough within the hazard.
When they called for a rules official, their argument was that the ball was already embedded. However, Gay was assessed a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2, which states that there’s a one-shot penalty if a player or his caddie touches the ball or causes it to move.
By saying he’d come in contact with the ball, Gay was, in essence, saying just that, according to PGA TOUR VP of Rules and Competition Mark Russell -- though Gay and caddie Kip Henley tried to state their argument for the better part of an hour after the round that the ball was already embedded.
Gay tried to play the ball out of the hazard, but it went just a few feet before he pitched up short of the green and eventually onto it and two-putted for a quadruple-bogey.
With the penalty Gay shot a 2-over 72 to finish his first two rounds at even par -- and right on the cut line.
If not for the penalty, Gay would have been the 70th player to finished at 1 under, which would have been the cut. Instead, 69 players finished at that number meaning the 18 other players at even par ended up making the cut.
Gay didn’t any better with the 17th hole in third round, either.
He hit his tee shot into the same fairway bunker, then hit his approach into the water and had to take a drop before making bogey.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Four of the last six winners at TPC River Highlands were first-time champions. It’s early, but things are shaping up for that to perhaps happen again.
Rookie Will Claxton currently leads at 10 under -- he was at 11 under until dropping a shot on the par-4 fourth -- while Greg Chalmers just went out in 30 and is one shot back.
Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher, neither of whom has won on the PGA TOUR, are also 9 under, as is defending champion Fredrik Jacobson.
In all, 15 players are currently within three of the lead, including 2010 Travelers winners Bubba Watson.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- The last player to win a major championship and follow it up with a victory the next week was Tiger Woods in 2000 when he won the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Webb Simpson is trying to join him.
The U.S. Open camp is 2 under through his first three holes early in the third round and just two shots off the lead of Fredrik Jacobson. ( Click here to follow his round live .)
As for the last player to win the U.S. Open and win again the following week: Hale Irwin did it in 1990 at Medinah, where he beat Mike Donald in an 18-hole playoff on Monday before winning the Buick Classic the next week.
In all, three U.S. Open champions have gone on to win the next week. See below for the complete list of major winners to win the following week.
|Year||Player||Major won||Victory next week|
|2000||Tiger Woods||PGA Championship||NEC Invitational|
|1998||Vijay Singh||PGA Championship||The International|
|1990||Hale Irwin||U.S. Open||Buick Classic|
|1985||Bernhard Langer||Masters||MCI Heritage Classic|
|1978||John Mahaffey||PGA Championship||American Optical Classic|
|1978||Gary Player||Masters||Tournament of Champions|
|1966||Billy Casper||U.S. Open||Western Open|
|1949||Jimmy Demaret||Masters||North Fulton Open|
|1938||Ralph Guldahl||U.S. Open||Western Open|