Bubba Watson and Kramer Hickok each shot 2-under 68s on Saturday to share the third-round lead at the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Connecticut, U.S.
Watson and Hickok are at 10-under 200 after three trips around TPC River Highlands.
Russell Henley, who shot 68 on Saturday, is tied for third at 9-under with Australians Cameron Smith (66) and Jason Day (70). Harris English (67), Brice Garnett (69), and South Korea’s K. H. Lee (69) are tied for sixth, two shots behind the leaders.
Watson is aiming to win the event for the fourth time. He prevailed in playoffs in 2010 and 2015 and also emerged victorious in 2018. The 42-year-old Watson has his sights set on taking home another trophy Sunday.
“You don’t want to play safe. In my stage of my career if I have a chance to win I’m going to go for it,” Watson said after a round in which he carded five birdies and three bogeys. “That’s the key. I’m not going to worry about third or fourth place. I am going to try to go for it if I can. I’m not going to change anything. I’ve played this golf course pretty good over the years, and so my whole thing is just make birdies when you can.”
Watson, who has 12 career PGA wins, had a chance to take sole possession of the lead but his birdie putt on 18 was narrowly off the mark.
The 29-year-old Hickok is looking to record his first career victory.
Hickok made four birdies and was set up to be in sole possession of the lead prior to ending his round with consecutive bogey-5s. He held a two-shot lead after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15.
“I knew where I stood,” Hickok said of his lead. “At the same time, I know 16 has given me fits in the past, and it was just really about stepping up and hitting a good approach shot there, and then just managing the last two holes.
“I put myself in position right in the middle of the fairway. Hit the wrong club. In between clubs on 17. Hit the wrong club there, then 18 just hit a bad wedge shot. So I don’t like look back and think of it in any negative limelight. I’m just happy to be where I am now and look forward to tomorrow.”
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Hickok made four birdies against two bogeys.
Smith had six birdies and two bogeys during his strong round. Henley had three birdies and one bogey and former World No. 1 Day had two birdies and two bogeys.
Day was unable to find the form that saw him shoot a blistering 62 in the second round. He had eight birdies during that bogey-free round. “I’m hitting a lot of good quality golf shots,” Day said. “I just didn’t capitalise on the opportunities that I had today, which I did the first two days. Hopefully they start falling in tomorrow.”
Current World No. 2 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Bryson DeChambeau are among eight golfers who are three shots off the lead. Johnson had six birdies and one bogey while shooting the low round of the day at 65, and DeChambeau had three birdies and one bogey while carding a 68.
“All in all, it was really solid,” Johnson said. “Drove it nice. Hit a lot of nice iron shots. Yeah, it was pretty solid day.”
With 26 golfers within four shots of the lead, DeChambeau knows he needs a superb final round to win this tournament. “It’s going to take 7- or 8-under for sure tomorrow, which can happen out here,” DeChambeau said.
“You just got to execute shots and be confident and make some good putts. Greens are a little bumpy this year. It is what it is. Everybody has to play on them. It’s whoever makes the most putts. I just got to read them better and roll it better.”