Watson, DeLaet, Hoffman share PGA Travelers lead

Bubba Watson, winless since taking last year's Masters, struggled to a level par 70 Saturday to fall into a three-way tie for the lead at the $6.1 million US PGA Travelers Championship.

Bubba Watson acknowledges the crowd on the 4th hole green during the third round of the 2013 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 22, 2012 in Cromwell, Connecticut. Watson, winless since taking last year's Masters, struggled to a level par 70 Saturday to fall into a three-way tie for the lead at the $6.1 million US PGA Travelers Championship.

Watson, the 2010 Travelers champion and last year's runner-up, finished 54 holes on 10-under par 200 to stand level with Canada's Graham DeLaet, who fired the day's low round of 65, and fellow American Charley Hoffman, who shot a 66.

"I hit some shots that were really good, some quality shots. I got a couple bad breaks too, but that's golf," Watson said. "I still have a shot on Sunday and that's what we're looking for when we're playing."

Australian Nick O'Hern and American Chris Stroud were one stroke off the pace with American Ken Duke on 202 and seven others, including new US Open champion Justin Rose of England, on 203.

Watson started strong, dropping a 93-yard approach shot inches from the cup for a birdie at the second hole and sinking a 32-foot putt from just off the green for a birdie at the third. He added another birdie at the par-5 sixth.

But Watson struggled on the back nine with bogeys at the par-5 13th and par-4 15th.

At the par-4 17th, Watson was bothered on the tee by spectator conversation and found a bunker. His second shot hooked just over a water hazard, hit a rake and landed in a greenside bunker. His third shot was just off the green and he came up short on an 18-foot par putt.

Asked how he would handle squandering sole possession of the lead, Watson said: "I take it with pleasure. I've got a chance to win."

DeLaet birdied the par-4 second and began the back nine with four birdies in a row, the last at the par-5 13th after dropping his approach six feet from the pin. DeLaet also answered a bogey at the par-3 16th by closing with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

Hoffman opened the front and back nine with birdies and added others at the fourth, sixth and 14th holes. His lone bogey came at the par-4 12th.

Rose, coming off his first major title last week at Merion, moved into position for a last-day charge. He sandwiched birdies at the fourth and sixth around a bogey and birdied the 12th and 13th before taking a bogey at the 15th.

"When I've gotten on a good run of form I have kept it going for two or three weeks. That's the goal now," Rose said. "I've been playing really well this week."

Rose became the first Englishman to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970 and the first English player to win any major since Nick Faldo took the 1996 Masters.

"I feel like the last three or four years I have been trending in the right direction," Rose said. "It was a surreal moment. Not until you are holding that silverware do you know that feeling."

About the author

columnist
Writer: AFP
Position: News agency