Defending champ Dustin Johnson makes charge at Travelers

Don’t count the defending champion out just yet.

Dustin Johnson, whose last PGA Tour win was the 2020 Travelers Championship, vaulted himself into the cusp of contention after making the cut on the number at 2-under. He shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday in Cromwell, Conn., to get to 7-under for the tournament, only three shots off the lead held by Bubba Watson and Kramer Hickok.

“Today was a little better,’’ Johnson said of his game. “I gave myself a lot of looks, hit a lot of greens. All in all, it was really solid.

“I drove it nice [and] hit a lot of nice iron shots. I feel like I’m doing a lot of things really well.’’

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

Bryson DeChambeau is bullish on his chances to win the Travelers Championship. If not Sunday, next year or soon after that.

“I love this golf course through and through,’’ he said of TPC River Highlands. “I feel like there are so many opportunities. It feels like at some point I’ll win out here.’’

DeChambeau shot a 2-under 68 in the third round to get to 7-under for the tournament. Like Johnson, he sits on the edge of contention.

“I just didn’t go low like I wanted to unfortunately,’’ DeChambeau said. “[I’m] still striking it pretty well, [hit] a couple errant shots here and there. It’s just a little off still. But hopefully, when everything comes together, I can win by a lot.’’

DeChambeau predicted that “it’s going to take 7- or 8-under, for sure, [Sunday] to win, which can happen out here.’’

There were two holes-in-one on the 180-yard par-3 eighth hole Saturday — by Abraham Ancer and Kyle Stanley, both of whom used 7-irons. For Ancer, who’s 4-under, it was his second on the PGA Tour, both at the Travelers Championship (on No. 16 in 2020).

Stanley’s ace came 42 minutes after Ancer’s, marking the first time since 2016 that multiple aces have been scored at a Travelers Championship.

Ancer sent some beers to the media tent with a note that read: “There’s no video, but I promise it happened.’’

Cameron Smith took the early clubhouse lead at 9-under after shooting a 4-under 66 in the third round, and he called his play “really solid.’’

“I’m pretty confident, probably the most confident I’ve been over the driver for a long time, which is a big thing for me,’’ he said. “I feel if I can get it in the fairway, the rest of the game kind of takes care of itself. I’m feeling confident heading into [Sunday] for sure.’’

Three of the four Monday qualifiers made the cut. Seamus Power and Lucas Herbert, both 6-under, and Andrew Svoboda, who played his youth golf at Winged Foot, shot 72 on Saturday and is even-par. … Two big names never made a third-round move despite being in position to do so. Brooks Koepka, who began the day at 4-under and managed only a 1-under 69. Phil Mickelson, who rallied to make the cut on the number at 2-under, shot a 2-over 72 and is even.


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