Will Claxton nearly bagged a pair of eagles on Saturday.
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.
- Greg Chalmers