CROMWELL, CT – Paul Casey hit all 18 greens on Saturday, converting seven into red numbers, en route to a 8-under 62 and a commanding four-shot lead after 54 holes of the Travelers Championship.
The 40-year old Englishman signed for a bogey-free card comprised of 11 pars, one eagle and six birdies, including a final-hole gain highlighted by a laser-approach shot to three feet.
Casey, who owns two top-5 finishes in his previous three starts at the Travelers (T5/2017 and 2nd/2015), credited his consistent performance in Cromwell to a certain comfort and vibe he feels at TPC River Highlands.
“It’s always a golf course I’ve felt comfortable on. And today was just one of those days where I didn’t really miss a shot, and if we did, we missed it in the right place,” said Casey, who won earlier this season at the Valspar Championship.
“It’s a golf course which is open to all styles of play, having seen that with Bubba Watson, Corey Pavin playoff. Jim Furyk shooting 58, not the longest guy on Tour. Yeah, multiple ways of playing it.
“Good architecture, fantastic conditions, plus just a feeling of liking this event. You know this event where it sits in players’ kind of heart as their enjoyment of it. That’s just another factor of playing well.
“If you don’t like playing a tournament, you’re not going to play well because you don’t want to be there. And this is just a good vibe all the way around.”
Another player feeling the “vibe” was Russell Henley who carded a three-birdie 67 to reach 12-under par and sole possession of the second spot. He’ll join Casey in Sunday’s final pairing.
After three-straight birdies no Nos. 13, 14, and 15, overnight leader Brian Harman was sitting at 13-under par, and appeared headed for that final tee time Henley now owns. But bogeys on the next two holes (Nos. 16 and 17) dropped Harman back to 11-under par, alongside Indian Anirba Lahiri (65) and J.B. Holmes, who gained five shots in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 11-15) to jump up to the T3 group.
Sitting T6 at 10-under par was a group of six players, headlined by two-time Travelers champ Bubba Watson (67), Jason Day (66), and Bryson DeChambeau (68).
The tournament’s top-ranked stars, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth, all remained stuck in neutral, at best. McIlroy (64-69-69), who is 8 under and eight shots back, has been the best of the bunch, while Thomas has gained just a single shot (66-69-70) the past two days and was at 5 under. Spieth shot his second-straight over-par round (63-73-71) and sits T46 at 3 under.
THE TOP 10
1. Paul Casey -16 (65-67-62)
2. Russell Henley -12 (66-65-67)
3. Brian Harman -11 (64-66-69)
3. J.B. Holmes -11 (66-68-65)
3. Anirban Lahiri -11 (67-67-65)
6. Jason Day -10 (66-68-66)
6. Ryan Blaum -10 (69-65-66)
6. Beau Hossler -10 (65-67-68)
6. Bubba Watson -10 (70-63-67)
6. Bryson DeChambeau -10 (66-66-68)
15. Rory McIlroy -8 (64-69-69)
15. Zach Johnson -8 (63-68-71)
15. Patrick Cantlay -8 (69-68-65)
22. Charley Hoffman -6 (69-66-69)
32. Justin Thomas -5 (66-69-70)
38. Brooks Koepka -4 (68-69-69)
46. Jordan Spieth -3 (63-73-71)
VIDEO: THIRD-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS
“It’s one I feel like I can win, and I’m really happy to be in the position I’m in.”
– Paul Casey