Sunday, June 25, 2017

Spieth making all the running in Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Connecticut – Notes and observations from Saturday’s third round of the Travelers Championship, where Jordan Spieth birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 66 and keep the lead.
 Boo Weekley had a 5-under 65 to reach 11 under, a shot back, while Daniel Berger (66) came in at 9 under, in solo third as he aims for his second win in the last three weeks. For more coverage from TPC River Highlands, click here for the Daily Wrap-up.


Jordan Spieth made three birdies in the last four holes to maintain the solo lead for the third straight day in this, his first career start at the Travelers Championship.
Still, what stood out to him were two par saves. He missed the green right at the 490-yard, par-4 fourth hole, but got up and down with a chip and a tap-in par. At the 227-yard, par-3 fifth, Spieth splashed out of the right greenside bunker and made a 16-foot putt.
He didn’t even need to putt at the sixth hole, chipping in for birdie from 28 feet.
“I thought those two up-and-downs along with obviously the chip in on 6 were massive,” Spieth said. “I very well should have been 2-over through six holes and I was 1-under.
“So, I stole some there around the greens, which is what I've been looking to do when something gets a little bit off elsewhere. It was really nice to see, through there, to gather that momentum and kind of calm down and get into the round.”
Much as he was throughout his Player of the Year season in 2015, Spieth was lethal around the greens Saturday. He hit just 10 greens in regulation, his lowest total of the week, but was 3-for-3 in sand saves, and took 24 putts. Not surprisingly, he’s leading the field in strokes gained: around the green for the week, but he’s also first in strokes gained: tee-to-green.
That’s a tough combination to beat.
Should he win Sunday, it would mark his first wire-to-wire victory since the 2015 Masters, and his 10th title on the US PGA TOUR at just 23 years old.



Jordan Spieth hadn’t met with the media in 24 hours.
Boo Weekley hadn’t met with the media in -- well, he couldn’t remember how long.
“A lot of faces in here I ain’t seen in a while,” he said as he sat down after his round, in which he fired a back-nine 30 to play his way into the final twosome with Spieth on Sunday.
Weekley has three TOUR victories, but hasn’t won since the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. At 43, he could have been excused if he thought his best golf was behind him, especially since he came into this week at 193rd in the FedExCup standings. His best finish all season? Well, that would have been his thrilling tie for 37th place at the Puerto Rico Open.
But one good tournament can change everything, and Weekley has been back to his old self at TPC River Highlands thanks in part to a relatively new putter and left-hand-low stroke. The putter is an Odyssey that Matt Every had given up on at Colonial earlier this season, and that Weekley’s coach wound up with only to give it to Weekley.
It’s working. Weekley made 128feet, 4 inches of putts Saturday, and was third in strokes gained: putting (3.261). Like Spieth, Weekley finished strong with birdies on three of the last four holes.
“I change putters like I change underwear, man,” Weekley said before estimating he’s gone through about 20 different makes and models this season alone.
Spieth smiled at the prospect of playing with Weekley on Sunday.
“I hope I'm having as much fun each day as Boo's having,” Spieth said. “I mean, he lives it up. It's fun to be around Boo. He's always very nice to everybody he sees, has some kind of a joke. If he's had a couple pops, you barely understand him with his country accent.
“He's a guy everybody very much respects and really likes being around, and that's fun, that's fun to play with. He's a really good ball striker who, a couple events that I've been involved in, in the heat of things, he shot very low numbers on Sundays. He's not afraid to do so.”


Paul Casey’s usual caddie, John McLaren, asked for this week off and Casey granted it. He also let McLaren pick who would caddie for Casey in his place, and the veteran McLaren, who is known for his long socks and high-top sneakers, picked Shannon Wallace.
So far, so good. Casey, who lost to Bubba Watson in a play-off at the 2015 Travelers, shot 66 to get to 8 under, just four off Spieth’s lead.
“Shannon's perfect,” said Casey, who came into this week 27th in the FedExCup race.  “He's been on the bag for Faldo and some guys. Maybe he hasn't had the results he's wanted as a caddie. And I love the fact that he's channelled his inner Johnny Longsocks this week and turned up with long socks to try to make me feel better.
“We failed to get him high tops,” Casey added. “That's the only thing I've failed, on my behalf. I've known Shannon for a long time since we've been on TOUR. So, a good blend. We actually, worryingly for Johnny, we are working very well together.”



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