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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Travelers Championship - Round 3

The Travelers Championship was headed for a Bubba Watson coronation ceremony until a 3-over back nine threw this tournament wide open. Rather than a four or five stroke lead, Watson shares the lead with Charley Hoffman and Graham DeLaet at 10-under.

Third round / final round thoughts:

  • It's not necessarily a surprise to see someone in the lead of a tournament make three bogeys on a back nine to fall back towards the field, but when you consider Watson's first bogey was on a reachable par 5 and his second was on a driveable par 4 which saw his tee shot come to rest in the fairway 16 yards from the cup. I had already written him down for birdies on both. That's a four-stroke swing.
  • The course played firmer/faster/tougher in the afternoon for the first time all week. That partially explains why the leaderboard is bunched.
  • My guess is 14-under wins this, but I could see it ranging from 12 to 16. 
  • I don't like Charley Hoffman as a front-runner. Never have. He's the kind of guy that fires a 6-under from three back to win. Case in point, his 2010 Deutsche Bank win featured a final round 62 and his 2007 Bob Hope win was on a very windy day that saw a volatile leaderboard.
  • I don't know what to expect from Graham DeLaet, but my hunch is the winner doesn't come out of that final pairing. I'd like DeLaet's chances better than Hoffman's.
  • I like both the guys in the penultimate group. Bubba Watson could easily shoot a 65 or 66 and win, while Chris Stroud is very much in play without the pressure of leading. 
  • A very interesting pairing a little further down the tee sheet is Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan. While I thing Rose is a little too fried to win it, Mahan definitely has the flair to fire a 63 and steal the show. Keep in mind he fired a 61 in last year's finale.
Final round Yahoo! lineup will be Watson, Mahan, Hoffman and subbing in Rickie Fowler for Rollins (missed 54-hole cut). 

Best of luck!

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