Harman Grabs Lead from Bubba.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Brian Harman moved a stroke ahead of Bubba Watson after Saturday’s third round of the Travelers Championships at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell by shooting a five-under 65 to finish 54 holes at 13-under-par.
Watson fired a workmanlike 68 to settle at 13-under-par along with Graham DeLaet, who shot a 64. A pair of big names, Paul Casey and Zach Johnson, are at 11-under-par after both shooting 64’s on Saturday.
Due to the overnight rain, players will be paired in threesomes today and will tee off holes one and 10 beginning at 11:40 a.m. and going continuously through 1:30 p.m. Rain is in the forecast for this afternoon as well.
“I’m really excited about the way I'm playing,” said Harman, a lefthander like Watson, after the third round. “It's been kind of an up and down year. I’ve been in contention a couple times over the last month and a half. I had a really good Players Championship and a really good Colonial Invitational. I mixed in a couple of odd weeks and was really excited for the Open last week and just didn't play well the second day. So, it feels good to be back in contention. I'm just really excited for the opportunity tomorrow.”
Harman talked about his playing partner on Saturday. “Bubba makes a lot of birdies. He's very exciting to play with, he's fun to play with. He plays fast, and he respects the game. We had a really good time today. We talked a lot. We've got something in common. We're both Georgia guys. I've played with him a handful of times and I've enjoyed it every time. I enjoyed today and I'll be looking forward to tomorrow.”
On the weather forecast for today, the leader commented, “I've never played particularly well in the rain. But I look at today and we got a break. The weather was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I tried to see today as an opportunity, because if it rains I think anybody will tell you that the rain makes you feel a little uncomfortable, grips get a little wet, you can't hit the ball as solid as you want to, and there is a little water on the ball. It makes everything a little more difficult.”
Harman said his post round plans on Saturday were to go to the Trumbull Kitchen for dinner. “It's one of my favorite restaurants and right in downtown Hartford. I'll get a good night's sleep and go through my normal routine in the morning just like any other day just like if it was a Pro-Am or Tuesday or anything else.”
Watson said there was just enough dampness to the course Saturday to affect play. “On some holes it affected the speed of the greens. I just couldn't get my clubs right. I thought one shot would bounce and it didn't bounce. I thought another shot would not bounce and it bounced. I just didn't have enough close birdie putts.”
Watson spoke of the guy he’s chasing. “He's a solid player. You know, it sounds funny saying this, but he's like a little bulldog. He went to Georgia too, so it worked out. He just keeps grinding. He hits it pretty far for his size, he’s great putter, has a great short game, and is a hard worker. I can name 50 guys on Tour that are like that. They play their game, they go to their strategy and don't worry about what the other guy is doing. He's really good at that. He's really consistent. It's very rare to see him blow up and have a bad day. And he's still learning how to play these golf courses.”
On Sunday’s weather, Watson speculated, “You could get mud balls if it rains a lot and starts drying out. The rough gets thicker because it's wet. The greens could get softer. So, there are a lot of things that could happen in a short period of time. It changes everything. It changes how you hit shots. The ball is going to start backing up, so it changes how you play the game.”
Casey and Johnson are dangerous lurking in the weeds. Casey has won 16 times and was the former number three player in the world only six years ago before injuries and diminished results caused him to slip in recent years. Johnson has won 11 PGA Tour events and captured the 2007 Masters.