CROMWELL, Connecticut: Bubba Watson, winless since capturing last year’s Masters crown, fired a three-under par 67 on Friday (Satuday in Manila) to seize a two-stroke lead after round two of the US PGA Travelers Championship.
Watson, last year’s Travelers runner-up, stood on 10-under par 130 after 36 holes at TPC River Highlands with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and American Patrick Reed sharing second on 132, each having fired back-to-back 66s.
A week after the US Open’s dense rough and fast greens played havoc with golf’s finest players, this event allowed players room to show off their shotmaking and ball control.
“The golf course has generous fairways and you’re having short irons into a lot of the holes,” said Watson, an American. “And it’s playable from the rough, unlike last week.”
Australia’s Nick O’Hern shared fourth on 133 with Americans Hunter Mahan, Tommy Gainey and Tag Ridings with Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge and Americans Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and first-round leader Charley Hoffman on 134.
Watson, who started on the back nine, opened with his only bogey but responded with bogeys at the 13th and 16th holes to grab the lead after Hoffman fell back with a double bogey at 13 and a bogey at the first, his 10th hole.
Watson, who won the Travelers title in 2010 for his first US PGA triumph, dropped a 14-foot birdie effort at the third hole and followed with a six-foot birdie putt at the sixth.
Watson is looking for a nice finish at the weekend after winning only once in his past six chances when leading after 36 holes, that coming in 2011 at New Orleans.