CROMWELL: Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson fired an eight-under 62 on Thursday to seize a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the US PGA Travelers Championship. The 36-year-old American fired nine birdies in all, including four on the last five holes, the final one coming on 18 after a 139-yard second shot that bounced into the flagstick and stopped four inches beyond the cup. Watson seeks his eighth career PGA triumph on the same TPC River Highlands course where he won his first in 2010 and produced two other top-10 showings. It would be his second title of the 2014-15 season, having won the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions event in China last November. Watson matched the low round of his career to grab the advantage with fellow Americans Keegan Bradley, Harris English, Jason Gore and Brian Stuard plus South Korean Noh Seung-Yul sharing second on 64. Birdies at the third, par-5 sixth, seven and ninth holes left Watson four-under at the turn. He birdied the 12th, 14th and 15th before taking his lone bogey at 16, but answered by closing with his third set of back-to-back birdies of the day. Watson took advantage of benign conditions compared to last week’s difficult terrain at the US Open at Chambers Bay, where Jordan Spieth added his second major title after collecting the Masters green jacket in April. Watson playing partner Zach Johnson fired a 65 to share seventh along with fellow Americans Scott Langley, Chris Stroud, Robert Garrigus, Tom Gillis, Scott Brown and Will MacKenzie plus Sweden’s Carl Pettersson. Watson has turned only one of four prior 18-hole leads into a victory, that coming in 2011. First-round leaders have won the Travelers four times, the most recent being Kenny Perry in 2009. Noh birdied his first four holes on the way to his lowest round since a 62 in the first round of the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship.
Watson fires eight-under, grabs two-shot lead after Day-I
Published: 02:32 am Jun 27, 2015