Keegan Bradley caught Denny McCarthy this time.
Bradley (pictured with his son, Logan on the 18th green), playing what he considers a home game since he grew up in New England, shot a bogey-free, seven-unde4-par 63 and is tied for the lead with McCarthy midway through the 72nd Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
McCarthy opened with a 60 to lead Bradley and Adam Scott of Australia by two shots.
“This tournament feels so good to me that I want to play my best golf here, and in the first two rounds I have,” said Bradley, who is playing in the Travelers for the 13th consecutive year, with his best result a tie for second in 2019. “This course is just amazing and it’s been so much fun the first two days.
“I’m so proud of the way I’ve played and my putter was just so hot today. I struggled on the greens when I had to switch away from the belly putter a few years ago. However, now I’m really comfortable and confident with my putter, and it’s just great when the putts are going in from all over the place like this.
“And to do it with my wife (Jillian) and kids here, plus all my friends and family, is just amazing.”
Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, rattled off five straight birdies on the back nine after making two on the front, sinking bombs of 58 feet on the third hole and 35 feet on the 12th while recording a 36 hole score of 15-under-par 125.
McCarthy, who nearly holed out for an eagle at No. 18 that would have given him a 59 in round one, followed his career-low score with a 65 that included five birdies on the back nine—including one on the last hole.
“I got off to a tough start with a silly bogey on the second hole and I knew it might be a difficult day because it’s always hard to follow up a great round with another one,” said McCarthy, who is trying to win on the PGA Tour for the first time after claiming the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Championship and three other titles on lower levels.
“But then I made birdies on Nos. 8 and 10 to get things going before making three birdies in a row plus that last one on the back nine made for a nice finish. I’ve just been playing really nice and loose, and confident, the last two days. I’ve virtually hit shot exactly the way I have wanted to do since the start.
“That’s a lot of fun and I just want to keep it going.”
Chez Reavie, who edged Bradley for the Travelers title in 2019, made an eagle on the 13th hole and added six birdies in a 63 that put him two behind in third, while rookie Eric Cole made five birdies down the stretch in 65 to sit four down in fourth, and Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, birdied his last hole for a 68 and is one more back in a tie for fifth with Zac Blair, who carded a bogey-free 65.
Lucas Herbert of Australia birdied his first three holes to kick-start a 64 and is six strokes behind in a tie for seventh with Min Woo Lee of South Korea, who sank a 55-foot eagle putt at No. 13 in his bogey-free 65, and Chesson Hadley, who collected seven birdies and made a double-bogey 6 on the third hole but rallied for another 65.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland had eight birdies before making a lone bogey on his next-to-last hole in a 64 and is in a huge tie for 10th that includes fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, who had four birdies on the back nine in a 65, and sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, whose seventh birdie on the last hole gave him another 64.
Also in the tie for 10th are Alex Smalley (62); Corey Conners of Canada (65); Austin Eckroat (65); Ludvig Aberg of Sweden (65); Emiliano Grillo of Argentina (65); Greyson Sigg (66); Brian Harman (66); Kevin Yu of Taiwan (67), and Sungjae Im of South Korea (67).
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler had two birdies and two bogeys in a 70 to put him in a tie for 22nd that includes fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who had three early birdies in a 68, while eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England is tied for 32nd following a second straight 67.
Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain finished at 67-71—138 and missed the cut by two strokes, while ninth-seeded Max Homa of Valencia and Cal wound up at 72-65—137 to miss the weekend by one.
For complete results and third-round pairings, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard