Travelers Championship notebook: Bryson DeChambeau thinks he’ll win in Cromwell at ‘some point,’ sits three shots back heading into final round

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Eventually, it seems, Bryson DeChambeau will be in the mix to hoist a trophy in Cromwell. The sixth-ranked golfer in the world was among the betting favorites to win the Travelers Championship this week.

He’s finished top 10 in three straight starts at TPC River Highlands, and built on his previous start each time. He tied for ninth in 2018, tied for eighth in 2019 and tied for sixth last year.

Even the 27-year-old himself knows that some year — sooner rather than later, he hopes — it should be his turn to celebrate on the 18th green come Sunday.

“I love this golf course through and through,” DeChambeau said after Friday’s second round. “I feel like there are so many opportunities ... It feels like at some point I’ll win out here.”

Maybe it will be this year.

DeChambeau inched a bit closer to the top of the board Saturday with a 2-under 68. He shot 69 on Thursday, 66 on Friday and sits at 7-under ahead of the final round — just three shots back of co-leaders Kramer Hickok and Bubba Watson (10 under).

“I just didn’t go low like I wanted to, unfortunately,” DeChambeau said after Saturday’s third round. “Still striking it pretty well. Couple errant shots here and there. One-over on 15, even-par on 2, and didn’t make birdie today on 9. Just feel like that would escalate me up to the top of the leaderboard if I do those things right. It’s just a little off still.

“But hopefully when everything comes together I can win by a lot.”

The 2020 U.S. Open champion played near-mistake free golf, with a bogey on the fourth hole as the lone blemish. He shot 1-under on the front nine and did the same on the back to keep himself entrenched in the busy leaderboard.

He’s proven he can score at TPC River Highlands. He’s shot 64, 65 twice and 66 five times. He knows it will take that — and then some — to make 2021 the year he breaks through in Connecticut.

“It’s going to take 7- or 8-under for sure [Sunday], which can happen out here,” DeChambeau said. “You just got to execute shots and be confident and make some good putts. Greens are a little bumpy this year. It is what it is. Everybody has to play on them. It’s whoever makes the most putts. I just got to read them better and roll it better.”

Aces wild

Abraham Ancer and Kyle Stanley had no issues with the eighth hole Saturday, as each recorded a hole-in-one on the 179-yard par-3.

Ancer hit his 7-iron 180 yards onto the green and back into the hole for his second ever ace, the first of which came at last year’s Travelers Championship on the 16th hole. Ancer joins Glen Day as the only two players with multiple holes-in-one at TPC River Highlands (Day posted two in the 1994 tournament).

Because Ancer started early (7:45 a.m.) and the television broadcast hadn’t started, the 30-year-old’s hole-in-one wasn’t caught on camera. Per tradition, those who record aces send beer over to the media center. Taped to the fridge with the beverages was a note from Ancer: “There’s no video, but I promise it happened!”

Just an hour after Ancer aced No. 8, Stanley did too — also with a 7-iron. It’s the first time since 2016 (Ernie Els and Si Woo Kim) that multiple aces were recorded in the same Travelers Championship.

Ancer finished his day at 4-under, tied for 17th. Stanley is tied for 45th at 1-under.

Grinder Garnett builds on second-round performance

Brice Garnett’s professional golf career hasn’t quite been a fairy tale.

After he wrapped up a decorated career at Division II Missouri Western State University, Garnett played on the Adams Pro Tour (2007-09), the Web.com tour (2009-13) before finally breaking onto the PGA Tour in 2014. His stay on the highest level of golf lasted just two years, though, as he finished 177th on the circuit in 2016 and lost his tour card. He attended qualifying school in 2017 to earn a spot on the Web.com tour where he won twice that year. He returned to the PGA Tour in 2018, won his first tournament and has stayed ever since.

Now through three rounds at the Travelers Championship, Garnett is in contention for his second ever win. After finishing Friday tied for fourth at 7-under par, Garnett shot a 1-under 69 to drop to 8-under, tied for sixth with K.H. Lee and Harris English.

“It was a good day,” Garnett said. “I got off to a good start on the front nine and then hit some poor shots. Misjudged the wind a little bit on the back nine. Made some bogeys. Hung in there and came in under par, I think couple three, four back maybe. So give us a shot for tomorrow.”

Shawn McFarland can be reached at smcfarland@courant.com.

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