CROMWELL, Conn. Triple Triple Champion Bubba Watson picked up 3 strokes Kramer Hickok over the last two holes, and on Saturday shot a 2-under-68 at TPC River Highlands to draw for the lead with the minor tournament regularly at 10 under par.
Hickock, who has never won a PGA Tour event, was 12 under – 2 strokes ahead Jason Day and 3 ahead of Watson – on his way to the 17th before flying the green and missing a 10-foot par-hole. He was another shot ahead of the final pair before hitting the no. 18 off 8 feet to finish with a 68 and fall back in a draw.
“I’ve been in a fight before,” said Hickok, who won on the Korn Ferry Tour and the Canadian Mackenzie Tour. “I know the nerves are going to be there. It’s just to embrace the nerves, not to try to fight it. I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I am. ‘
Watson has the no. 17 on the leaderboard to move to 10 bottom and then a 5-foot birdie hole at no. 18 missing. Day, the overnight leader, sat in front of the hole from 22 feet to finish a bow at 70 and minus 9, tied for third place with Cameron Smith (66) and Russell Henley (68).
Three players were a hold back again.
Defending Champion Dustin Johnson, who flew the last two holes on Friday to lower the number, shot 65 to climb to ninth-place at minus-7. The former world no. 1, the clubhouse reached just 2 strokes of Day’s 36-hole lead.
“To bird the last two yesterday to make the cut, which I definitely wanted to be here for the weekend, and of course to go out today and shoot a nice score, that was good,” he said. “So I feel like the game is coming.”
Johnson shot 61 on Saturday last year to move from a tie for the twentieth to second place, 2 strokes behind the leader Brendon Todd. His victory was his first in 490 days; a win on Sunday would earn him his first win of 2021.
Watson won the tournament in 2010, ’15 and ’18.