Travelers Championship leaderboard: Who’s on top after 3 rounds?

Bubba Watson shares the 54-hole lead at the Travelers Championship.

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After a blustery afternoon in Cromwell, Conn., 38 players are within five shots of the lead. They include the defending champion, a three-time winner of the tournament and a guy named Kramer who is not the dude from “Seinfeld.”

Now that the third round is in the books, here are three things you need to know heading into Sunday’s final leg of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

1. Bubba is back!

There are horses for courses, and you can count Bubba Watson among the thoroughbreds who feel right at home at this Pete Dye-designed track. Watson’s break-through win on Tour came at this venue in 2010, when he bested Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff. He captured a second Travelers title in 2014, and a third in 2018.

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The 2021 season has been a sleepy one for Watson, who has just one top 25 this calendar year. But TPC River Highlands has once again brought out his best. In windy conditions Saturday, Watson fired a 2-under 68 to put himself in the final pairing Sunday, well-positioned to claim his fourth victory in this event.

2. DJ is in the mix

No player made more of moving day than defending champion Dustin Johnson. Teeing off in the morning, before 25 mile-per-hour-gusts kicked up to complicate matters for his competition, Johnson carded Saturday’s lowest score, a 5-under 65 that vaulted him 49 spots up the leaderboard. He enters Sunday’s final round in tie for 9th with seven other players, at 7-under for the tournament.

3. There’s karma, Kramer!

Bubba coulda, woulda claimed the solo lead heading into Sunday, but when his short bid for birdie went begging on 18, it left him in a tie for first with Kramer. No, not THAT Kramer. We’re talking 29-year-old Kramer Hickok, who played his collegiate golf at the University of Texas and earned his PGA Tour card by way of a Top-50 finish in 2019 on the Korn Ferry Tour.

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Hickok has cashed first-place checks before, on both the Korn Ferry and Forme tours. But his best finish on the big stage was a T8 at the Bermuda Championship this past November. With back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes on Saturday, Hickok got it to 12-under to take the lead alone and etch his name into the trivia books. Unbeknownst to him, in that shining moment, he became the first golfer with the first name of Kramer to ever hold the lead in a PGA Tour event.

The stand-alone glory was short lived, as Hickok stumbled two holes to drop back to 10-under. He’ll play alongside Bubba in Sunday’s final pairing. “Eighteen was a little bit of adrenaline, I’m not going to lie,” Hickok said of his errant wedge-shot approach on his final hole of the day, which gave way to his second-consecutive bogey 5.

josh sens

Josh Sens Photographer

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.