Bubba Watson claims third Travelers Championship win as Paul Casey flounders
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 25/06/18 12:03am
Bubba Watson stormed to his third victory of the year as he claimed a hat-trick of Travelers Championship titles after Paul Casey's game deserted him on the final day.
Casey opened up a commanding four-shot lead over the field following his superb 62 on Saturday, but he made several errors over his final 18 holes and found water twice down the stretch in a disappointing 72.
That left the Englishman three shots adrift of Watson, who piled the pressure on Casey with five birdies on the back nine, holing from three feet at the last after almost hitting the pin with his approach to cap an outstanding seven-under 63 which would prove enough for a comfortable win on 17 under par.
Watson had been six behind overnight and got off to a slow start before making birdies at the fifth and sixth, only to give one shot back at the short eighth after he pulled his tee shot into the left rough.
But he got back on track with an uplifting birdie at the ninth, where his mammoth 356-yard drive almost found the green, and the two-time Masters champion promoted a huge roar when he holed from 50 feet for a bonus birdie at 10.
With Casey rarely threatening birdies and scrambling pars, Watson kept the hammer down and nailed further clutch birdie putts at 12 and 13 before adding another following a sublime bunker splash-out at the driveable 15th.
And after two cast-iron pars, Watson closed out his round in style as he followed yet another huge drive with an arrow-straight pitch from inside 80 yards that came within inches of hopping into the cup for a rare eagle-two.
Watson rattled in the birdie putt which left him one ahead of Casey at the time, but the Englishman was unable to avoid the errors which scuppered his challenge as bogeys at 16 and 17 ended his hopes of atoning for his play-off defeat to the left-hander three years ago.
Casey made a nervy start as a wayward drive off the first looked to be heading for trouble until it kicked back into the fairway, and after missing the green with his second, he holed from 20 feet for an unlikely birdie.
But that proved to be his only red number of the day, and he dropped his first shot at the fifth and was forced to scramble hard to save par on a number of holes, including a brilliant 30-foot putt at the 10th after his tee shot came to rest next to a tree.
Casey stayed in the hunt thanks to another great save at the 13th, where he blocked his drive into the water on the right, and he was unable to take advantage of the short par-four 15th after bunkering his tee shot just as Watson was signing his card.
A dejected Casey then missed from inside four feet to drop another shot at 16, and his race was effectively run when he carved a fairway wood into the drink at the penultimate hole.
A par at the last left Casey in a share of second place on 14 under with the American trio of Stewart Cink, JB Holmes and Beau Hossler.
Cink was the biggest mover on the day as he fired a career-best 62 that featured birdies at six of the first seven holes, while Holmes cost himself outright second when he made a mess of the last and missed from inside six feet to bogey in a frustrating end to a 67.
Rory McIlroy enjoyed a spirited finish as he birdied two of the last four holes to card a 67 which lifted him to 11 under alongside Jason Day, who salvaged a 69 with birdies at four of the last five including a sensational chip-in from the rough at the 18th.