CROMWELL — Charley Hoffman lost his chance at winning last year’s Travelers Championship on the 71st hole.
His tee shot on the difficult par-4 17th at the TPC of River Highlands found the pond that runs along the fairway and he finished second, missing out on his third PGA Tour win.
This year Hoffman is in a three-way tie for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round and he expects a different outcome.
“Obviously if I get on 17 tee (in the lead), I’d be lying to say I’m not going to think about that tee shot,” Hoffman said Saturday after his 4-under 66 tied him with Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet at 10-under 200.
“But I’m a much more mature, better player than I was a year ago and don’t feel uncomfortable on that tee shot.”
Watson, who led by two shots when he began the third round and by four shots midway through it, made three bogeys in his last six holes to help create the logjam. DeLaet tied for the low round of the day with a 65.
Chris Stroud and Nick O’Hearn are one shot back of the leaders at 9 under, while Ken Duke’s 65 put him alone in sixth place.
Justin Rose, less than a week after his U.S. Open victory, is 7 under and in a tie for seventh after a second straight 68.
After shooting a 61 in the opening round, Hoffman struggled and shot 73 on Friday. He bounced back with a 66 Saturday that included five birdies.
“I got off to a pretty quick start and then birdied 10, thought I was going to get going again,” Hoffman said. “And then a little three-putt bogey on 12 sort of slowed things down.”
Watson made three birdies in his first six holes Saturday and was ahead by four shots after the third. But bogeys on Nos. 13, 15 and 17 brought the 2011 Masters champion back to the field.
Watson, who won the 2010 Travelers, is trying to become the seventh man to win the event at least twice. Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson have also done it.
“I hit some shots today that were really good, quality shots,” said Watson, who shot an even-par 70. “I got a couple bad breaks here and there, but that’s golf. At the end of the day I still have a chance on Sunday and that’s what we’re always looking for.”
Lewis leads group
atop NW Arkansas
ROGERS, Ark. — Stacy Lewis made four straight birdies and eight overall to shoot a 6-under 65 on Saturday and join a group of four players atop the leaderboard at 10 under after the second round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.
Lewis, the world’s No. 2 player, earned an unofficial win at the rain-shortened event as an amateur in 2007. She is the local favorite this week, having played collegiately at Arkansas.
Chie Arimura and Beatriz Recari both equaled Lewis’ 65 and are tied entering the final round with So Yeon Ryu.
I.K. Kim and defending champion Ai Miyazato tied for the lowest round of the day, each shooting a 7-under 64.
First-round leader Mika Miyazato shot a 70 and is three shots back.
after 7-under 65
GLENVIEW, Ill. — Craig Stadler grabbed the outright lead at the Encompass Championship on Saturday, birdieing three of the four par-5s in a 7-under 65 Saturday that put him two shots ahead of Bob Tway and Jeff Sluman.
Stadler’s second round at North Shore Country Club included an inward nine of 4-under 32 that left him at 12-under 132. Tway also scored 65 and Sluman had 66 that included eight birdies and two bogeys.
David Frost was fourth three strokes back after a 67 that included six birdies.
Steve Pate, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer are tied for fifth at 8 under. Calcavecchia and Langer added 69s to their opening 67s, while Pate and Lehman scored shot 66 in the second round.
Stadler had a share of the overnight lead with a Langer and Duffy Waldorf.