Dustin Johnson breathing down Brendon Todd’s neck after 61

Rory McIlroy drops off the pace after a third round 69 in Travelers Championship

Dustin Johnson is two shots off the lead in Connecticut. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty

Dustin Johnson is two shots off the lead in Connecticut. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty

 

Dustin Johnson shot the lowest round of his PGA Tour career to catapult himself into contention at the Travelers Championship, as Rory McIlroy slipped down the leaderboard on Saturday.

Johnson shot a bogey-free 61 on day three at TPC River Highlands to reach 16 under par and sit two strokes behind fellow American Brendon Todd at the summit.

Like Johnson, Todd also notched nine birdies and no bogeys to put himself in a strong position to earn his third PGA Tour title of the campaign.

Things could have been even better for Todd, who had a brilliant chance to make a 60, but he missed his 10-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

Todd told the PGA Tour website: “It’s hard to miss the leaderboards obviously, so (Johnson’s) name was up there from a pretty early point.

Brendon Todd has a two-stroke lead in the Travelers Championship with one round to play. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty
Brendon Todd has a two-stroke lead in the Travelers Championship with one round to play. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty

“Again, I just use it as motivation to go out there and make some more birdies.”

Major champion Johnson fired four birdies on his front nine before making further gains on the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th, but he could only finish the day in outright second following Todd’s impressive charge.

Kevin Streelman was a single shot behind Johnson in third after finishing his 63 with a birdie from five feet on the 18th.

World number one McIlroy began the day four shots off the lead but will head into the final round eight strokes behind Todd after mixing five birdies with four bogeys in a 69.

Norway’s Viktor Hovland was the highest-placed European, in a tie for 12th, courtesy of his 67.

The PGA Tour announced that all follow-up Covid-19 tests as a result of potential contact with American Denny McCarthy, who on Friday became the seventh player to withdraw from the event for coronavirus-related reasons, were negative.

That includes Jason Day, who requested a test before the third round and played on his own as a precautionary measure.

Via a statement on its official website, the PGA Tour announced on Saturday that it was updating its Covid-19 testing protocols from next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The statement read: “Effective immediately with the Rocket Mortgage Classic, players and caddies, along with all other individuals ”inside the bubble“ will not be allowed on property until first being cleared with a negative in-market test.

“Previously, players and caddies could be on site to practise as they awaited their arrival testing results, but without access to any indoor facilities.

Rory McIlroy fell off the pace with a 69 on Saturday. Photograph: Elsa/Getty
Rory McIlroy fell off the pace with a 69 on Saturday. Photograph: Elsa/Getty

“The Tour is taking that precaution one step further to add an additional safety measure in that no player nor caddie will be on site — anywhere — to start the week, without first being cleared through Covid-19 screening.

“Again, this same policy will apply to all individuals inside the bubble, such as independent physios, instructors, staff and others.”

Collated third round scores and totals in the Travelers Championship (USA unless stated, par 70):

192 Brendon Todd 66 65 61

194 Dustin Johnson 69 64 61

195 Kevin Streelman 66 66 63

196 Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 60 68 68

197 Kevin Na 66 66 65, Bryson DeChambeau 65 67 65

198 Phil Mickelson 64 63 71, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 67 65 66, Seung-Yul Noh (Kor) 64 68 66, Scott Stallings 66 68 64, Patton Kizzire 66 66 66

199 Brendan Steele 69 62 68, Charley Hoffman 67 67 65, Zach Johnson 68 64 67, Kyle Stanley 69 65 65, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 63 69 67, Will Gordon 66 62 71

200 Brian Stuard 65 67 68, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 63 68 69, Wesley Bryan 67 66 67, Jon Rahm (Spa) 66 68 66

201 Xander Schauffele 63 68 70, Adam Long 67 69 65, Ryan Armour 67 66 68, Lanto Griffin 66 67 68, Tom Hoge 67 68 66

202 Sung Kang (Kor) 65 67 70, Patrick Cantlay 66 67 69, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 68 66 68, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 66 68, Hank Lebioda 69 67 66, Sam Burns 68 66 68, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 66 67, Brandt Snedeker 67 69 66

203 Joel Dahmen 67 68 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 66 65 72, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 71 65 67, Tyler Duncan 64 70 69

204 Henrik Norlander (Swe) 68 68 68, Harold Varner III 66 69 69, Aaron Wise 68 67 69, Mark Hubbard 68 66 70, Chez Reavie 70 66 68, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 67 66 71, Doc Redman 68 67 69, Jim Furyk 69 65 70, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 64 70 70, Troy Merritt 68 64 72

205 Jason Day (Aus) 67 69 69, Austin Cook 71 65 69, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 68 68 69, Lucas Glover 66 68 71, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 64 70 71, Kevin Chappell 68 68 69, Michael Thompson 64 71 70, Joseph Bramlett 69 65 71, Patrick Reed 70 66 69, Jordan Spieth 67 69 69

206 Richy Werenski 67 68 71, Russell Henley 65 69 72

207 Scott Brown 69 66 72, Roger Sloan (Can) 67 69 71, Luke Donald (Eng) 69 65 73, Sungjae Im (Kor) 68 68 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 65 70 72

209 Shane Lowry (Irl) 66 69 74, Ian Poulter (Eng) 67 69 73

211 Greg Chalmers (Aus) 69 67 75

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