Add 2018 to Bubba Watson’s 2010 and 2015 Travelers Championship titles; the American won his third title at TPC River Highlands with a final-round 63 to overturn a six-shot deficit to Paul Casey.
Watson has made a knack of repeat wins with two Masters titles and two Northern Trust Open scalps but now the Travelers Championship is his most prolific stomping ground after emerging from Casey’s chasing pack.
Starting Sunday with a four-shot lead at 16-under, Casey only really needed to scrape under par with his final-round to ensure a 12th career title.
And it looked as though there would be no stopping him as he began in perfect fashion with a birdie from over the back of the green on the first.
But that was levelled out by a bogey five on the fifth and Casey was back to 16-under where he would remain for the next 10 holes with straight pars as his round failed to get moving.
Stewart Cink and J.B. Holmes both meekly threatened Casey’s hold at the top but it was Watson who, with seven birdies and one bogey to sit at six-under for the round, had tied Casey’s lead after the 15th.
Watson ended his charge in spectacular fashion with a 365-yard drive and 77-yard wedge to a foot to set up the simplest of closing birdies. A 63 had taken the two-time Masters champion from six shots back to the solo lead at 17-under.
W O W 😍
Bubba takes the outright lead with THIS approach to the 18th!
— The Caddy’s Review (@TheCaddysReview) June 24, 2018
By this point Casey was through 14 holes and had just four more chances (around TPC River Highlands’ treacherous water) to catch Watson. The sub-300-yard par four 15th proved wasteful as he found the sand and could only manage an out and two putts for par.
The chip on the 16th was far more inspiring, though. From off the back of the green Casey faced an awkward short pitch with little green to work with and did well to end five-feet away. Nerves started to take a hold of Casey and he pushed his simple putt wide of the cup and left himself a tricky return; he would make that one but a bogey dropped him to two off Watson out in front.
The mountain Casey had, in all honesty, created for himself was one too big to climb and another bogey on 17 left the Englishman at 14-under and in a tie for second with J.B. Holmes, Stewart Cink and Beau Hossler. Casey had been caught by the entirety of the 54-hole chasing pack.
Nevertheless, not that that mattered in the end as it was calm and unchallenged for Watson whose third Travelers title was his 13th on the PGA Tour and his third this season alone.