Denny McCarthy fired 10 birdies in a 10-under-par 60 on Thursday to grab a two-shot lead over Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley in the US PGA Tour Traveler’s Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
McCarthy, chasing a first tour title, came astonishingly close to a 59, his approach from the fairway at his final hole, the par-four ninth, bouncing short of the green and finding the putting surface to roll past the edge of the cup.
“Saw it kick and couldn’t see the rest,” said McCarthy, who had opted to go with a seven-iron for the 170-yard shot. “In the air I wasn’t expecting it to be anywhere close to going in, but obviously it was exciting that it had a chance.”
McCarthy’s late-afternoon round capped a day of low scoring on the par-70 TPC River Highlands course, where 91 players shot in the 60s.
“My last two events have been US Open and Memorial, so coming into a place that doesn’t quite beat you up as much, it’s a little bit of a mindset change,” said McCarthy, who fell to Viktor Hovland in a playoff at the Memorial earlier this month. “It was nice to know from the start that it was gettable.”
McCarthy “came out firing” at the 10th hole and was rewarded with birdies at his first four holes with another at the 15th.
He put together another spurt at the first, second and third and was nine-under after a birdie at the par-five sixth, where he missed the green but drained a seven-foot birdie putt.
Aussie veteran Scott also threatened to break 60. He was nine-under through 15 holes but found the water with his second shot from the fairway at 17 on the way to a double bogey.
Scott rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at 18 to join Bradley on eight-under.
Bradley had set the target with a round that featured nine birdies, including five in a row from the 10th through the 14th to start his round.
“Really good stuff out there today,” Scott said. “Plenty of good shots and I was rolling the putter great.”
As for 17, he said, he could only speculate as to what went wrong.
“The wind was just moving around a little bit the last few holes between kind of east and northeast and north and no wind, and felt like there was none really when I was hitting.
“But it came up well short, so maybe got caught in something, because the next shot the same club went 15 yards further. It’s a shame, but it’s hard to be disappointed with 62.”
– McIlroy ace –
World number one Scottie Scheffler, coming off a third-placed finish behind Wyndham Clark and Rory McIlroy at the US Open on Sunday, had seven birdies in his seven-under-par 63.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry, Chez Reavie and Eric Cole shared fifth on 64.
McIlroy nabbed his first hole in one on the PGA Tour at the par-three eighth hole, but two late bogeys saw him settle for a two-under 68.
That left him tied with Clark, who acknowledged he might have been experiencing a bit of “brain fog” in the wake of his first major championship.
Even so, Clark said he’s been enjoying his week, which has included some “pretty amazing” texts from “some pretty influential people.”
A New York media blitz included television morning news programmes and ESPN appearances and also “running into some big time celebrities that knew who I was and wanted to take a picture with me rather than vice versa,” Clark said.
© Agence France-Presse