Brendon Todd takes the Travelers lead in the bid for the third win

CROMWELL, Conn. – When you’re pretty isolated in the area, and we suspect you hit all 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens, and bring your ghost-free streak to 50 holes, like Brendon Todd did in his 9-under 61 today in the Travelers Championship , it constitutes being “in the zone”, so you don’t have time for history lessons.

But, oh, how his playing competitors could have scolded him.

“Let me tell you about 2014,” Kevin Streelman might have said. “I followed four to start the final round, birdied each of my last seven holes, shot 64, and won.”

“Impressive”, Marc Leishman could have countered. “But my effort two years ago was not bad, friend. I came out here on Saturday in a twentieth tie, six-lap, bogey 62 free kick on Sunday, and he won. “

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Admittedly, in the solitude of Saturday morning, even with the leaders on the road to help overcome the turbulent afternoon weather, it was not the time to walk down the memory lane. In addition, Streelman was enjoying the ball-kicking clinic organized by his competitor.

“He put in perfectly,” Streelman said, after seeing Todd use just 25 putts to birdie half his holes. “Every putt within 15, 20 feet looks like it’s going to go in, and today most of them went in. It’s always been an amazing putter.” He’s doing very well, and when he’s getting well, it’s hard to beat. “

Well indicated and saturated with diplomacy, but here at TPC River Highlands, virtually every competitor knows that there has never been anything like a “lead safe”, that his rearview mirror is always clogged with tailgaters, so it’s best to keep the Foot pedal Streelman and Leishman are just two of the 13 winners since 2000 who have come from behind on Sunday to win.

As proof of how you can speedboat here, consider how brilliantly as Todd played, and pushed 18 below 192 to gain a two-shot lead, he only hit the low round of the day. A few groups earlier, esteemed Dustin Johnson admitted that his morning “was a pretty easy 61.”

Hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens put Johnson in the pass lane, in a big way; Five behind 36-hole leader Phil Mickelson, Johnson climbed to second place, with 16 under 194.

Not that it’s a two-man race. Not with the history of this tournament. That means Streelman, who shot 63 and is only in third place, is very much alive, three behind Todd, and also Mackenzie Hughes (68), who has four back. Those who are five back, Bryson DeChambeau (65) and Kevin Na (65), would even have to be considered on the hunt, given the history of the fourth round in the Travelers.

But Rory McIlroy (69-200, T-18 and eight behind) sets the stop sign.

“Too far behind and too many people,” said the world No. 1 after a day where he could have used many of the hitting prowess shown by Todd and Johnson. (McIlroy hit just eight fairways and 11 greens.)

Even after you embrace the deep story of returns here and respect those within five of the lead, it’s worth admiring the contrast in the final matchmaking as it provides further evidence that golf is tasty.

Todd, who turns 35 next month, and Johnson, who turned 36 last Monday, hail from the same part of the country (Todd from Georgia, Johnson from South Carolina) and became professionals in 2007. But it could stop. with the similarities there. , given the routes they have been on.

By the time Todd won his first PGA TOUR tournament in 2014, Johnson had eight wins and was a megastar. Seemingly oblivious to stress, Johnson may laugh at that perception and tell him that he is sorry “much more than you think, (but) I try not to show it.”

What he can’t hide is a brilliant resume (20 PGA TOUR wins, a US Open title, No. 1 seats in the world) and a walker who if he could bottle and sell it would give him millions. While he seems unable to play bad, Todd presents a different side of the equation and that makes him him. . . well, someone to look up to, a guy overflowing with humanity.

Take those dark years, for example, 2016-19, a period during which Todd made 12 cuts in 55 starts. Talk about an easy way out, a simple reason to quit smoking. However, Todd did not. If you look with perseverance and don’t see his photo, you have an inferior dictionary and when he stands next to Johnson on the first tee on Sunday afternoon, only one of them can say that he won a tournament in this 2019- Season 20, season disjointed.

That would be Todd, who consecutively prevailed last fall, at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. Crazy, that pairing. The continuation of a vintage feel-good story and the continuation of a career that has been consistently pure.

Admire the history, but then take a deep breath and study your history of the Travelers Championship. Many other competitors have a chance on Sunday.