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Brendon Todd, Dustin Johnson shoot 61s to surge at Travelers

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CROMWELL, Conn. — Brendon Todd has won three PGA Tour events, two of which came this year.

You just haven’t heard of him.

Dustin Johnson has 20 career PGA Tour wins, including one major championship, has won at least one tournament a year for a remarkable 12 consecutive years dating back to 2008 and he’s married to Paulina Gretzky.

You’ve heard of him.

That’s your final-round pairing at the Travelers Championship on Sunday at TPC River Highlands.

On a moving-day Saturday with calm conditions ripe for low scoring, both Todd and Johnson went low — firing 9-under 61s. Todd, at 18-under, has a two-shot lead over Johnson.

Just behind those two is Kevin Streelman, who won the 2014 Travelers after he closed the tournament with seven consecutive birdies, at 15-under. Then Mackenzie Hughes, who took the first-round lead with a tournament-low 60. He’s 14-under. Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na are both 13-under.

Phil Mickelson, who took a one-shot lead into Saturday after shooting 63 on Friday, slipped to 12-under with a 1-over 71 in his third round.

Todd, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Bermuda Championship earlier this year (and in consecutive weeks), was asked if it’ll take another 61 to win on Sunday.

“It very well could,’’ he said. “That just depends on how the four or five guys behind me play. My job is going to be to go out there and get off to a good start and just try to make as many birdies as I can and see if I can’t shoot another good round.’’

Brendon Todd
Brendon ToddGetty Images

Todd said he didn’t do a lot of scoreboard watching Saturday. He surely will Sunday.

“Today, I wasn’t really too worried about it because I knew that it was a positioning day,’’ Todd said. “It really was a moving day, so I was just trying to get as low as I could, and if anything just use the leaderboard as motivation.’’

He believes the pairing with Johnson is a good one for him despite the disparity in career accomplishments.

“He’s easy to play with, nice guy, doesn’t show too much emotion out there,’’ Todd said. “I think we’re going to have a really good time and probably a really good battle. It seems like he’s starting to play really well and make some putts and we’re both kind of peaking this week at the same time, so hopefully we can both go low.’’

Johnson called his Saturday round “a pretty easy 61,’’ adding that it could have been lower had he made a few more short putts.

“It always could have been better,’’ he said. “I hit a lot of nice putts that hit the hole from that eight- to 10-foot range — probably had four, five or six of them that I probably should have made.

“I gave myself a lot of looks. Every hole, I felt like I was giving myself an opportunity to make birdie.’’

Johnson always looks like nothing bothers him on the golf course. He, however, has yet to win in 2020, which means his remarkable consecutive year win streak is in the balance with a great chance Sunday.

“I try not to show it,’’ Johnson said of any stress he might feel on the golf course. “Today, I hit a lot of good iron shots, so there wasn’t really any much of a struggle. I felt like I gave myself really good birdie opportunities on every hole.’’

Streelman, based on his 2014 history at this tournament, knows a thing or two about birdie opportunities.

“I think I shot 64 that Saturday [in 2014] so was able to beat that by a shot,’’ he said of Saturday’s 63. “But the way Brendon and DJ are playing, it’s going to take another great one [Sunday]. The course is just playing beautifully, the greens are perfect, and without much wind we’re able to attack a lot of the golf course. If you don’t shoot at least 3-, 4-, 5-under par you’re going to be losing ground.’’

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