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Travelers Notebook

James Driscoll in contention at Travelers

First tour victory is within his reach

Jim Rogash/Associated Press

James Driscoll shot a second straight 66 to sit tied for third at the Travelers Championship, two off the lead.

CROMWELL, Conn. - A second straight 66 has James Driscoll tied for third place after three rounds at the Travelers Championship, putting him in contention for his first PGA Tour victory.

Driscoll, who finished fifth at the Travelers last year, is 10 under par and will start Sunday’s final round two shots behind two players also looking for their first tour win: Brian Davis, who shot a third-round 64, and Roland Thatcher (65). Driscoll will be in the next-to-last group on Sunday, paired with John Rollins (65).

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The Boston resident, who grew up playing at Charles River Country Club and later attended the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., figures to be the local favorite in the final round.

“I think there will be a bit of a rowdy crowd tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it,’’ Driscoll said.

“I’ve played well the first three rounds, and hopefully I can just keep it going and have one more good day.’’

Driscoll, who finished off the final 16 holes of his rain-delayed second round Saturday morning (he shot 66 then, too), jumped up to a tie for third on the strength of an eagle at the short par-4 15th hole.

His best tour finish is second, which has happened twice. His best showing this year is a tie for eighth at the Shell Houston Open.

What kind of an opportunity has he created for himself here?

“A good one,’’ said Driscoll. “There’s a few guys in front of me, but I’ve definitely got a chance, and if I play great tomorrow maybe I can get my first one.

“But I can probably play great and still not get it, so I’ve just got to take care of what I can control, and try to play great.’’

Reduced rate

A whopping 88 players made the 36-hole cut, prompting another cut after the third round to get to the low 70 and ties.

The big 36-hole cut number - the second-most players to make the cut in tournament history (91 in 1981) and this year on the PGA Tour (90 at the Shell Houston Open) - and the late start due to Friday’s weather delays meant that players were sent off the first and 10th tees in threesomes for the third round.

It also drastically slowed play, since there were 30 groups on the course for much of the round. Most needed roughly 5 hours 15 minutes to finish.

Twosomes will be used for the final round, starting on No. 1.

Twisting in wind

It got windy Saturday afternoon, at least on parts of the golf course.

At No. 11, a downhill par-3 that played 152 yards, the breeze was swirling strongly, with Charley Hoffman backing off twice and calling his caddie over twice to discuss club selection. He never changed clubs and left his tee shot short of the green.

While Tommy Gainey was getting ready to hit, he backed off twice, including once when a large bird’s nest came crashing down left of the tee, almost hitting a tournament volunteer.

Gainey never changed clubs, either, and knocked his shot on the green to 22 feet. He made his birdie putt.

Fast start

Chris Stroud, George McNeill, and Sean O’Hair did what they could to speed up play, at least on the first hole. Stroud bunkered his second to the par-4, while the approach shots from O’Hair and McNeil were a few yards short of the green. No problem. Stroud blasted out of the bunker to 6 inches. O’Hair followed with a chip to 4 inches. Both players tapped in, then McNeil chipped in for birdie . . . Keegan Bradley had an up-and-down third round: five birdies, three bogeys, and a double bogey on No. 13, when his drive found the water. He shot 70 and is at 4 under . . . US Open winner Webb Simpson is at 7 under after a 68, while Masters champion Bubba Watson is a shot better after a third-round 65 . . . Zach Johnson, who made a triple bogey and double bogey at No. 17 the first two rounds, managed a par in the third and shot 70.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.
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