CROMWELL, Conn. — Bubba Watson shot a 3-under-par 67 on Friday to take a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Travelers Championship, but spent part of his press conference talking about baseball and football.
Watson, who won the first of his four PGA Tour titles here in 2010, is 10 under, with Patrick Reed (66) and Padraig Harrington (66) his closest pursuers. Hunter Mahan (71) is part of the four-player group another shot back, at 7 under.
In his last 15 rounds at TPC River Highlands, dating to the final round in 2009, Watson has been under par (and thus, in the 60s) on 14 occasions. His stroke average in that span is 66.4.
“The tee shots and everything set up well for me. I like the way they look,” Watson said. “Generous fairways, and it’s playable from the rough, unlike last week.”
After a tie for 32d at the US Open, Watson’s Travelers week was supposed to start by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s Yankees game. But it was rained out, costing Watson a chance to show off his form.
“My dad wanted me to play for the Yankees one day, but I chose golf instead of baseball,” Watson said. “He was upset for a couple of months, but then he got over it when I won for the first time.”
Watson has also struck up a friendship over the years with Tim Tebow, and was asked about the Patriots’ recent roster acquisition.
“I think it’s good. Maybe he’ll start over Tom Brady,” he said, laughing. “I just had to say that. Sorry, Tim. No, I think it’s good.
“When you look at Tim, you’re looking at a leader, a role model, gracious in defeat, gracious in winning. I think you can learn a lot from him. I think the locker room gets stronger with a guy like Tim, and I think that’s what teams are looking at. They’re looking at what he can do for the team.”
A 65 for Bradley
Of the four players in the field with Massachusetts ties, Keegan Bradley was the only one to make the cut. His second-round 65 tied Tag Ridings and Henrik Norlander for the low round of the day, and it was his lowest score since a first-round 60 at the Byron Nelson more than a month ago.
“I feel great. Today’s 65 could have been 62 or 63 easy,” said Bradley, who leads the field by hitting 32 of 36 greens in regulation. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”
The other three locals — Bradley’s Hopkinton High teammate, Jon Curran, James Driscoll, and Fran Quinn — missed the cut. Curran had 69, Driscoll and Quinn 73. Curran and Driscoll finished at 1 over, one shot too high. Quinn was 4 over.
Quinn was frustrated with his two rounds. The Holden resident was putting for birdie 14 times in the first round, and missed only two fairways in the second round. He failed to break par either day. “I’m playing better than I’m scoring,” Quinn said.
Rose an early riser
Justin Rose predicted he’d be tired this week, still coming down from the high and hectic schedule of winning the US Open. With a 7:40 a.m. tee time for his second round, and the seventh game of the NBA Finals pushing toward midnight the night before, Rose was dreading Friday’s early wake-up call.
“Getting up this morning was a tough one. I ended up only having like 30 minutes to warm up,” Rose said. “Just try and keep the momentum going, keep the adrenaline going for Sunday.”
Rose had a 68, and is tied for 12th at 5 under after two rounds. He’s trying to become the first player to win a PGA Tour event the week after capturing the US Open since Ernie Els in 1997.
Also missing the cut, which came at even-par 140: Jason Dufner, Brad Faxon, Lucas Glover, Davis Love, and John Daly. Getting in on the number was among others, Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, and Tim Clark . . . Joey Snyder also missed the cut, but he made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, the 36th ace in tournament history . . . One day after shooting 61, the lowest round of his PGA Tour career, first-round leader Charley Hoffman had 73. The difference? Fewer fairways hit, fewer greens in regulation, five more putts . . . Defending champion Marc Leishman is at 4 under after a 70. The last player to win back-to-back at the Travelers? Phil Mickelson, in 2001-02 . . . Gary Woodland, who opened with 72, withdrew before the second round.