June 27, 2020 / 6:57 PM / 14 days ago

Todd charges into lead with 61 at Travelers

(Reuters) - Brendon Todd drilled nine birdies and carded a career low nine-under 61 to take a two-stroke lead in the third round of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut on Saturday.

Jun 27, 2020; Cromwell, Connecticut, USA; Brendon Todd drives off the 6th tee during the third round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Todd’s error-free round positioned him atop the leaderboard at 18-under for the tournament as the 34-year-old American continues his quest for his third win this season and fourth overall.

Todd has found his game at TPC River Highlands after missing the cut in his previous two starts on the PGA Tour, which resumed earlier this month following a three-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whenever I get a two or three-week stretch in a row, I tend to be playing better by the end of it,” he told reporters.

“I’m peaking in the third week and hopefully I can get it done tomorrow.”

Lurking two strokes behind is former world number one Dustin Johnson, whose deft iron play helped produce a career low nine-under 61 on Saturday, good for sole possession of second place.

“I felt like I gave myself really good birdie opportunities on every hole,” Johnson said.

Todd said he was looking forward to being paired with Johnson for the final round of the tournament, where no fans are in attendance.

“He’s easy to play with, nice guy, doesn’t show too much emotion out there,” Todd said.

“So 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.”

American Kevin Streelman is three off the lead at 15-under after carding a 63 on Saturday and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes is four back after firing a third-round 68 to sit 14-under after 54 holes.

Earlier in the day, former world number one Jason Day of Australia requested a COVID-19 test as a precaution and was cleared to play the third round solo after returning a negative result.

Several big names including world number four Brooks Koepka, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and last week’s winner Webb Simpson withdrew prior to the tournament out of concern that they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Nick Watney, Denny McCarthy and Cameron Champ have all tested positive for COVID-19 since the tour resumed play.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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