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Watson soars for third Travelers' triumph

Bubba Watson reacts after his birdie putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the Travelers Championship Sunday, June 24, at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

CROMWELL, Conn.—Bubba Watson knows what it takes to win the Travelers Championship.

He showed that again, using a 7-under-par 63 to surge to the title Sunday, June 24, at TPC River Highlands and become a three-time winner of the tournament.

"You have confidence around the golf course. Around here, I love it," Watson said after finishing at 17-under 263. "Around a golf course that you've won at, you have some more confidence."

Watson's short birdie putt on the 18th hole gave him a two-shot lead and then he had to wait for third-round leader Paul Casey and J.B. Holmes to finish their last two holes. Watson ended up with a three-shot victory.

Watson won here in 2010 (for his first PGA Tour victory) and again in 2015 (defeating Casey in a playoff). This time, he ended up with a three-stroke victory against a quartet of finishers.

"Around here I feel pretty comfortable," he said. "I can hit some shots around here, and I've made it work throughout some of the years."

Watson, who won for the third time in 2018, pulled into a tie with four birdies on a six-hole stretch capped by No. 15.

Watson also had a 63 the second round Friday, June 22.

So in some ways after periods of frustration Saturday, June 23, it was a matter of Watson demonstrating some patience.

"You have to focus on the shot at hand and focus on your target, and then if it goes bad after that, at least you tried your best," he said.

Holmes, Casey, Stewart Cink (62) and Beau Hossler (66) all shared the runner-up spot.

Holmes (67) and Casey (72) both finished with a bogey after Watson finished. For Casey, it was a 10-stroke decline from Saturday's round.

Casey began the round with a four-shot lead, sharing the largest lead through 54 holes in the tournament's history.

He then birdied the first hole, but he had seven pars and a bogey the rest of the way on the front nine. He was 2-over on the backside for his 72, finishing at 14-under.

Casey won the Valspar Championship in March in Palm Harbor, Fla., and seemed poised for another tournament win until he couldn't get untracked Sunday.

"Nothing is ever given to you," Casey said. "You've still got to get out there and earn it. It's not going to be gifted to you, especially in professional golf."

Cink shot 8-under and rose alone into second place while Casey had completed only six holes of the last round. At the time, Casey's lead was two shots on Cink, who was outside the top 20 when the round began.

Cink made his move with a 29 on the front nine. That tied for the second-best front nine in the tournament's history. He had six birdies on the first seven holes.

Cink was 2-under on the backside despite bogeys on Nos. 11 and 16 before he finished with a birdie on the final hole.

Kevin Tway (65), Brian Harman (68) and Russell Henley (69) tied for sixth at 13-under.

Chase Seiffert, who was a Monday qualifier into the tournament field, moved into second place after 10 holes of the final round. His 64 put him at 12-under and tied for ninth by the round's conclusion.

Brooks Koepka, fresh off his second consecutive U.S. Open titled a week earlier, made a final-day surge with a 65. He played the first 11 holes in 6-under, but he played the final five holes in 1-over and ended up at 9-under and tied for 19th.