Rose blooms in hunt for second PGA tour win

Cromwell: Britain’s Justin Rose is on target to claim his second PGA Tour win of the month after marching three strokes clear in the third round of the Travelers Championship on Saturday.

Rose carded a two-under 68 to finish on 16-under 194, three ahead of former British Open champion Ben Curtis (64).

American Vaughn Taylor (67) was third on 199 and seven players were involved in a logjam on 200 including Australian Matt Jones and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.

After notching 15 birdies in his first two rounds, Rose found it tougher going at TPC River Highlands on Saturday.

“It was just a day when nothing really went in on the greens,” Rose said. “I guess the tale of the day was that I really made nothing. The longest putt I made was about -- I think someone said four feet, 10 inches for par on 17.

“So I am really happy to have a day like that and still shoot 68 and maintain the lead.”

The Englishman, who seized his first PGA Tour victory at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio earlier this month, made birdies at the fifth and sixth but had to wait until the 15th for another.

He also came unstuck with a bogey at the par-five 13th after finding water off the tee.

“I really had only one loose swing all day, on the tee at 13,” Rose said. “But after that shot I rallied well. I got up-and-down for par on 14, birdied 15 and hit it quite close there on 16. So bounced back from the only bogey of the day.”

Having gone winless in his first 161 PGA Tour events, Rose said his recent breakthrough would help him on Sunday.

“I’ll sleep much easier tonight than I would have a month ago for sure,” Rose said. “It’s one less thing to think about, can I get it over the line. I’ve done that now, and I certainly would love to win my second tomorrow.”

Curtis’s challenge came to life when he strung together five birdies on the back nine.

“I got off to a slower start today than I wanted,” he said. “But I just stayed patient and tried to keep hitting greens and make some putts. Luckily the last nine holes they started going in.”

Bureau Report

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