Halfway hut at the Travelers Championship: Day leads the way after Friday surge

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at TPC River Highlands where Jason Day tops the standings on 9-under.

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Bubba Watson to win 3rd Rd 2 Ball v Jason Day at Evens

It's been a while, mate.

Jason Day hasn't topped a halfway leaderboard in a regular PGA Tour event since early 2017 when starting fast at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

But the Aussie played himself to the front of the field at the Travelers Championship in Connceticut on Friday thanks to a blistering 8-under 62.

That he should hit top spot on this course isn't too much of a surprise.

Two years ago the 2015 PGA Championship winner shot a Friday 63 and went on to finish tied eighth. That followed tied 12th and tied 18th in two of his three previous visits.

In other words, like so many in the field this week, it's a course where he's had some good success.

The surprise element is that the 33-year-old from Queensland has been completely out of form.

Day suffered a trio of missed cuts at The Masters, Wells Fargo Championship and Byron Nelson before settling for tied 44th in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He hasn't played since.

But while he's flourishing so far, there's a familiar caveat: Day is battling another ailment.

This time it's a stiff back so it remains to be seen if he can get the necessary physio to see him through.

There are plenty queuing up to take advantage of any wobbles as Day seeks a first PGA TOUR win (13th in all) since landing the 2018 Wells Fargo.

Three-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson is tied for second with Kramer Hickok after a second straight 66 while Justin Rose and Russell Henley, the joint 54-hole leader in last week's US Open, are in a bunch just two back.

Some big-name Major winners are also lurking. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are four adrift on 5-under while Brooks Koepka is five back.

The news doesn't appear so good for Dustin Johnson: he's down in tied 58th and has seven shots to make up.

And yet history says he shouldn't be written off. DJ was six back at halfway when winning last year, Ken Duke (2013) and Bubba (2010) came from seven behind at the midpoint to win and Kevin Streelman was eight off the pace after 36 holes before storming through to take victory.

Incredibly, Streelman closed with seven straight birdies to pinch the silverware. Travelers watchers know it's never over 'til it's over.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from TPC River Highlands after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

Day sank 119 feet of putts in round two and holed out from outside 10 feet on five occasions. He ranks 3rd for Strokes Gained: Putting so far and 24th SG: Tee To Green.

Six second-round leaders/co-leaders have taken victory at the Travelers Championship since 2000. Jordan Spieth (2017) and Bubba (2015) were the last two to achieve the feat.

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Bubba Watson ranks 6th in SG: Tee To Green and 8th in Approach. He's 63rd for Around The Green and 25th for SG: Putting. Watson holed 115 feet of putts in round two.

Kramer Hickok hit 13 of 14 fairways in round two. His best finish in 67 previous PGA TOUR starts is tied eighth at the 2020 Bermuda Championship.

Justin Rose shot eight birdies in a 63, his third round of 63 or better at TPC River Highlands. Rose, who shot 78-77 at last week's US Open, gained 3.891 strokes with the putter on day two.

Quotes

Here's what some of the leading players said after Friday's play:

Jason Day on his back problem and Friday play

"Body is okay. Just stiff. It's sore to get onto the other side of the golf swing, so any time going left was a little bit sore. It is what it is. I haven't had time to really rest it since I kind of put it out. I think having a couple weeks off was great, but you just need a little bit more time is what it is.

"Sometimes when you do have sort of an injury or stiffness, even if you're sick, sometimes you can come out and play some good golf. I was fortunate enough to not really get in my own way today. Hit a lot of good quality drives and my tee to green was pretty solid, I thought. Then holed a lot of crucial putts out there. So that's what kept everything rolling, which was nice."

Bubba Watson on why he continues to play well at TPC River Highlands

"When you come off the US Open everything seems easier. Even though there is thick rough you feel like you can play out of it. You can still move the ball forward.

"Obviously with the new design there are a couple bunkers that are tricky. As long as you stay out of the bunkers you can still move the ball forward and you feel like you have a chance to hit the green. That's really what I've felt over the years, is that I can play no matter where the ball ends up."

Kramer Hickok on his 1-under 69

"It was a grind for sure. It took me a little while to get going. Thankfully like the last two rounds I really kind of figured out my swing on the back nine. Started hitting it a little bit better and more quality shots.

"Front nine I was scrambling my butt off and just doing whatever I could to get the ball in the hole. More the same as yesterday. I just didn't quite have it with the irons. Driver I'm managing to get it in the fairways. Not very solid, but putting really well, so just finding a way to get the ball in the hole."

Russell Henley on following a 67 with a 66

"Yesterday I was a little sloppy mentally and just my iron play was not good and just didn't feel my best. And my short game made up for it. My short game was great yesterday and had a lot of really nice up and downs.

"Today I just felt solid all the way around. Could have made a few more putts but feel like overall hitting my lines pretty well. Had a couple lip outs, but I feel good about everything."

Justin Rose on shooting seven shots lower than day one

"I would say putter. I putted great today. Made a lot of mid-to-long-range putts, which obviously got my scorecard lit up.

"But probably started before that, just the mindset of not pushing too hard, not going to flags when I didn't have the right number or kind of hitting driver off holes that I wasn't front loading the gamble. Just being a bit more patient with my game. Hit a few more 3-woods off the tee, got the ball in play, and was able to go from there."

Bryson DeChambeau on responding to a modest opening 69 with a 66

"Yesterday I ball struck it horrifically. It was really bad. Fortunate enough I was able to work on some things yesterday and found a little something else added to the right wrist flexion I found at the US Open.

"Today it worked pretty well. Drove it a lot better. Hit my irons a lot better. Was a lot more comfortable. Missed a couple shots here and there, but for the most part it was a big turnaround. Again, right when I started ball striking it better my putting kind of goes. It's a never-ending battle.

"I'm a little tired from last week, but I'm excited for the weekend. If I can get some good rest and feel comfortable on the greens and keep driving it and ball striking it like I am, feel like I could have a good chance."

Social

Bubba Watson's driver head goes flying, Justin Rose's hot putter, Brooks Koepka's slam dunk, Reed makes it look too easy for an eagle and Scheffler saves par... just!

Bubba Watson finds the fairway but with a twist

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Rose rolls them in

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Koepka's impressive hole-out

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Reed's easy eagle

Scheffler kept fans waiting for his par save

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READ MORE: Brooks Koepka admits at the Travelers Championships: "I'm awful the week after a Major"

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