CROMWELL, Conn. - For Kevin Streelman, there were some shades of June 21, 2014 out at TPC River Highlands on Saturday.
Streelman won the Travelers Championship in 2014, thanks largely to a historic fourth round in which he birdied a tournament-record seven consecutive holes to run away with the crown. A strong third round in which he shot a 6-under 64 helped put him in position to do that.
In this year's third round, Streelman shot a 7-under 63, and finished the day alone in third place at 15-under par. Brendon Todd is in first place at 18-under, followed by Dustin Johnson in second at 16-under.
"I think I shot 64 that Saturday so I was able to beat that," he said. "But I mean, the way Brendon (Todd) and obviously (Dustin Johnson) are playing, it's going to take another great one (Sunday). The course is just playing beautifully, the greens are perfect, and without much wind we're able to attack a lot of the golf course. If you don't shoot at least 3-, 4-, 5-under par you're going to be losing ground."
Streelman knows as well as anyone that it takes a low Sunday to win. The 41-year-old, ranked 95th in the world, might be due for a breakout tournament after missing cuts in back-to-back weeks since the tour restarted.
"This is three weeks in a row away from the family," Streelman said. "Which I've never done three in a row, which is too much, to be honest. I miss them dearly. But going to try and have one more great day and get home and take a week off and enjoy some time with the kids."
Playing in his first tournament since turning 50, Phil Mickelson resembled the same lefty that won back-to-back tournaments in Cromwell from 2000-01 on Friday, shooting a 6-under 64 to take the lead after round two.
Saturday's round, which saw Mickelson shoot 1-over 71, looked more like the recent Phil, who has missed more cuts than he's made this year.
Still, Mickelson was able to walk off the course with a smile on his face.
"I was a little off today, but I'm having a lot of fun," he said. "I mean, this has really been a lot of fun. I haven't played great this year. I've missed a lot of cuts, and the next thing I know my game is starting to come back and I can sense it, and then I play two great rounds, and this is really a lot of fun. I'm going to come out (Sunday) and give it my best to go low. I know I'm playing well enough to do that. I think I'm going to continue to start playing better and better as I continue to work on a few things."
While shooting a 10-under 60 on Thursday may have been an aberration for Mackenzie Hughes, being near the top of the leaderboard to start the Travelers Championship is not.
At last year's tournament, Hughes ended the first round tied for first place, though he finished the tournament tied for 51st. In his four times out at TPC River Highlands, Hughes has posted first-round scores of 67, 67, 64 and 60.
Following those rounds up with strong weekend performances has never been easy, as he'd only broken par three total times after round one in years past. Through three rounds this year, Hughes is still holding strong. He ended Saturday's round in fourth place after shooting a 2-under 68, and is 14-under overall.
"I just feel like this year as opposed to a couple other years, I really made a point of trying to stay aggressive now," he said. "It hasn't, I guess, panned out with a bunch of birdies, but two solid rounds. Following up the low round was a pretty good result. Now, would I have loved a few more each day, yeah. But I just tried to make sure I stayed on the aggressive front and not trying to let up too much. And then same thing tomorrow, I'll just need to be aggressive and try and make a bunch of birdies."
Jason Day played his third round alone, after requesting to be tested for coronavirus on Saturday morning. Day tested negative, but had his tee time move so that he could undergo the test. He teed off alone at 9:15 a.m. on the 10th hole, and shot a 1-under 69. On the tournament, he's 5-under, and tied for 49th ... Will Gordon, a 23-year-old playing in his eighth PGA Tour event, struggled on Saturday after tying for second heading into the weekend. Gordon shot a 1-over 71, and fell to 11-under, tied for 12th.
Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com