CROMWELL, CT - The concept for the Travelers Championship first came about in 1952.
After a failed attempt to raise money for charity with a turtle race in 1951, a golf tournament was created in 1952 and it has been hugely successful ever since.
Well, so far this week Justin Rose has been a hare racing against a field of turtles..and at TPC River Highlands, slow and steady is NOT going to win the race.
Rose currently sits atop the leaderboard at 14-under par, four strokes clear of Kevin Southerland. His 36-hole total of 126 (64-62) ties the tournament record for best 36-hole total set by Brad Faxon in rounds three and four in 2005.
It’s been 15 years since a foreign born player last won the Travelers Championship, but this is a new PGA Tour, one where Europeans have won the last three consecutive events including last week’s U.S. Open Championship.
Rose has made just one bogey in 36-holes and strung together an incredible stretch of golf between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning that included 10 birdies in 12 holes.
Rose birdied five consecutive holes on the back-nine (holes 13-17) on Thursday afternoon before returning early Friday morning and birdying holes 11-15 (Rose teed off on number 10 on Friday).
Although Rose has been utterly dominant to this point, holding the 36-hole leads means little on the PGA Tour - Only eight of 25 second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this season on TOUR.
For Rose, this marks the seventh time he has held at least a share of the 36-hole in his career, with his best previous finishes been a pair of thirds.
Should Rose hang on to win this week, he will be the first player to win consecutive starts since Tiger Woods won the 2009 Buick Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Rose will be playing with Kevin Southerland this afternoon.
Southerland played his way into the final pairing with a birdie on his 18th hole of the day (9th hole on the course) on Friday which concluded his second consecutive round of 65.
Vijay Singh will be playing in the second to last group this afternoon. Singh’s 65-66 start (nine-under-par) marks his lowest start since opening with a pair of 64s at the 2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he finished T6. However, Singh had an excellent chance to post his own 62 on Friday afternoon as he missed four putts between five and seven feet.
Putting has been Singh’s achilles heel for years now, and the fact that he has remained successful while attempting every putting technique under the sun is just a testament to his impeccable ball-striking skills.
This week, Singh is putting cross handed with a long putter, which is about one step away from Sam Snead’s technique of squaring his shoulders to the hole and putting from between his legs.
If the USGA hadn’t banned Snead’s technique years ago, it’s not far fetched at all to believe that Singh would have already tried it.
There is a lot of golf left to play, and at TPC River Highlands where birdies are almost as common as pars, a four stroke lead can be eliminated in a matter of minutes.
That being said, the guy currently sitting atop the leaderboard appears to be supremely confident and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Michael Fitzpatrick will be on-site at the Travelers Championship all weekend, so stay tuned for further updates.