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Best Performances in Travelers Championship History

Rob Joyce
June 18, 2019 - 3:10 pm

Professional golf returns to Connecticut this week with the Travelers Championship, and the field is loaded. Five of the top-10 golfers in the world will tee it up in Cromwell, including world No. 1 Brooks Koepka. Ten of the top-20 are in the field, as are other big names, like Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, defending champion Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, who returns after a 15-year absence.

It’s arguably the best field in the event’s history, at least in the modern era. And given that the scores at TPC River Highlands are generally among the lowest all year on Tour, there’s a good chance we’ll see low-60s all week. If anyone wants to break some tournament records, however, they’ll have some work to do to catch up to these players who tore up the field over four days. Here are the lowest scores in the event’s 67-year history:

1) Tim Norris (1982):

This was the second-to-last year that the event was held at Wethersfield Country Club. The California native won a single PGA Tour event in his career, the 1982 Sammy Davis Jr.-Greater Hartford Open. Over the four-day span Norris shot a collective 25-under par (259 total) to cruise past Ray Floyd and defending champion Hubert Green by six strokes. That 25-under was tied for the lowest score in any PGA event that season.

2) Kenny Perry (2009):

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Although his ’09 win in Cromwell was worse to par than Norris (22-under to Norris’ 25), Perry set the event record for the lowest aggregate score by winning the event with only 258 strokes, going wire-to-wire in the process. He shot a 61 on Thursday, and after cruising along with a 68 and 66, respectively, in his next two rounds, he turned it back on for Sunday, firing a 63 and holding off Paul Goydos and David Toms by three strokes for the victory, his last on the PGA Tour.

3) Freddie Jacobson (2011):

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Thus begins a long stretch of performances at 20-under par, starting with the most recent of those, Jacobson. Going 65-66-63 in his first three rounds, the Swede went bogey-free for the first 63 holes of the event before bogeying the par-four 10th on Sunday, and finished with a 66 for that 20-under score. He needed every one of those scoring chances, as Ryan Moore missed a four-footer on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff. Instead, Jacobson notched what is his only PGA Tour win.

4) Notah Begay III (2000):

Photo Credit: Harry How /Allsport

The current TV analyst won four events in his PGA Tour career, all in 1999 and 2000, the last of which came in Cromwell. At the 2000 Canon GHO, Begay bookended his week with 64s, but was toe-to-toe with Mark Calcavecchia heading to the 72nd hole. There, he drained a 23-footer to win a single stroke and set the course record in the process. It was actually his second straight victory, having won the week prior by one shot at the St. Jude Classic.

5) Hubert Green (1981):

Photo Credit: Gary Newkirk /Allsport

A year before Norris blew everyone out of the water with his 259, Green tied the course record in Wethersfield with a 20-under 264, edging a trio of players (including Fred Couples and Roger Maltbie) by one stroke. The two-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer did it in style, too, firing a 64 on the final day. This came six years after he lost in a playoff at the event to Don Bies.

6) Rod Funseth (1978):

Another member of the 20-under club, like Green, Funseth shot a 64 on Sunday to run away with the event, winning by four strokes over a trio of players, including defending tournament champion Bill Kratzert. It was Funseth’s first PGA victory in five years, and wound up being his last.

7) Billy Casper (1973):

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The only four-time winner of the event (though Bubba Watson can match him with a victory this week), Casper won the Insurance City Open in 1963 and ’65, then the GHO in ’68 and ’73, the last of which set the course record at the time. The first year Sammy Davis Jr. was affiliated with the event, Casper fought off Bruce Devlin to finish 20-under par and win by a single stroke, shooting a 64 on Sunday in what was his penultimate PGA Tour victory.

Honorable mention – Jim Furyk:

Though he ultimately finished tied for fifth, three strokes back of eventual winner Russell Knox, Furyk had a record-setting Sunday. Starting the day one-over par and among the earliest tee times of the final day, he birdied the second hole. Then he holed out from 135 yards on the third. Five birdies in six holes later, he made the turn at 27. He birdied 10-12, but missed a few makeable putts and settled for pars on 14 and 15. On the 16th he drained a 23-foot putt for bird, then parred the final two holes for a 58, the lowest score in PGA Tour history, spanning over 1.5 million rounds.