CROMWELL - Brian Harman was a little too anxious when he teed off at the Travelers Championship Friday morning. But when he finally settled down, the results showed.
The No. 28 golfer in the world pulled out four birdies over his final nine holes to enter the weekend as the clubhouse leader with a one-stroke lead over Matt Jones, Russell Henley and Zach Johnson at 10-under.
“When we started this morning, the conditions were very difficult,” Harman said following his second-round 66. “It was breezy and it was cool, and it took me a little while to warm up. But I settled down and started playing some good golf.”
Harmon entered the round at 6-under, but started off the day with a bogey on 10 and had two more wash out his first three birdies.
The 31-year-old, however, finished hitting 11 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation and made good use of his putter when needed. Harman had just four putts of 10 yards or more when going for birdie and hit all four.
“The putter has been really good so far,” Harman said. “But I’ve been in position a lot. I’ve had a lot of good looks at it. I’m just able to put a little pressure on the course right now, which is nice.”
And Harman has had a fair amount of success at TPC River Highlands. He finished third in 2015 before missing the cut in 2016 and tying for 35th last year.
What’s doomed him at times has been his risk-reward approach. If he believes if he has a good shot, he’ll go for it. If not, then he’ll play it safer. On Friday, that approach worked in his favor.
“It’s really a risk-reward golf course,” Harman said. “You can take on as much as you want, but you run the risk, because it’s really easy to make bogeys here. I made three of them today getting out of position. So I enjoy that aspect of it a lot.”
He also knows he’s going to have to do a better job of keeping his composure when his game starts to take a turn for the worse, as it did over those first nine holes.
Although he has three top-10 finishes this year, the weekend of a golf tournament is always a much different experience than trying to make the cut.
“I’m not very good at keeping my emotions together,” Harman said. “It’s hard to do out there. It’s easy to get frustrated. But hopefully I won’t get frustrated this weekend.”
As he enters the final two rounds, don’t expect Harman to start watching the scoreboard to see if his lead holds up. After all, there are still 36 holes left to play.
“I won’t pay attention until Sunday afternoon,” Harman said.