CROMWELL — Chez Reavie took advantage of Zack Sucher’s three-hole misfortune on Saturday to take the lead, then take control of the Travelers Championship.

Sitting on the largest 54-hole lead in the tournament’s 67-year history, Reavie had to make sure he didn’t face a fate similar to Sucher’s Sunday. Keegan Bradley didn’t make it easy.

Bradley whittled a six-stroke deficit down to just one with two holes to play. But Reavie managed to birdie 17 to establish some breathing room and win the 2019 Travelers Championship by four shots over Bradley and Sucher.

“In Phoenix (in 2018), I birdied the last hole to force a playoff and lost. Finished second the week after that (at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am),” Reavie said. “I've been close, but it's just not the same as sealing the deal and winning a golf tournament.”

It’s Reavie’s first victory since the 2008 Canadian Open. The former Arizona State standout was coming off a tie for third place at the U.S. Open.

“I think I was more nervous this morning when I was just sitting in the hotel room and the mind was wandering, kind of going through the round, the different possibilities and stuff,” Reavie said. “Once I got out here and started warming up on the range I was very comfortable. I was still nervous, but not as nervous.”

Waiting for Reavie near the scorer’s tent was Paul Casey — Reavie’s former teammate at Arizona State. The two shared a big bearhug. Casey, a two-time runner-up in this event, watched Reavie’s final putts for himself.

“It’s amazing, it’s brilliant, I’m so happy for him,” said Casey, who tied for fifth, six shots behind Reavie. “You don’t see me at scoring areas very often. That’s about the first time you have ever seen me at scoring area after a big finish that I didn’t win.

“He has been through so much, but he is a tenacious little guy, isn’t he? He’s full of grit. He’s awesome. He’s been through so many injuries and stuff like that. … This is kind of the heart and soul is what makes up the majority of the tour, these kind of stories. He is such a good guy. He is so well-liked out here.”

Bradley, who lives in Massachusetts, trailed Reavie by five heading to the back nine. Then Bradley birdied 10, 11, 13 and 15 to cut the deficit to one and the New England crowd was squarely behind its native son.

“I'm speechless. The crowd was so behind me and so loud. Felt like a Ryder Cup atmosphere for me,” Bradley said. “Man, I dreamed of this ever since I've come here when I was 10 years old. To come to this tournament every year and putting myself in this position and having this chance on the back side, it lived up to the hype. It was awesome.”

Reavie parred the first seven holes on the back nine, missing some makeable birdie chances. But he kept his emotions in check despite Bradley breathing down his neck.

“It was a challenge for sure. I just kept one shot at a time,” Reavie said. “I still played aggressive. Even though I had a six-shot lead I didn't shy away from flags. I hit the same shots I did all week. Unfortunately, didn't make any putts until the end.”

Then came the decisive 17th. Bradley hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He pulled a 9-iron, but skulled it over the green. He pitched up, then proceeded to 3-putt for a double-bogey 6.

“Hit a 9-iron and skulled it. Just hit it thin. Just a brutal shot,” Bradley said. “It's one that you just, you know — fairway, bunker, water, short — is just a brutal shot and I got it thin. If I could have a shot back, obviously, that would be the one.”

Reavie, who tied for third at last week’s U.S. Open, knocked in a 9-foot slider for the birdie to make it a stroll down the final hole. Five years removed from major left wrist surgery, costing him the 2014 season, Reavie was finally back in the winner’s circle.

“When I was in a long-arm cast after my wrist surgery I went and met with the doctor, and he said the surgery went great, but there was a 50/50 shot whether it was going to work, and there was no guarantee that I wasn't going to go make one full swing when he allowed me to and it wasn't going to happen again,” Reavie said. “So those were probably the darkest days. Just the unknown and sitting at home not being able to do anything and your mind wandering, ‘Okay, if it didn't work, if I can't play golf, what am I going to do?’”

The win gives him his largest payday at $1.296 million. It also qualifies Reavie for both the Masters and the Players Championship in 2020.

This was Bradley’s best finish of the season.

“I can build a lot on this. I putted incredibly,” Bradley said. “I need to keep going. I put four rounds together and I got to keep going. It's a race to the finish here, and I got to keep the pedal down.”

It was also the best finish ever for Sucher. After Saturday’s three holes that he played in 5-over and fell out of the lead, Sucher parred in, then shot 67 on Sunday to finish tied for second.

Sucher is in the midst of a six-event major medical extension after having ankle surgery in 2017. He was laid up for 13 months and didn’t return to competition until this year.

Sucher was to return to the Web.Com Tour after a six-tournament stay, but now that he has moved up from 222 to 126 in the FedExCup standings, he can continue to play on the PGA Tour. The top 125 at season’s end qualify for the playoffs.

“It’s huge … I mean, I don’t know,” Sucher said. "It’s amazing. It’s life-changing, to be honest. It changes the rest of our year.”

Vaughn Taylor birdied the last five holes to shoot a back-nine 29, and an overall 65, good enough for third place. This is his best finish since winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2016 and best finish in 15 starts at the Travelers.

“I can't remember. It's been a while,” Taylor said when asked about the five-straight birdies. “I can't remember the last time I shot 29 either. Been a while as well, especially on the back nine. Never birdied the last five holes of a tournament, that's for sure.”

Casey tied for fifth at 11-under with Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Tway. Jason Day and Bryson DeChambeau, playing in the same group, tied for eighth.

joseph.morelli@hearstmediact.com; @nhrJoeMorelli