After three rounds of the BMW Championship, Justin Thomas has emerged as both the leader of the event and the favorite to win it, and move into first place in the FedEx Cup going into next week's Tour Championship. He assumed that role by shooting a remarkable 11-under 61 on Saturday in Round 3 (more on that in a minute), and at 21 under overall, he now leads Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay by six going into Round 4. You can safely say this thing is pretty much over.
But before we get into that, let's take a closer look at Round 3 at Medinah Country Club.
First place -- Justin Thomas (-13): I am not entirely sure what I just witnessed., but man, J.T.'s top gear is special. Sure, luck plays a role into shooting a course-record 61 -- as he noted -- but when he's feeling it, it feels like he's going to make every shot he hits in a way I'm not sure is true with any other golfer. Standing in the fairway on No. 18, I legitimately expected him to at least take a peek at the pin on his approach shot for 59. He didn't, and I found myself stunned. That's all you need to know about his third round on Saturday.
Last place -- Harold Varner III, Cameron Champ (+1): This is less about how poorly these two are playing and more about how absurd it is that only two golfers are playing worse than even-par golf. And Champ shot had to shoot a 78 on Saturday just to fall this far.
Other contenders -- Tony Finau (-15), Patrick Cantlay (-15), Rory Sabbatini (-14), Jon Rahm (-13): I mean, sure, somebody could theoretically shoot 62 and upend J.T. But it's not like his other rounds this week have been poor. Preceding that 61, he shot 65 on Thursday (then a course record) and 69 on Friday. So good luck! One thing you can feel confident in is that the winner will be one of these five golfers.
What did Tiger Woods do? Big Cat shotwith a putt for 66 on the final hole. He played great, but he still has a ton of work to do on Sunday to get inside the top 11 or so and make it to the Tour Championship. It will be a fun tournament within a tournament on Sunday. Mostly because it's Woods, but also because he won the Tour Championship last year and will be trying to repeat this time around.
Last question and answer today: What's the number you need to shoot tomorrow to make it to East Lake?— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) August 17, 2019
"If I shoot 60, it should be all right."
Smiles, fists bumps, exits.
Who had a great day? Other than Thomas, Gary Woodland shot a 64 on Saturday to move into the top 20 going into Sunday. It was his best round of the week by six strokes and his best round since his U.S. Open victory by four. He nearly led the field in both strokes gained driving and strokes gained on approach shots on Saturday.
Who had a lousy day? Only four guys were worse than 1 over in Round 3, and Champ was by far the worst of them at 6 over (J.B. Holmes was 4 over). Champ only made two bogeys, but he added no birdies and two doubles for the 78 total. He also finished 69th (of 69) in strokes gained tee to green and 64th in putting. Not good!
Stat of the day: This is absolutely insane.
What to watch on Day 4: What does Thomas do in the first six holes. That will tell you all you need to know. If he makes a couple of birdies, then we'll see you next week. But the course is soft enough that there could be at least a question if he stalls early. I mean, there's a reason he's a -900 favorite, but it's at least within the realm of possibility that Cantlay or Finau goes nuts early and makes it a race. The problem is that one of just three or four guys is going to have to play mistake-free golf, and Thomas is going to have make many, many wrong turns. Based on his drive on Saturday, I suppose that's possible, but I don't see it happening this week with this lead.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Saturday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 3 of the BMW Championship. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here. Can't get enough golf? Subscribe to The First Cut with Kyle Porter where we take a weekly look at everything in the world of golf.
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