2017 Tour Championship leaderboard: Paul Casey takes lead with 65 in Round 3
The final round of the PGA Tour season is all that stands between Paul Casey and $10 million
Paul Casey hasn't won a PGA Tour event since 2009. He might not have had a better chance to do so than he will on Sunday where he'll enter the final round of the Tour Championship with a 2-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner.
Casey was special on Saturday as he shot the second-best round of the day with a 5-under 65, buoyed on the front nine with a birdie-eagle-birdie run. It's important that he's grabbed the lead, but it might be more important that he doesn't have anyone that close to him that I would call a superstar.
Schauffele and Kisner have both had special seasons, but you have to go down the leaderboard to Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas at 7 under (five back of Casey's lead) before you find somebody with the extra gear needed to catch Casey if he's on his game on Sunday. Of course, he might not be. If Casey flails at all, there will be plenty of people right there to clean up the mess.
He has a lot to play for, too. As the leaderboard stands right now, Casey is in the lead for the FedEx Cup, which means he could notch $11.5 million with a win on Sunday at East Lake. He's been doing it all week with putting and ranks No. 1 in the field in strokes gained in that category.
Those putts might feel a little different on Sunday afternoon with so much at stake, but Casey made a statement on Saturday with his 65. As a result, this tournament is his to lose.
Here's a look at the rest of the leaderboard.
T2. Xander Schauffele (10 under): Raise your hand if you had Xander Schauffele playing in one of the final pairings at the Tour Championship as recently as May before his showing at the U.S. Open. That's right, zero hands raised. The kid might be a star, though, and wouldn't it be something if he took home the final event of the season in the process. He shot an impressive 5-under 65 on Saturday.
T2. Kevin Kisner (10 under): Kisner had the round of the day on Saturday with a 6-under 64, and all of this after tweeting that he needed a helicopter ride from Atlanta to Athens to see the Georgia-Mississippi State game on Saturday night. He'd be a very popular winner on Sunday.
T4. Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka (7 under): All of these guys have been hanging around all week. None of them have shot at par or worse, but they'll need something spectacular on Sunday to overtake Casey. I didn't see Casey dusting Thomas by five strokes in the final pairing on Saturday (which he did). Thomas isn't completely out of it, but I really thought he was going to take hold of the event on Saturday. Also, this was amazing.
T6. Jon Rahm, Jason Day (6 under): Day started out on fire with four birdies in his first six holes, but he could only muster one the rest of the day and squandered an opportunity to take over the tournament on Saturday. Rahm is certainly capable of something special on Sunday, but it looks like it's going to take a 64 or better.
Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are both eight back at 4 under, and their paths to the FedEx Cup title have gotten pretty tricky. Johnson needs a miracle, but Spieth could win it a few different ways. He could really use a Schauffele win. In that scenario, Spieth could likely win the FedEx Cup by finishing 20th or better. If Kisner wins, he could likely win by finishing 11th or better. If Casey wins, Spieth needs to finish fourth or better. He's currently T13.
No matter what happens, $34 million will be distributed on Sunday at East Lake. We just don't know who will earn the lion's share yet. I'm pretty fired up to find out.
Thanks for stopping by.
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