(Reuters) - England’s Paul Casey, chasing the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus, played solid golf to grab a two-stroke lead over Americans Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele heading into the final round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Casey, whose only win on the PGA Tour came at the 2009 Houston Open, moved into contention for the big prize, which will be awarded after Sunday’s final round, with a five-under 65 on Saturday to end the day at 12-under 198 for the tournament.
Winning the Tour Championship might not be enough for Casey to claim the Cup and bonus, and the Englishman said he would on his own game rather than keep an eye on what his rivals were doing.
“My focus is on trying to win,” Casey told Golf Channel. “The FedEx is a wonderful thing that goes with it. (But) I can’t focus on the Fedex.
“There are multiple scenarios, a lot of which I can’t worry about nor can I control. I can only control myself. None of them matter if I don’t win, so I have to win.”
The 40-year-old started impressively with three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes before two consecutive bogeys, then sank a 41-foot putt at 17, his second birdie on the back nine.
“Another really solid day, struck the driver beautifully,” said Casey, whose eagle came at the par-5 sixth hole where he sank a 11-foot putt.
“I think that’s the key to playing this golf course well, you’ve got to get it in play straight away.
“Frustrating (at times),” he said of the back-to-back bogeys, “but it’s how you react. To get it back on the back nine was key.”
Kisner had seven birdies and a lone bogey in a 64 and PGA rookie Schauffele posted a 65 as they stood at 10-under 200 totals at East Lake.
Schauffele’s round included an eagle, at the sixth hole, five birdies and two bogeys.
Justin Thomas, the overnight leader with Casey and Webb Simpson, was one of three players at 7-under after rebounding from three bogeys and a double-bogey to finish at even par 70 thanks to birdies on two of his last three holes.
Thomas was joined in fourth place by Americans Brooks Koepka, who shot 68 despite three bogeys in his last four holes, and Patrick Reed, who recorded a 69.
The round leaves Casey atop the projected FedExCup standings heading into Sunday. Thomas follows with Jordan Spieth, who started the week as the leader, in third place after a 69 on Saturday that left him on 4-under 206.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, additional reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Neville Dalton/Peter Rutherford