ATLANTA • Paul Casey has been flying under the radar heading into the Tour Championship but the Englishman emerged from a star-studded leaderboard on Saturday to seize a two-shot lead heading into the final round.
The 40-year old - who missed the birth of his second child to play in the final two events of the FedExCup play-offs - fired a five-under 65 to vault into the lead ahead of Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner after the third round.
"I need to win the Tour Championship in order to win the FedExCup," he said. "For me, the most important thing is to focus on trying to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx is an amazing by-product of doing that."
The FedExCup title also comes with a US$10 million (S$13.5 million) bonus, which Casey could use to buy a lot of baby gifts.
He became a father for the second time on Sept 11 but he has still not seen his baby daughter, Astaria, because he was preparing to play in the BMW Championship.
Casey is at 12-under 198 in the final tournament of the PGA Tour's play-offs this year.
Number of times Paul Casey has finished in the top 10 of tournaments this season as he tries to end his eight-year PGA Tour winless drought.
Kisner (64) and rookie Schauffele (65) are 200. Tied for fourth at 203 is reigning PGA champion Justin Thomas (70), Patrick Reed (69) and US Open champion Brooks Koepka (68).
Casey has not won on the PGA Tour in eight years but has been one of the most consistent finishers this term: He has been in the top 10 eight times this season.
He started quickly on Saturday with two birdies and an eagle in his first six holes. He eagled the par-five sixth hole and curved in the 41-foot putt on the par-four 17th for a birdie, the fifth of his round.
Casey closed with an adventurous No. 18 where he had to get up and down.
His approach landed short of the green in the rough then dribbled into a bunker. He tried to chip out but got too much sand and his ball found the rough again.
He eventually chipped onto the green and then one-putted for par.
His only real stumble was when he made back-to-back bogeys on number eight and nine.
"A couple of blemishes on the card, but bounced back nicely and found the fairways, found the greens and put myself in there with chances," said Casey,who is looking for his second career PGA Tour win.
Top-seeded Jordan Spieth, who won the FedExCup two years ago, carded a one-under 69 to reach a four-under 206 total.
The American was tied for 13th with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (69), eight shots back of Casey.