Tour Championship 2017: Paul Casey Shoots 5 Under to Maintain Lead

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Paul Casey of England lines up a putt on the first green during the third round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Paul Casey shot a five-under 65 in the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Saturday to remain in the lead entering Sunday's final round.

Casey holds a two-shot lead over Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele at 12 under, as seen in the following rundown of the Tour Championship leaderboard:

The Englishman started Saturday's round tied for the lead with Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson, but Thomas and Simpson struggled to the tune of a 70 and 72, respectively.

Through three rounds, Casey has positioned himself to become the first native of England to win a Tour Championship.

With the exception of bogeys on No. 8 and No. 9, Casey was locked in throughout Saturday's round, posting five birdies and an eagle.

Casey excelled in all areas, and was especially good with his irons, as seen in this near-eagle on the par-four seventh, courtesy of PGA Tour on Twitter:

The 40-year-old veteran had a hot putter as well and drained a long birdie putt on the 17th to extend his lead from one to two entering the final round:

Casey hasn't won a tournament this year, but with a win in the Tour Championship, he has a chance to accomplish a feat in the FedEx Cup race that hasn't been done in six years, per PGA Tour Media:

Casey has struggled to close out wins in recent years, but he has often found himself in the mix, according to Justin Ray of the Golf Channel:

Kisner already has one win to his credit in 2017, and he may be the biggest obstacle standing between Casey and a victory.

The 33-year-old Kisner turned in the low round of the day on Saturday with a six-under 64, which included seven birdies and just one bogey.

Kisner nearly holed out from 131 yards away for eagle on the par-four third but had to settle for a tap-in birdie:

Later in the round, he holed a long-range chip for birdie on No. 14 that temporarily tied him for the lead:

Along with Casey and Kisner, Schauffele turned in a strong performance in the third round as well, shooting a five-under 65.

Per Ray, Schauffele can make history if he overcomes a two-stroke deficit to win on Sunday:

Thomas was arguably the favorite entering Saturday, but he scuffled at times with three bogeys and one double bogey.

The following shot on No. 6 was a microcosm of his day:

Thomas will be five shots back to start the final round, while Jason Day trails by six after carding a two-under 68.

A pair of big names in Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are tied for 13th place at four under, as they each shot a one-under 69 on Saturday.

Casey is the projected FedEx Cup champion provided he closes out the win Sunday, but other players in the mix such as Thomas, Kisner or Jon Rahm could make things interesting if they make a run.