ATLANTA – Paul Casey has his best chance at finally having something to show for his great play in the FedEx Cup playoffs. And the payoff could be enormous.
Sloppy at the turn, Casey kept a clean card on the back nine at East Lake and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for some separation in the Tour Championship. He shot a 5-under 65 to build a two-shot lead, leaving him one round away from his first PGA Tour victory in eight years and 144 events.
Different about this opportunity is the $10 million bonus if he were to win the FedEx Cup, and the 40-year-old from England knows he is projected to capture both trophies.
"It would be amazing," he said.
Casey, who was at 12-under 198, has six top-five finishes in his last eight FedEx Cup playoff events.
Kevin Kisner had a 64, his best round at East Lake by three shots, and still rued too many birdie chances that burned the edge of the cup. He left East Lake in a hurry so he could take a helicopter to Georgia's football game. He is joined in second place by PGA Tour rookie Xander Schauffele.
The top five seeds in the FedEx Cup only have to win to claim's golf's biggest payoff, but those chances are dwindling.
No. 1 Jordan Spieth is eight shots behind, No. 2 Justin Thomas is five behind, No. 3 Dustin Johnson is eight behind, No. 4 Marc Leishman is 13 behind, and No. 5 Jon Rahm is six behind.
They could still win the FedEx Cup without finishing first, but a combination of things would have to happen.
"Unfortunately, I'm not really in control of my own destiny at this point, but I'll go out tomorrow, try and shoot a really solid round of golf and then do some cheerleading," Spieth said.