NORTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Justin Thomas and Australia’s Marc Leishman share a one-shot lead at 12-under-par 201 after the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship, the second of four FedExCup Playoffs events, on Sunday in Norton, Mass.
Thomas carded a bogey-free 63 and sank eight birdies on a rainy day at the par-71, 7,342-yard course at TPC Boston. The world’s sixth-ranked player has played his past 49 holes without a bogey, his last coming at the par-4 fifth hole during the opening round on Friday.
“I’m extremely pleased,” Thomas said. “It was a great day. I just felt I had total control of my game. I drove it beautifully. I hit my irons really well, and my short game was good if I needed it.”
Leishman fired a bogey-free 65 to grab a share of the 54-hole lead with Thomas. The 30th-ranked Aussie rolled in six birdies on the day and has played his past 28 holes bogey-free. He never previous held a lead or a co-lead heading into the final round of a PGA Tour event.
Leishman, a two-time Tour winner, entered the week ranked 20th in the FedExCup standings but is now projected to jump into the top five heading into the BMW Championship.
“Knew coming in here that I needed to play well to try and obviously rise up the rankings, but you know, firstly, get to the Tour Championship,” Leishman said. “So you know, happy with my start, but I need another good round (Monday) to really turn it into like a good chance to contend in that FedEx.”
Thomas is projected to jump from third in the FedExCup standings to first should he be able to close out a victory.
England’s Paul Casey (third-round 67) is one shot back of Thomas and Leishman in solo third, while world No. 2 Jordan Spieth (66) Grayson Murray (67) and
Canada’s Adam Hadwin (68) round out the top five in a tie for fourth, two shots back.
Jon Rahm of Spain, the world No. 5 who carried a two-shot advantage into Sunday’s round, fired a third-round 71 and is tied for seventh at 204 along with 18-hole leader and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (66).
Johnson, the winner of The Northern Trust last weekend in the playoff opener, is projected to drop from first to second in the FedExCup standings if he finishes in his current spot.
“I just wanted to get myself in a position where I’m at least in range of the leaders,” Johnson said.
Phil Mickelson (69) and Patrick Cantlay (68) are both at 205 in a tie for ninth. World No. 10 Rickie Fowler (66) jumped up 17 spots into a tie for 11th at 206.
Last year’s Olympic champion Justin Rose of England (69) and Pat Perez (67) are also tied with Fowler.
Masters winner Sergio Garcia of Spain (75) provided some entertainment Sunday when he slammed his putter to the ground, breaking it, on his fourth hole of the day. He resorted to putting with his 3-wood after that, even draining a 13-foot putt with the club. Garcia finished his round with a weekend-worst 75 and is tied for 53rd at 215