Justin Thomas played the way he did when he captured the FedEx Cup two years ago.
The 26-year-old Thomas shot an 11-under-par 61 that included two eagles to take a six-stroke lead over Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay into the final round of the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club www.medinahcc.org, just outside Chicago.
Thomas, who started the week 15th in the point standings, hit a brilliant approach shot to within three feet for an eagle at No. 10 and holed out from 180 yards at No. 16 for another eagle to go with eight birdies while shattering Hideki Matsuyama’s course-record of 63 set in the second round.
The top 30 players from the 70-man field in the BMW, second of three playoff events, will advance to the Tour Championship next week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
“It was just one of those freaky days when I was in the zone and hit the ball so well,” said Thomas, who missed time earlier this season because of a right wrist injury. “It’s not like I made a lot of long putts, I just hit the ball close to the hole. I was lucky to have soft greens.
“(In the final round) I just want to get to 7-under as fast as I can and then get to 8-under because I know other guys are going to go low. I want to win by as many shots as I can. I’m playing well and feel like I have another good one in me.
“I couldn’t care less about next week right now. I just want to win this tournament tomorrow.”
Thomas, who hasn’t won since the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, birdied the first five holes and made his lone bogey at No. 6 en route to a 54-hole total of 21-under 195.
Finau, No. 19 in the standings, holed his second shot for an eagle on the fourth hole on his way to a 68, while No. 3 Cantlay, from Los Alamitos and UCLA, sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole to also shoot 68.
Rory Sabbatini (No. 45) totaled 67 and is eight shots behind in solo fourth, followed by Jon Rahm of Spain (No. 5), who had a 66, while 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker (No. 22) posted a 67 and is one more down in a tie for sixth with Lucas Glover (No. 41) and Corey Conners of Canada (No. 27), who both had 69s.
Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State (No. 7) finished at 70 and is 10 strokes back in a tie for ninth with Rickie Fowler of Murrieta (No. 17, 68), Kevin Kisner (No. 21, 69), and Matsuyama (No. 33), who struggled to a 73.
No. 3 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the 2016 FedEx Cup champion, is tied for 13th after a 70, No. 2 Patrick Reed shot 68 and is in a tie for 18th that includes U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (No. 9, 64).
Tiger Woods (No. 38), the only two-time FedEx Cup champion (2007 and 2009), totaled 71 and is in a tie for 31st that includes No. 8 Abraham Ancer of Mexico, who had a 68, while points leader Brooks Koepka carded a 72 and is in a tie for 43rd that includes 2015 FedEx Cup winner Jordan Spieth (No. 44), who came in at 70.
Jim Furyk, the 49-year-old who won the 2010 FedEx Cup and is No. 48 in the points, stumbled to a 75 and is in a tie for 51st that includes 2014 FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel (No. 39), who shot 69.
Defending FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose of England (No. 12) managed only a 73 and is in a tie for 58th that includes No. 10 Dustin Johnson, who had a 72, and No. 4 Matt Kuchar, who finished at 73.
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