ATLANTA -- Paul Casey is in position to win his first tournament this year.
It's about time.
And if you are only going to win one, this would be it.
Casey is 12 under par following the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Saturday. He leads the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs by two strokes over Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele and by a more comfortable four strokes over Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed, all tied for fourth.
Casey has dealt with the close-but-no-trophy frustrations for some time. He has not won in the United States since 2009. Yet in the past three years, he has 23 top-10 finishes, including four seconds and three thirds. After much consultation with advisors, he came to an epiphany. You have to really be in it to win it. These days, trailing by a couple of strokes headed into a final round is not good enough. You'll get left in the dust by the new wave of talented youngsters.
"I've looked at it, 'Why haven't I won this year? Why haven't I won last year?' " Casey said of his inability to win. "I haven't truly put myself in quite good enough position. Too much pressure on Sunday to try to do something special. ...
"Finally, this is where we want to be. We are getting somewhere."
There is evidence of the final-day pressure that has forced Casey to reach to make a late move. In scoring average, he is ranked first on Thursdays and 76th on Sundays.
The 40-year-old Casey entered the Tour Championship a distant 10th in the FedEx Cup point standings. He would need to win the tournament and get a lot of help to walk away with the playoff title and its $10 million prize. The scenarios:
-- Jordan Spieth to finish in a three-way tie for fourth or worse. He is tied for 13th. Check.