Casey leads by one over Dustin Johnson and by two over Jason Kokrak but, over the demanding Copperhead layout at the Innisbrook Resort, Luck again displayed his significant skills and that contention to the death tomorrow is not beyond the former US Amateur Championship.
An early bogey suggested that Luck was coming under pressure to retain his standing in the event but birdies at the 12th and 14th holes moved him back within striking distance and while tomorrow will provide a relatively new experience for him, Luck appears very comfortable on one of the PGA Tour’s more exacting examinations.
Fellow Australian, Matt Jones, began the tournament slowly on Thursday with an opening round of 73 but consecutive rounds of 68 have him in a share of 12th place and just five from the lead. A bogey at the 16th, his only dropped shot of his second and third rounds, may prove costly tomorrow but Jones is well placed to record his best finish since regaining his PGA Tour status via the Web.Com Tour finals last year.
For Casey, however, who is defending his 2018 title this week, his form continues what has been a generally fine run of golf this year despite a missed cut at last week’s Players Championship and he is clearly happy about the position he finds himself in.
“It feels really good,” said Casey. “Started the day with the lead, finished it with the lead. That's the plan tomorrow.
The golf course is tough and I played well, I played, I was patient, for the most part and aggressive where I, when I had opportunities and game felt really, really good. Looking forward to tomorrow, playing with Dustin is going to be very exciting.
“Last time I think we had a bit of a showdown back in 2016 maybe BMW and he's wonderful to play with, he's a gentleman to play with on the golf course and yeah, any time I got a chance to go up against world No. 1 I'm excited about that.”
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