Flawless Horschel claims BMW lead

Billy Horschel carded a bogey-free third round 63 to claim a three-stroke lead with 18 holes left to play at the BMW Championship.

A week after the American narrowly missed out on the Bank Championship, he dunked a 32-footer on his final hole to card a seven-under-par round and claim a big lead over Ryan Palmer (67) heading into the final round of the third of the FedEx Cup playoff events.

Horschel’s putting on Saturday was particularly impressive – that putt on the 477-yard closing hole aside, he also rolled in a 22-footer for birdie on 14, then an eight-foot birdie on 15 to move into the lead.

“I knew coming into this week I was going to play well. Obviously, what happened on Monday, the six-iron into the hazard, it happened. It’s not a big deal. Just a bad swing at the wrong time. You can’t dwell on things like that,” Horschel admitted after his round.

“I’ve got thick skin. I let things roll off me a lot. Nothing seems to bother me for too long. That’s just the kind of person that I’ve been my whole life.

“There were a lot more positives from last week to take than just one bad swing on the last hole. So, I knew coming in I was going to play well. I like the golf course, and I’m in a great position going into Sunday.”

World number one Rory McIlroy slipped out of contention on Saturday after carding a two-over-par 72, which included his first triple bogey on the PGA Tour since the first hole of last year’s event.

The Ulsterman sunk a 60-footer on the fourth to briefly claim a tie for the lead, but fell away thereafter, with a four-putt from inside of five foot on the 12th a hole to forget for the four-time major winner.

“I completely misread the first one,” he admitted.

“Then, just hit a bad put the second, and then the third one, I was just going for a tap-in and just lost concentration.”

Sergio Garcia, who led the tournament after the second round, also fell off the pace after carding 72 as well – a round which included an approach shot that struck a fan in the grandstand.