MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Winning a World Golf Championship event easily would be the biggest victory of Brendon Todd's career.
He has a recent reminder of how to best protect a lead in the final round – even if that memory is a bit painful.
Todd had a two-stroke lead going into the final round at the Travelers Championship in late June only to shoot a 75 and tie for 11th. He shot a 1-under 69 on Saturday at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of this World Golf Championship event.
“What I learned at the Travelers is just you cannot control the result, you can't control the way you're going to feel, where the ball's going to land, if putts are going to go in ...,” Todd said. “The best players in the world treat each final round like it's just another day, and they just go out there and try to execute and stick to their game and let the results fall as they do.”
Todd started the third round with a two-stroke lead. He had five birdies and four bogeys to put him at 13-under 198 on a nearly perfect day at TPC Southwind with the temperature in the 70s.
The 35-year-old Georgian is looking for his fourth career victory and third since last fall. This is Todd's second 54-hole lead since the PGA Tour's return to play. He shot a 75 in the final round of the Travelers Championship and tied for 11th.
“I'm excited to be in this position and feel like if I can go out there and swing a little better and keep this putting momentum going, I'll be in good shape,” Todd said.
Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who had four straight birdies on the back nine, finished with a 66. Rickie Fowler was two strokes back after a 69.
Defending champ Brooks Koepka struggled early before he reeled off six birdies in eight holes for a 68. He was fourth at 9 under.
Todd started where he left off Friday, rolling in a 14-footer for birdie on No. 1 to reach 12 under. Todd couldn't get out of the rough on the par-4 No. 5 on the way to only his second bogey of the tournament.
Fowler holed out from the green-side rough on the par-5 third to pull within two. He then joined Todd atop the leaderboard on No. 7. He hit his second shot from 190 yards to 9 feet and made the putt for birdie.
Todd took the lead back to himself on the next hole with a 22-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth. Fowler answered with a 17-foot birdie putt on No. 9, making the turn with his third birdie and a share of the lead at 12 under. Todd pushed his own birdie chance just right of the hole.
Fowler took the lead to himself for the first time when Todd bogeyed No. 10 to start the back nine.
St. Jude Invitational
At TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.
Yardage: 7,277; Par: 70
Brendon Todd 64-65-69 – 198
Byeong Hun An 68-65-66 – 199
Rickie Fowler 64-67-69 – 200
Brooks Koepka 62-71-68 – 201
Justin Thomas 66-70-66 – 202