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Spieth Grinds Way To Tour Championship Lead

Jordan Spieth was so consumed with trying to make birdies and save pars on a rugged, rainy afternoon at the Tour Championship that he didn't realize until after he signed for a 2-under 68 that he had a one-shot lead.

He knows exactly what's at stake Sunday at Atlanta in what was shaping up as a dynamic end to the season.

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Spieth made four big par saves and ended with a 20-foot birdie to overtake Henrik Stenson for the lead at East Lake. Already with the best year in golf, the Masters and U.S. Open champion is now one round away from the richest year in golf history.

A victory would push him over a record $12 million for the season, and give him the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup.

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"No matter what, it's a dream-come-true season," said Spieth, who was at 8-under 202. "So I don't need tomorrow to justify it. I'm not going to sit here and say $10 million doesn't mean anything to me, because it does. It's a fantastic bonus that I don't even know where it came from … but all of a sudden they just want to give us more money. So it's fine with me.

"I'll work hard for the win tomorrow because I want to win this golf tournament," he said. "It would be special to get your name on that trophy."

Stenson had another ordinary day by his standards with his ball-striking, though he held it together for a 72. It was his first time in seven rounds that Stenson was over par, and the first time in his two trips to the Tour Championship that he was no longer in the lead.

"We're still at the races," Stenson said. "I would have liked to have gone a few better, but we're still up there and yeah, it's all going to be decided tomorrow."

Don't overlook Rickie Fowler.

He shot 31 on the back nine for a 67, the low score of the third round, and was four shots behind.

Spieth, Stenson and Fowler are among the top five seeds in the FedEx Cup, and only have to win the Tour Championship on Sunday to claim the FedEx Cup.

Starting the FedEx Cup playoffs, Spieth always knew that the Tour Championship was the only event that really mattered for winning golf's biggest bonus. He looked at East Lake like the final major of the year, and it played like that on Saturday.

A light, steady rain made the course so long that Stenson had to hit fairway metal twice into par 4s, and he couldn't reach one of them. Spieth narrowly cleared the water to the lay-up zone on the par-5 ninth.

"What is that race called, `Tough Mudder?' That's what it felt like," Stenson said.

As tough it was in the third round, the FedEx Cup finale might be even more difficult — if not because of the course, then the competition and what's at stake.

Six players were separated by five shots, which includes Paul Casey (71) who was tied with Fowler at 4-under 206. Casey is unlikely to win the FedEx Cup and might have the least amount of pressure on him. Stenson already has four runner-up finishes this year — two in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

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Web.com Tour

Roberto Castro shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Web.com Tour Finals' Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship at Columbus, Ohio.

Castro birdied the par-4 15th and 16th holes and closed with two pars to finish at 7-under 206 on Ohio State's Scarlet Course. The 30-year-old former Georgia Tech player has played the PGA Tour the last four seasons, but slipped to 188th in the FedEx Cup standings to drop into the series that replaced Q-school.

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