MEMPHIS — 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 PGA Tour's Travelers Championship in late June only to shoot a 75 and tie for 11th. He shot a 1-under-par 69 on Saturday at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a one-stroke lead into the final round at TPC Southwind.
"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 as well. He had five birdies and four bogeys to put him at 13-under 198 on a nearly perfect day with the temperature in the 70s. The 35-year-old former University of Georgia standout is looking for his fourth PGA Tour victory and third since last fall.
"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.
South Korea's Byeong Hun An, who had four straight birdies on the back nine shot a 66 and was second, with Rickie Fowler (69) third at 10 under.
Brooks Koepka, No. 6 in the Official World Golf Ranking and trying to repeat as tournament champion, struggled early before he reeled off six birdies in eight holes for a 68. He was fourth at 9 under.
Justin Thomas, who can become No. 1 in the world with a victory in Memphis, was fifth at 8 under after a 66. He won on this course in 2018 before the event became a World Golf Championship in 2019.
"I kind of found something those last 12 holes where I really started hitting some good putts and making them with good speed," Thomas said. "Yeah, it was nice to shoot 4 under on that back nine to give myself somewhat of a chance."
Matthew Fitzpatrick (69), Phil Mickelson (66), Louis Ooosthuizen (68) and Chez Reavie (70) were tied for sixth at 7 under.
Todd started where he left off Friday, rolling in a 14-footer for birdie on No. 1 to reach 12 under. However, he 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 nine feet from the cup 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. Todd hit into the rough off the tee and couldn't sink a 13-footer to save par. Todd sunk a 15-footer for birdie on No. 12, taking back the lead when Fowler two-putted from 13 feet for bogey.
Todd hit his approach 166 yards to put the ball three feet away from the cup on No. 13 for his shortest birdie putt of the day and a two-stroke lead. Todd found the water just short of the green on the par-3 14th, though, and threw his hat in disgust at his shot. A bogey dropped him to 12 under.
"That's the easiest to put on the green, to not hit in the water," Todd said. "It was a swing that was out of rhythm that was a little bit too often today and to know I hit the water there, it made me pretty mad."
He made up for it with a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-5 No. 16 for a two-stroke lead again, but he couldn't get up and down from the rough off the fringe of the green on No. 17 for his fourth bogey.
Todd has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead on tour five times in his career with four of those since last fall. That's the most of any player this season.
Tom Lewis matched the course record with a 61 last shot by Bob Estes in 2001. Jay Delsing first set the record in 1993 when par for the layout was 71.
Grace's streak will end
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Branden Grace tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, a double blow to the South African who was one birdie out of the lead at the Barracuda Championship and now can't play this week at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.
Grace was two points out of the lead and in the penultimate pairing halfway through at Tahoe Mountain's Old Greenwood Golf Course. He felt tired Friday night and thought it had to do with playing in altitude. He was tested to be sure, though, it came back positive and he withdrew.
Under PGA Tour guidelines, Grace has to isolate for 10 days and be without a fever for 24 hours before returning. The year's first major championship starts Thursday at TPC Harding Park. Grace has played in every major dating to the 2014 British Open and holds the major championship record with a 62 in the 2017 British Open.
Troy Merritt made two late birdies Saturday to take a four-point lead into the final round of the PGA Tour's lone modified Stableford scoring event. Maverick McNealy and Emiliano Grillo were tied for second.
Horsfield a bit shaky
BIRMINGHAM, England — Sam Horsfield took just a one-shot lead into the final day of the Hero Open despite leading by six strokes at one stage in the third round of the European Tour's latest stop in England.
After holding a share of the 36-hole lead, the Englishman made five birdies on the front nine and looked in total control at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club on Saturday.
Horsfield made just one more birdie on the way home, though, giving up three bogeys and a double to sign for a 1-under 71 and a 14-under 202 total that left him one shot ahead of Wales' Oliver Farr (67), Danish teenager Rasmus Hojgaard (66) and Finland's Mikko Korhonen (67).
Quigley up by one
GRAND BLANC, Mich. — Brett Quigley was so excited to be competing again he could barely break par. He settled down for an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead entering the final round of the Ally Challenge, the first PGA Tour Champions event in five months.
Quigley played bogey-free to move to 11-under 133 at Warwick Hills, where Monday qualifier Carlos Franco of Paraguay also had a 64 with two eagles and was one shot behind in second, tied with Tommy Armour II (68) and Jim Furyk (66), who is making his debut on the 50-and-older circuit.
Quigley, a 50-year-old American, is trying to win for the second time this year on the senior circuit. He won a new tournament in Morocco on Feb. 1, and just more than a month later, the tour shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He couldn't wait to get started again, and then he promptly bogeyed his opening hole on Friday on his way to a 69. Saturday, obviously, went much more smoothly.
Trio share LPGA lead
TOLEDO, Ohio — Danielle Kang returned from a 45-minute rain delay with two straight birdies. By the end of the second round, she was happy to have even a share of the lead in the LPGA Drive On Championship.
The 27-year-old American with one each of the past three years followed her back-to-back birdies with three straight bogeys, another birdie and finally a four-foot par on the final hole to salvage a 1-over 73 at Inverness Club. That had her tied with France's Celine Boutier (71) and England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff (72) at 5-under 139 entering the final round of the LPGA Tour's first event since the Women's Australian Open on Feb. 16.
The course, already a tough test that will host the Solheim Cup next year, was even more of a challenge in wet weather and a little more wind. Only two players broke 70, including Sarah Schmelzel (69), who was tied with Japan's Yui Kawamoto for fourth at 3 under.