Rickie Fowler one clear of Patrick Reed as Ryder Cup battle hots up

Rory McIlroy seven shots off the lead after 71

Rickie Fowler will take a slender lead into the final round of The Barclays as he tries to book his place in the Ryder Cup in the perfect fashion.

Fowler carded a flawless third round of 68 at the feared Bethpage Black course in New York to finish nine under par, a shot ahead of fellow American Patrick Reed.

Former world number one Adam Scott is a shot further back after surging through the field with a superb 65, with Scotland's Martin Laird and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo on six under.

Fowler came into the first FedEx Cup play-off event in 12th in the Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight on Sunday evening securing their place in the US team to face Europe at Hazeltine next month.


And the 27-year-old is on course for a third appearance in the biennial event after amazingly dropping just one shot in the first 54 holes on one of the hardest courses in the world.

“It’s nice at any tournament and you come to a place like this and it’s a true test,” Fowler told Sky Sports. “It’s no joke. My one bogey was a more than 180 (degrees) lip-out and it’s cool to think I was that close to being bogey-free through 54.

“It was nice to see some putts go in (today). This place is a challenge, one of – if not the – toughest course we play throughout the year. You have to be on all parts of your game and especially driving the ball.”

Reed started the week eighth in the Ryder Cup standings and is also on course to secure his place in Davis Love’s side after a battling 71 which featured nine straight pars on the back nine.

Scott’s 65 was achieved despite hitting just three fairways in regulation, the former Masters champion holing from 95 yards for an eagle on the first and also adding six birdies and two bogeys.

“It was a bonus, obviously,” the Australian said of his flying start. “But it’s what I needed because it had been a frustrating two days, not being able to get anything going.

“I just really tried to clear my mind. When you’re not making (putts) and they are always a little bit short, you start thinking about too many things like stroke and line, feel, speed, all that kind of stuff.

“I just thought, forget about it all and just go with instinct.”

Laird, who is seeking a fourth PGA Tour title and first since 2013, told Sky Sports: “That was by far the best round of the week tee to green.

“I’m not unhappy with 69 although it could have been three or four better, but overall any time you shoot in the 60s round this course you are pretty happy, especially when the wind is blowing.”

World number one Jordan Spieth remains in contention after a 70 left him four shots off the lead, with Jordan Spieth on three under and Rory McIlroy a shot further back.

McIlroy started his third round with three birdies in the first five holes, but played the last 10 in two over par and had to settle for a 71.