PGA: BMW Championship - Third Round

Aug 17, 2019; Medinah, IL, USA; Justin Thomas walks past a digital score board on the 18th green that displays his score during the third round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Medinah Country Club - No. 3. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment Justin Thomas began the third round of the BMW Championship, there was a good vibe.

"I was in a great mood," Thomas said. "I was in a great state of mind all day."

It's no wonder that outlook expanded as Thomas shot a course-record 11-under-par 61 to surge to a commanding lead Saturday at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.

Thomas moved to 21-under 195 through 54 holes, good for a six-shot lead going into Sunday's final round.

Tony Finau (who shot 68) and Patrick Cantlay (68) are tied for second place, followed by South Africa's Rory Sabbatini (67), who holds fourth alone at 14 under.

"Just try to get the lead to seven as fast as I can. And if I get it to seven, try to get it to eight," Thomas said of his approach for Sunday. "I'm trying to win by as many as I can. I know that this course is going to be very gettable again tomorrow, and guys have the potential to go do what I did today.

"If I just keep playing how I've been playing, I feel like I can shoot another good round. And see if maybe we can break some history."

Thomas tied the course record with Thursday's 65. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama broke it by two on Friday before Thomas returned the favor.

"I just hope the trend doesn't break and somebody else doesn't break it tomorrow," he told the Golf Channel. "It just one of those freaky days where you get in a zone. I hit the ball pretty unbelievable. It's not like I made a lot of long putts.

"I hit it close to the hole and took advantage of some opportunities, and I got a few breaks. That's the stuff that happens when you shoot 11 under."

Thomas, 26, began the round with birdies on the first five holes. His lone blemish came with a bogey on the par-4 sixth, but he bounced back with a birdie at No. 8.

He scorched the backside in 6 under, aided by a pair of eagles. At the par-5 10th, he hit a 259-yard approach to just three feet for a tap-in, then holed his 180-yard approach on the par-4 16th.

"That was probably the most excited I got," Thomas said of the second eagle.

He also used a chip-in for a birdie at the par-5 14th and rolled in a 6-footer for birdie at the par-3 17th.

Thomas entered the tournament -- the second of three tournaments in the FedEx Cup Playoffs -- in 15th place in the FedExCup standings. If he wins the BMW Championship, he'll move atop the standings.

Thomas won the FedEx Cup title in 2017, and it sounds like he's anxious for another. First, he'll have to finish his work this weekend.

"I couldn't care less about next week," Thomas said, referring to the Tour Championship in Atlanta. "I'm worried about winning this golf tournament tomorrow. I'm not going out there tomorrow trying to par every hole. I'm just going to have to take whatever the golf course and the day gives me, and just stay in my own little world."

Finau had an eagle on the fourth hole -- holing out from 119 yards on the par-4 -- and was 4 under for the round until a bogey at No. 9. He played the backside in 1 under.

"You got to keep making birdies out here and especially if it doesn't firm up," Finau said. "Even though the scores are really good, you got to hit it in the fairway if you're going to score."

Cantlay had his only bogey of the round on the 16th hole. He closed with a birdie on the final hole.

Cantlay has a good feeling despite the gap created by Thomas.

"My goal is to win golf tournaments, and I haven't put myself up at the top in front as much as I would have liked this year," Cantlay said. "But I have had some chances, and I have played some really nice weekends, so I think it's starting to come together."

Spain's Jon Rahm (66) is alone in fifth place at 13 under. He had the fourth-best round of any golfer in the field, but the gap grew between him and Thomas.

Brandt Snedeker (67), Lucas Glover (69) and Canada's Corey Conners (69) share sixth place at 12 under.

Matsuyama, the second-round leader, shot 73, falling to a ninth-place tie at 11 under alongside Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

--Field Level Media

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