Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)


Webb Simpson leads Dean & DeLuca Invitational by two in pursuit of first win in four years

Dean & DeLuca Invitational - Round Three

Stacy Revere

Webb Simpson has made more than $20 million in his career on the PGA Tour. He's won four times, including a U.S. Open in 2012. He's been a model of consistency thanks to his ball-striking, but he has gone four years without a victory and had a below-par 2015-'16 season. Yet through three rounds at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, Simpson is in position to return to the winner's circle.

In the sweltering Texas heat, the Wake Forest alum posted a three-under 69 to take a two-stroke lead at nine under. After opening his round with two straight birdies, Simpson dropped his only shot of the day on the par-3 eighth. He then demonstrated why he ranks fifth on tour in strokes gained on his approach shots, hitting every green in regulation the rest of the way and grabbing two more birdies and eight pars.

Two players are two back at seven under, including Paul Casey, who carded his third consecutive round in the 60s, a two-under 68. Casey, 39, has putted better than he has done all season. The Englishman came into the week ranked 140th or higher in strokes gained/putting, putts per round and putting average. This week, he ranks top five in all three categories. A win on Sunday would give him only the second of his career, the first coming at the 2009 Shell Houston Open.

He is joined by New Zealand's Danny Lee, who closed his round with a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th to finish with a one-under 69.

A potential feel-good story could be Stewart Cink. He hasn't won since his duel with Tom Watson at the 2009 Open Championship, and his wife Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks prior to last season's Dean & DeLuca Invitational. Cink, 44, shot a four-under 66 on Saturday, getting him to six under for the tournament and just three shots off the lead.

Eleven players are within five shots of the lead, including Jon Rahm (five under), Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth (four under).