Lake Forest, IL – Cherry Hills Village, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Billy Horschel fired a 7-under 63 on Saturday and jumped three strokes clear of the field after three rounds of the BMW Championship.
Horschel, who shared second place last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, ended 54 holes at 13-under-par 197. He matched the tournament's 54-hole scoring record with his total of 197.
Camilo Villegas set the mark in 2008 at Bellerive and Tiger Woods matched it a year later at Cog Hill.
Ryan Palmer, who was runner-up at the Humana Challenge and The Honda Classic, posted a 67 and is three strokes off the lead at minus-10 at Cherry Hills Country Club.
U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer (64) and Masters winner Bubba Watson (66) share third place at 8-under 202. Rickie Fowler also shot 66 and is alone in fifth at minus-7.
Second-round leader Sergio Garcia stumbled to a 2-over 72 and he fell into sixth place at 6-under 204.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy faltered to a 4-putt triple-bogey on the par-3 12th. He ending up posting a 72, which left him tied for 10th at 4-under 206.
Phil Mickelson, who shared second place in 2012, withdrew before the third- round started and is now out of the playoffs.
Keegan Bradley also withdrew before the round. Bradley didn't feel right about a possible rules violation during the first round.
"I just feel withdrawing is the right thing to do to protect the field in the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship next week," Bradley said in a statement. "It's eating me alive. I didn't call my fellow competitors for help in the first place and that bothers me. I know the official approved the drop, but I just can't be absolutely sure it was the right spot."
Horschel got off to a quick start with a 23-foot birdie putt at the first. He ran off six consecutive pars from the second. He stuffed his tee shot at the par-3 eighth to four feet and he drained that for birdie.
After a par on No. 9, Horschel made the turn at 8-under. He birdied the 10th from eight feet out, then parred three in a row before grabbing the lead.
Horschel poured in a 22-foot birdie chance on the 14th. He followed with an 8- foot birdie effort on No. 15. Horschel's roll briefly stopped with a par at the 16th.
On the par-5 17th, Horschel found the green with his second shot, then 2- putted for birdie to move to 12-under. He was already alone in the lead and he pushed his advantage to four shots with another birdie at the last.
"If you put the ball in the fairway, you can be somewhat aggressive with the soft greens, you don't have to worry about the balls bouncing over the greens, like on Thursday. The big key is hitting the ball in the fairway and I did a fairly good job of that today," Horschel said. "It was nice to finish that way. That putt on 18 was a bonus."
Palmer birdied two of the first three holes, but tripped to a bogey on the fifth. He parred the final four holes of the front nine.
Around the turn, he converted back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11. Palmer missed the green with his tee shot at the par-3 12th. He bounced back with a kick-in birdie on the 13th.
Palmer again missed the green on the par-3 15th. He tripped to a bogey there, but closed his round with a long birdie putt on the 18th to trim Horschel's lead to three.
NOTES: This is just the second time Horschel has had the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour. He finished third at the 2013 Texas Open the last time he was in this position ... Two of Palmer's three PGA Tour wins were in come-from-behind fashion ... With his withdrawal, Bradley could be knocked out of the FedExCup playoffs as he started the week 28th on the points list.