New York - Rickie Fowler fired a bogey-free 68, closing with a five-foot birdie putt Saturday for a one shot lead after the third round of The Barclays, the first of four PGA Tour playoff events.
Fowler is at nine-under 204 overall and has a slim lead over 36-hole leader and fellow American Patrick Reed, who shot a 70.
"The short game has been there for me," Fowler said. "It is nice to see some putts going in. I have been swinging well for a long time. I was just waiting for the putter to catch up."
The 27-year-old California native has three career PGA Tour victories, all of which have come after trailing through 36 holes.
"It has been awhile since I been in this position but I got a pretty good track record in the past. I just got to take care of business tomorrow," said Fowler.
Fowler's most recent victory came at last year's Deutsche Bank Championship, the next event on the playoff schedule, where he earned a one-stroke win over Swede Henrik Stenson.
Aussie Adam Scott posted a 65 that was the low score of the tournament and is two shots back in solo third at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, New York.
Martin Laird of Scotland had a 69 and is another stroke back on a tie for fourth with Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.
Defending champion and top-ranked Jason Day of Australia (70), Justin Thomas (66), Kevin Streelman (67) and Gary Woodland (68) are four shots behind in a tie for sixth.
Reigning US Open champ and world number two Dustin Johnson didn't let an equipment malfunction spoil his round of 67. He is in a six-way tie for 10th, five shots adrift of Fowler.
World No. 3 Jordan Spieth (72) is six strokes back and tied for 16th, world No. 5 Rory McIlroy (71) of Northern Ireland is a shot back of Spieth and tied for 22nd.
Fowler, who began the day tied for second, sank a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to claim sole possession of the lead. He had three birdies on his bogey-free round and has only one bogey in 54 holes.
Fowler's best finish this season was a runner up at the Phoenix Open in February, when he lost to Japan's Hideki Matsuyama in a playoff.
Reed played an up-and-down front nine with three birdies and three bogeys. He parred his final nine holes to remain in contention.
Scott posted an eagle on the first hole, six birdies and two bogeys.
Scott said even though the FedEx Cup playoffs are in their 10th year, some players are still warming up to the idea.
"New things take a while to catch on," the world No. 7 said. "Now you're seeing guys make decisions to prioritize these events."
Johnson is still within striking distance despite playing with a cracked driver. He said the damage might have occurred at the PGA Championship last month.
"It's been like that for a while. Any swing now, it's going to go," Johnson said.
Phil Mickelson (70) and Justin Rose (70) of England are tied for 34th, nine behind.