Lahiri slips as Casey and Johnson set up a thriller at Valspar

After grinding out 70-71 on first two days for a creditable T-23rd, Anirban Lahiri had no birdies on the third day of the Valspar Championships and ended with a 4-over 75 that saw him fall to Tied-57th.

It has been a day of no birdies for Anirban Lahiri in the third round.   -  Getty Images

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri slid to Tied 57th after a birdie-less third round even as Paul Casey, bidding for back-to-back titles at the Valspar Championships, opened up a narrow one-shot lead.

As a dramatic finish beckoned the tournament, Lahiri slipped on the third day.

After grinding out 70-71 on first two days for a creditable T-23rd, he had no birdies on the third day and ended with a 4-over 75 that saw him fall to Tied-57th. Yet a solid and low final round could fetch him a finish in 30s.

The world’s best player, Dustin Johnson (67) playing two groups ahead of Casey, birdied the 18th, the last of the three-hole closing stretch called the ‘Snake Pit’, to get to eight-under.

A little later Casey arriving at the same 18th, dropped a bogey and from 10-under came to nine-under despite three-under 68.

As Casey seeks the tournament and his own first back-to-back success, Johnson is looking for a second win in three starts.

Johnson reserved one of his best shots of the day coming out of the bunker on 18th with a 9-Iron that put him nicely about 10 feet behind the hole, which he made for 67.

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Last year Casey came back from five shots with a 65 and won by one shot over Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.

The leaderboard is really tight with eight players having had a share of the lead in the third round and there were 10 players finished within four shots of the leader.

One of those 10 is Jason Kokrak, third behind Casey and Johnson. He is winless in his 195 starts as a pro. He had three birdies in five holes to begin the back nine and then his 8-iron kept going across the 15th green and into the hole for an ace.

Also in the mix is Luke Donald, a former winner at Vaslpar, but playing only for the second time this year. He shot 70 and joined Scott Stallings (70) three shots behind. Louis Oosthuizen, who had a 66 despite two bogeys on the last three holes, and Jim Furyk were among those four behind.