Casey clings onto lead ahead of Johnson

Paul Casey maintained control of the Valspar Championship despite strong form from Dustin Johnson and Jason Kokrak in the third round on Saturday.

Casey, the defending champion, carded a three-under 68 to remain top of the leaderboard, moving into nine under.

The Englishman holed five birdies, including a final one on the par-five 14th hole, that helped solidify his position in first place.

Casey could become the first player to win the tournament in two straight years, and just the third multiple winner of the event alongside K.J. Choi and Retief Goosen.

Johnson almost caught up to Casey after his near-perfect round.

The world number one had three birdies in four holes on the front nine but carded a bogey on the par-four ninth before making the turn. Johnson finished with two more birdies as he made his way through the back nine to be a stroke adrift of Casey.

He still ended the day with his best round of the tournament, a four-under 67, after some very impressive shots.

Kokrak is also in contention after a hole-in-one on the par-three 15th hole moved him up to third place at seven under.

Both Luke Donald and Scott Stallings dropped into a tie for fourth place at six under while a number of golfers moved into the top 10.

Jim Furyk, Nick Taylor and Louis Oosthuizen all climbed up the leaderboard and are in a tie for sixth at five under alongside Curtis Luck, Im Sung-jae and Austin Cook.

There is a sizable tie for 14th place at three under that includes Bubba Watson.