By The Associated Press

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — It can be tempting, given all that’s in play at the BMW Championship, to take your eyes off the road. Who will reach the 30-man TOUR Championship in Atlanta? What about the Ryder Cup? What’s the value of taking the top seed into East Lake with the Starting Strokes format? And hey, look over there, it’s a course-record-tying 62 by Sam Burns in the third round, a day after Max Homa shot the same score!

The BMW Championship, like high-speed racing, is an object lesson in staying in the present, and even the leaders are not immune to letting the mind wander.

“Yeah, there's no guarantee I'm in Atlanta yet,” said 54-hole co-leader Matt Fitzpatrick (66, 11 under), who is tied with Scottie Scheffler (64) and is projected to move from 40th to fifth in the FedExCup standings. “I've got to tap in on Sunday and in a good position. Yeah, happy to give myself at least a chance going into tomorrow.”

Scheffler and Fitzpatrick won last season’s Masters Tournament and U.S. Open, respectively.

That’s fitting; Olympia Fields has presented a major-like test.

“I don't really pay attention to what's going on with the leaderboards, especially when it comes to projections,” said Scheffler, who needed just 25 putts, eight fewer than the day before. “It was Saturday out here, so I'm not really too concerned about next week. I was just trying to have a good round of golf and move my way up the leaderboard.”

Brian Harman, the reigning Open champion, shot 67 and is 10 under par, just one back, while Homa overcame a triple-bogey 7 at the seventh for 71 and was 9 under, two back.

“Yeah, it's hard, obviously,” Homa said, when asked if he’s tempted to look ahead. “But you can have the thoughts and some you can focus on and some you can kind of let keep floating by. It pops up in your head. I know if you win this event or at least I do, I'll be No. 1 going into next week. But then you've got to play good next week.

“You definitely think about it,” he continued, “but I didn't really focus on it. I was glad that today didn't feel like it was some mental issue, it was just golf is hard some days.”

Viktor Hovland (65) and Rory McIlroy (67) are 8 under, just three back.

Burns is one of a handful of players vying for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Alas, he hasn’t had a top-10 finish since May. On Saturday he made eight birdies and no bogeys and now finds himself four back at 7 under par.

“It's a hard, hard game; it can really beat you up at times,” Burns said.

Justin Rose (68), Xander Schauffele (67), and Denny McCarthy (65) are also at 7 under. Only Schauffele, at 19th, seems safe for the TOUR Championship. Rose is No. 32, McCarthy 34.

“Well, I'm in the hunt to win a tournament, too,” McCarthy said, when asked about his FedExCup number and odds of making the TOUR Championship. (He’s projected 30th.)

Saturday brought gusts that dried the course and seemed to bother players on short putts. McIlroy missed a par putt from 2 feet, 10 inches at the 10th hole. Homa missed from 2 feet, 2 inches at the seventh, making triple.

“Yeah, I think it's a combination of wind and greens are getting a little choppy, and they just sometimes do some funny things,” said McIlroy, who went 4 under through six but missed birdie putts from 8 and 5 feet, respectively, on 16 and 17. “I'm not surprised that guys are missing a few short ones out there.”

Homa felt his short miss was a fluke.

“My goals have just been to have mental goals and control my internal state really, and I thought I did a great job,” he said after bouncing back with birdies on two of the last four holes. “I didn't feel like I played that bad.

“I had one very bizarre hole, and other than that, like I just swung the club really well.”

From the BMW trophy to TOUR Championship spots to Ryder Cup implications – the top six on the U.S. points list after the BMW will make the team – there will be much to watch Sunday. Viewers will need to simultaneously keep watch of two and sometimes three divergent storylines, even training their eyes in opposite directions like a hammerhead shark. It could be a very bizarre day, even for those with an inside path to the checkered flag.