Jordan Spieth shoots 65, leads by 1 in Texas

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange   |   May 29, 2016 at 4:35 AM
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FORT WORTH, Texas -- On a day when even his trusty 3-wood deserted him repeatedly off the tee, world No. 2 player Jordan Spieth leaned heavily on keen wedge play and clutch putting to shoot a 5-under-par 65 and take a one-shot lead after the third round of the Dean & Deluca Invitational on Saturday at Colonial Country Club.

Spieth, playing about 35 miles west of his hometown of Dallas, had a 54-hole total of 12-under-par 198.

Second-round co-leader Webb Simpson's 67 left him a shot back and tied for second with Ryan Palmer, who posted a 66. Harris English fashioned a 64 and was two strokes behind in a tie for fourth with Kyle Reifers (67) and second-round co-leader Martin Piller (68).

Jason Dufner is three shots down in seventh after a 66, while Chris Stroud (64) was another stroke back in solo eighth.

First-round leader Bryce Molder carded a 70 and fell five shots back into a tie for ninth with Matt Kuchar -- whose 63 was the best round of the tournament, Anirban Lahiri of India (68) and Patrick Reed (69).

Spieth hit only four of 14 fairways Saturday and found 11 of 18 greens on his approach shots. But he made scrambling saves from both the greenside bunkers he hit into and chipped in from 32 feet for a birdie on the par-5 11th in a round in which he had six birdies and one bogey.

"I'm very pleased with the round," Spieth said. "I struck the ball well, got off to a good start again and then my short game really kept me in it in the middle of the round. My scrambling was kind of the key to the day today. Hopefully I'll hit some more fairways tomorrow and make those aggressive swings that I took advantage of when I did hit the fairways."

Spieth had clutch par saves on the fifth with a 22-foot putt, the sixth, the 10th from nine feet and on the 14th, where he blasted an approach from the rough over the green and chipped back to 3 feet.

"I'm actually not sure what my career scoring is on No. 5, but that's one of my least favorite tee shots in the world," Spieth said. "Especially when I've been really playing a right-to-left shot off the tee this week and that you can't really hit that shot there. So, to play that hole in 1-under for the three rounds is actually shocking to me, given where my control is with the ball of the ball right now.

"My second shot (on the fifth) got a really bad break. It was one rotation from staying out of that bunker and having just a basic up-and-down. Instead, it was a really tough shot to hit and I just didn't commit to getting that close to the ball. But it was a great putt and it was nice to keep momentum there."

On the 18th, Spieth made his only bogey after pulling his drive with a hybrid under a stand of trees and pitching out into the fairway toward the green. His second shot clipped a tree branch but continued forward to within 88 yards of the hole and he hit his next to within nine feet. He missed the par putt, snapping a 28-hole streak without a bogey.

Simpson could have tied for the lead but he also made bogey on the 18th, missing a six-foot par putt after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker.

"I made a couple mistakes throughout the round, but overall played pretty good," Simpson said. "I hated to finish with a bogey, but I felt like I hit a good putt and just misread it a little. I still got a chance. So go work on it a little bit and see what I can do tomorrow."

Palmer, playing in the group immediately ahead of Spieth, Simpson and Piller, barely touched the hole on an eight-foot birdie putt on the closing hole that would have tied him for the lead at the end of the day.

Palmer and his caddie, James Edmondson, are members at Colonial Country Club, and Edmondson is a four-time men's club champion here.

"I was so sick and disappointed with the putt I hit on 18," Palmer said. "I wanted to be with Jordan in the final group on my home course in front of my family and friends and in front of the members of Colonial and it worked out, so I'm very excited."

NOTES: In the previous 69 editions of the Dean & Deluca Invitational, the second-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win 23 times. ... Stewart Cink, making his first PGA Tour start since his wife, Lisa, was diagnosed with breast cancer late in April, missed the cut by five strokes with rounds of 72-75 -- 147. ... Defending champion Chris Kirk improved from a tie for 44th after the second round to a tie for 15th with a 5-under 65 on Saturday and remains in the hunt to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win the tournament in back-to-back years. Hogan performed the feat twice, in 1946-47 and 1952-53. ... Fabian Gomez of Argentina withdrew during the second round when he was excused by tournament officials from returning to finish the round early Saturday morning. ... Christopher Tate of Lake Village, Ark., and Brandy Oakes of Atlanta, Ga., were gifted the deeds to their mortgage-free homes Saturday during the Dean & DeLuca Invitational. Oakes is a Gold Star survivor and Army widow, and Tate is an Army wounded warrior. The two homes were donated by Humana and private donors to the Military Warriors Support Foundation. Combined, the debt retired on the two mortgages was $62,000.

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