PGA Open: Jordan Spieth's 65 stretches lead to 3 shots

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange
Jordan Spieth putts on the 11th green in the rain on Day Two at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Jordan Spieth putts on the 11th green in the rain on Day Two at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Jordan Spieth was unflappable in firing a 5-under-par 65 to extend his lead to three strokes over fellow American Matt Kuchar after three rounds of the 146th Open Championship on Saturday at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

Spieth, 23, forged a three-day total of 11-under 199 and has led every step of the way this week after an opening round 65 and remains in the driver's seat for his third major championship.


"It was phenomenal from tee-to-green," said Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015. "I made some par saves of four-to-five feet, but other than that it was a pretty stress-free for Saturday in a major championship.

"I got lucky and it was nice to get a birdie on the last hole (with a 20-foot putt after his approach escaped a bunker). I knew the scores were going to be better today because of the weather and just played the golf course.


"I just want to do the same thing tomorrow, although it's supposed to be a little more windy with some rain."

Kuchar, who trailed by two shots after the second round, dropped another stroke back after a 66.

Spieth and Kuchar played in the final group on Saturday and will do so again in Sunday's fourth round, setting up a bit of a match-play scenario.

"I played well today and I'm certainly not out of it, although I would like to be a little closer," said Kuchar, who is seeking his first major title. "We both played good golf and pushed each other out there, and I'm hoping for the same thing tomorrow.

"The British Open is great, so unique and such a great atmosphere because of the farms."

Brooks Koepka, who won the U.S. Open last month at Erin Hills, shot 67 and is five strokes back in a tie for third with 20-year-old Austin Connelly of Canada, who totaled 66.

Forty-two golfers posted under-par scores in the third round, which was contested in benign conditions and bright sunshine, a complete reversal from the cold wind and driving rain the golfers faced a day before, when the average score was more than 75 and eight scores in the 80s were carded.


Branden Grace of South Africa set a men's major championship record by shooting 62 and climbed to with seven spotsof Spieth a tie for fifth with Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who had a 66.

Johnny Miller shot the first of 31 63s in the majors in the final round to win the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont. The most previous 63 in a major was recorded by Justin Thomas in the third round of the U.S. Open last month.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson carded a 64 and is eight shots back in a tie for seventh with Chan Kim (67), defending champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden (65) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain (67).

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland fired a 69 and is another stroke behind in a tie for 11th with Ian Poulter of England (71), Richie Ramsey of Scotland (70) and Ross Fisher (66) of England.

NOTES: Reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain carded a 68 on Saturday and is 11 shots off the pace at 210. ... Rickie Fowler nearly had an ace on the 310-yard par-4 fifth hole, with his tee shot stopping four inches from the hole. Fowler finished at 67 and is 10 shots back in a tie for 15th. ... Royal Birkdale shop professional Greg Pettersen played as a marker with South Africa's Shaun Norris in the first group of Saturday's third round. A marker was required when the Open cut produces an odd number of competitors. ... On day ripe for low scores, Ian Poulter of England was one of only two players (Bubba Watson) in the top 39 on the leaderboard who shot higher than par. Playing in the second-to-last pairing, Poulter's round headed south when he made three straight bogeys at Nos. 11-13 on the way to a 71.


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