Jordan Spieth shoots a 65 to take commanding lead at Pebble Beach
Jordan Spieth had a performance that matched the magnificent views — finally — at Pebble Beach on Saturday.
Spieth took only 10 putts on the back nine, closed with a pitch that checked up inches from the cup for another birdie and shot a seven-under-par 65 to open up a six-shot lead going in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Starting out the weather-delayed event tied with Jason Day and Derek Fathauer, Spieth never gave anyone a chance.
Following his only bogey of the round — a seven-iron over the cliffs on No. 8 that narrowly stayed up in the rough above the putting surface — he ran off three straight birdies, made a tough, curling six-foot par putt on the 12th and then closed with three birdies and another tough par save on his last four holes.
He was at 17-under 197 and had his largest 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Brandt Snedeker did his part with a 30 on the front nine — he started on No. 10 — for a 67 to pull within two shots when he finished. Spieth was up the hill on the 14th, doing what Spieth does — a six-foot par save.
“Those putts scare me,” Spieth said after making a downhill three-footer for par on No. 4.
But he made them all, except for the eight-foot par putt on No. 8 that he missed immediately, pausing when a heel print nearly kicked the ball left and into the cup.
Snedeker, trying to win at Pebble Beach for the third time in five years, was at 11-under 204 and will be in the final group with Spieth, along with their amateur partners. Spieth is playing with country singer Jake Owen, while Snedeker’s partner is Nashville businessman Toby Wilt.
Dustin Johnson spent three days with Spieth and couldn’t keep up, at least not on the greens. The U.S. Open champion made three birdies over his last six holes and saved par from a shot into the Pacific Ocean on No. 18 for a 66. He was seven shots behind.
Couples in contention at Allianz Championship
Fred Couples birdied the final two holes Saturday to pull within a stroke of the leaders in the PGA Champions Tour’s Allianz Championship.
The 57-year-old Couples shot a seven-under 65 to reach 11-under 133 on The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Fla.
Doug Garwood, Joe Durant, Scott McCarron and first-round leader Olin Browne shared the top spot, all birdieing the par-five 18th. Garwood shot 64, Durant 65, McCarron 66, and Browne 69. Tom Pernice Jr. had a 64 to match Couples at 11 under.
Couples is playing in Florida for the first time since the 2006 Honda Classic. He birdied the first three holes, dropped a stroke on the par-four fourth, birdied the par-five sixth and eagled the par-four 10th. The Hall of Famer won the last of his 11 senior titles in 2014.
Bernhard Langer was tied for 54th after his second straight 71. The 59-year-old German star is coming off a victory in the season opener in Hawaii, his 30th career victory on the PGA Tour Champions. He won the Allianz Championship in 2010.
Defending champion Esteban Toledo was at eight under after a 67.
Willett takes the lead at Mayback Championship
Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett took a three-shot advantage after three rounds of the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, scoring a five-under 67 to finish the day ahead of American David Lipsky.
The top-ranked player at the tournament was 16-under par after 54 holes, a score that could have been bettered had he not agonizingly missed out on an eagle in the final hole.
But the 29-year-old Englishman seems to be thriving despite unpredictable weather conditions at the Saujana Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, opening with three rounds of 67 or better for just the third time in his career.
“It was an up and down. I’d have taken 67 at the start of the day, it spreads to the top five and top six guys a bit more and further away,” said Willett, who birdied the last two holes.
“I’m not sure what will win it to be honest, depends on if we pitch up and it’s flat calm. I think there’s a few guys that can go low if it’s windy like this. One or two under par is a good knock out there so I think it all depends on the weather tomorrow.”
The world number 15 has yet to win since he triumphed at the Masters in April 2016, and has only managed three top-10 finishes since.
Lipsky, searching for a first title since 2014, put on a sturdy showing to card a 68 and move within sight of Willett heading into the last day of the $3-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Frenchman Alexander Levy is also a contender in third place, thanks to a clean scorecard that included five birdies for 67.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who put on a sizzling show with 11 birdies on Friday, lost ground after only managing a 73 to sit five shots away from the leader.
He is tied fourth with a host of golfers that includes Gregory Havret, Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat and South Korea’s K.T.Kim.
Indian star Anirban Lahiri, the 2015 Asian Tour number one, missed several putts in his round of 69 to end the third round in a share of ninth position.
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