WASHINGTON: World number two Jordan Spieth fired a five-under-par 65 to seize a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round of the US PGA Dean and Deluca Invitational.
Spieth, who defends his US Open title next month at Oakmont, found only four fairways but suffered his only bogey in 29 holes at the 18th to put the 22-year-old American on 12-under 198 entering the final round at Colonial.
Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson shared second on 199, Simpson after a bogey of his own at 18. Harris English, Kyle Reifers and Martin Piller were on 200 with Jason Dufner on 201, Chris Stroud on 202 and Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and India’s Anirban Lahiri — the only non-US player in the top 10 — on 203.
Spieth arrived in Fort Worth after a last-day fade kept him out of the title hunt at the Byron Nelson Championship in nearby Dallas, his hometown.
Add that to his last-nine meltdown to lose the Masters and a missed cut at the Players Championship and it’s easy to see how the Texan would love to capture his first PGA win in his home state to build confidence and momentum ahead of the US Open.
“I started having more fun, even when it wasn’t going great,” Spieth said. “My attitude, even when a shot wasn’t going great, was as good as it has been since the Masters.”
But Spieth has not broken 70 in the last round since February and has been under par only once in the last round in his past five tries.
“Fairways are going to be key for me to put aggressive swings on my golf shots,” Spieth said. “I feel like I’m striking the ball well, just trying to stay consistent. Hopefully a few under in the score we post tomorrow is good enough.”
After opening with a three-foot birdie putt, Spieth sank an 11-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth and closed the front nine with a 12-footer fot birdie.
Spieth chipped in from 32 feet for a birdie at the par-5 11th, then left his approach at the par-4 12th inches from the cup for a tap-in birdie to grab the lead at 12-under.
He added a six-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th but missed a nine-footer for par at 18 to settle for a one-shot lead.
Simpson made six birdies and three bogeys but his three-foot par miss at 18 dropped his from the final pairing, leaving Spieth with a pal, Palmer, in the final pairing. They are frequent practice partners and both Texans.
“Everybody will be rooting for both of us to play well,” Spieth said. “It will be exciting.”
Palmer, 39, seeks his fourth career PGA title, the first since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.
This is Palmer’s first time at Colonial since the death of his father Butch last August in a traffic accident.
“I’ve thought about him all week,” Palmer said. “This was his favorite tournament. He has been with me all day, all week. We’re going to go out there tomorrow and give it our best.”