Spieth’s 65 puts him in front by six shots
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 7-under-par 65 to open up a six-stroke lead going into the final round of the Pebble Beach (Calif.) Pro-Am.
Starting out the third round of the weather-delayed event tied with Jason Day and Derek Fathauer, Spieth never gave anyone else a chance.
Following his only bogey of the round — a 7-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 sixfoot 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 strokes 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.
There were questions as to whether Johnson’s second shot cleared the hazard along the ocean wall. A television replay was not entirely conclusive.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: Fred Couples birdied the final two holes to pull within a stroke of the leaders in the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.
Couples, 57, shot a 7-under 65 to reach 11-under 133 on The Old Course at Broken Sound.
Doug Garwood, Joe Durant, Scott McCarron and first-round leader Olin Browne shared the top spot, all birdieing the par-5 18th. Garwood shot a 64, Durant a 65, McCarron a 66 and Browne a 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.
Bernhard Langer was tied for 54th after a second straight 71. The German star, 59, is coming off a win in the season opener in Hawaii.
Defending champion Esteban Toledo was at 8 under after a 67.
EUROPEAN TOUR: Masters champion Danny Willett shot a 5-under 67 at the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to finish the day three strokes ahead of American David Lipsky heading into Sunday’s final round.
Willett had a 16-under total of 200 after 54 holes in the tournament co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. The 28year-old Lipsky, who shot a 68, is looking for a first title since 2014.
Willett, a 29-year-old from England, has not won a tournament since the 2016 Masters and has only three top-10 finishes since his victory at Augusta.
Jordan Spieth is sitting pretty at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.