The Commercial Appeal

Spieth builds a big lead at Pebble Beach

Shoots 65 to take six-shot advantage; Snedeker is third


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Jordan Spieth had a performanc­e that matched the magnificen­t views — finally — at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Saturday afternoon.

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 65 to open up a sixshot 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 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 6-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 6-foot par save.

“Those putts scare me,” Spieth said after making a downhill 3-footer for par on No. 4.

But he made them all, except for the 8-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 is playing with Nashville businessma­n Toby Wilt.

“Jordan is going to be out outnumbere­d,” Snedeker said. “We got three Tennessean­s in that group, so it will be a lot of fun to get in there. But the front nine will be huge tomorrow, the first seven holes. I’ve got to go out there and make some birdies and put some pressure on him.”

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 whether Johnson’s second shot ever cleared the hazard along the ocean wall. A television replay was not entirely conclusive.

PGA Champions Tour

BOCA RATON, Fla. - 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 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 64, Durant 65, McCarron 66, and Browne 69. Tom Pernice Jr. had a 64 to match Couples at 11 under.

European/Asian Tour

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Reigning US Masters champion Danny Willett took a three-shot advantage after three rounds of the Maybank Championsh­ip 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.

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.

 ?? MICHAEL MADRID/USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Jordan Spieth hits from a sand trap on the sixth fairway during Saturday’s third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
MICHAEL MADRID/USA TODAY SPORTS Jordan Spieth hits from a sand trap on the sixth fairway during Saturday’s third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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