Jordan Spieth wound back the clock in a scintillating performance to shoot a 10-under-par 61 in the third round of the Phoenix Open.
Spieth shares the lead at 18-under through 54 holes with Xander Schauffele, who hit 6-under. The pair are three shots ahead of Scottie Scheffler and Lee Kyoung-hoon heading into the final day.
Spieth hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in his last 78 tournament starts – a 1,294-day run dating back to the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, when the popular golfer won his third major title.
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In fact, before today’s effort at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona, he hadn’t even led a field after three rounds in 931 days (Since Carnoustie in July 2018), and hadn’t finished in the Top 10 of any event in over a year.
But the former world No. 1, and now world No. 92, carded an equal career-lowest round featuring a career-best 10 birdies and no bogeys.
His approach game was supremely impressive, while his putting from distance more than made up for a round in which the stats showed he was losing strokes off the tee. In fact, his driving accuracy through the first three rounds was the worst of any player in the field – but his strokes gained on approach was the best of the lot.
Spieth told reporters after the round that he expected nerves to be a factor on the final day, but that winning was less important than rediscovering form.
“Yeah, I think I’ll be — I expect myself to be extremely nervous. Again, I mean, I’ve been there a lot of times, but it’s been a long time.
“I can’t stress enough, I don’t feel the need to win. Instead, I feel the need to trust my swing, make progress, and the way it’s gone this week, you know, I can continue to roll in some putts, then hopefully gets to the last few holes and I have a chance to win.”
The golf world went absolutely wild at the return of the forgotten star, who lit up the sport when he won the Masters and US Open back-to-back in 2015.
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