Resurgent Spieth 3rd-round leader at Colonial

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Jordan Spieth is aware of the right way to end out of the tough, and nonetheless had the lead after three rounds at Colonial.

After hitting his last drive Saturday into the thick grass on an incline proper of the No. 18 fairway, Spieth recovered with an method to eight ft earlier than rolling within the birdie putt that gave him the solo lead once more over enjoying accomplice Jason Kokrak within the last group on the the Charles Schwab Problem.

Spieth had his second consecutive spherical of 4-under 66 to get to fifteen beneath at Colonial. That put up one stroke forward of Kokrak, who had matched him for the lead with 4 birdies in a six-hole stretch earlier than a closing par in his spherical of 66.

“It is by no means straightforward to win out right here. It is a Saturday,” Speith mentioned. “It is a kind of the place you want to separate your self and get an enormous lead, however then he’ll go make these putts on the again 9, and he is a participant that performs with a number of confidence. Colonial is a superb setting for a great end.”

The resurgent Spieth has the 54-hole lead for a PGA Tour best-matching fourth time this season, all in a span of 11 tournaments. That stretch consists of his win on the Valero Texas Open, the primary time he had received for the reason that 2017 British Open.

They may play once more within the last group Sunday, when Kokrak shall be going towards the native favourite who received Colonial in 2016 and has been the runner-up there two different instances.

“Jordan birdied 13, the par 3 and I walked off the inexperienced, I used to be like, ‘Nicely, I am positively not the favourite right here this week.’ He is a Texas man. I am an Ohio man. It is enjoyable,” Kokrak mentioned. “The crowds are loopy. But it surely’s enjoyable to have an area child and play nicely and him be within the final group, and I might be very happy to spoil it for him tomorrow.”

The 36-year-old Kokrak received his first profession victory within the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas in October. That was after he tied for third at Colonial final June, when the Charles Schwab Problem was performed with out spectators whereas marking the PGA Tour’s resumption of competitors after a 12-week pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sergio Garcia, who was 21 when he received the primary of his 11 PGA Tour victories at Colonial 20 years in the past, was alone in third at 10 beneath after a 68 with one bogey.

Ian Poulter had the perfect spherical of the day with a 64 after getting began with 4 birdies in a five-hole stretch on the entrance 9, shifting up 26 spots right into a tie for fourth at 8 beneath with Sebastian Munoz (70). Two-time coronary heart transplant recipient Erik Compton was tied for sixth at 7 beneath with Brendon Todd and Patton Kizzire.

Halfway by means of the spherical, Spieth had one other restoration out of the best tough, virtually as spectacular as his last gap regardless that that was solely a par.

Coming off his second bogey of the day, Spieth pulled out a driver and missed the green, leaving no shot to the No. 9 inexperienced fronted by water. He punched a shot safely into the green, pitched over the water to 12 ft and rolled within the par putt.

“9 was massive for me. I punched it out after being off line, and received up-and-down for par and it led to a bogey-free, few-under again 9,” Spieth mentioned. “That was an enormous accomplishment. Okay, let’s settle in, let’s make sort of the best selections after which if it begins to really feel higher, then we are able to assault the pins.”

Kokrak, who’s thirty fifth on the earth rating and solely seven spots behind Spieth, birdied the primary two holes of the day to match the lead at 12 beneath.

Spieth made a 13-foot birdie putt on the lengthy, tough par-3 No. 4 gap, however on the No. 5 gap that runs parallel to the Trinity River hit his first two photographs each into the left tough and had first bogey in 41 holes at Hogan’s Alley this week. He received that stroke proper again, and stretched the result in three together with his 21-foot birdie at No. 6, the place Kokrak had his second consecutive bogey.

Each gamers had birdies at No. 15, Kokrak getting even at 13 beneath just for seconds earlier than Spieth’s birdie there. Kokrak caught up at 14 beneath with a 13-foot birdie at No. 17, and was in the course of the green at No. 18 when his enjoying accomplice went manner proper earlier than the birdie that set off an enormous roar from the group.

“It is good to be feeling a number of the hometown help,” Spieth mentioned. “It was a extremely good environment out right here. It is loopy to suppose we had been right here one 12 months in the past with not an individual following. What a distinction a 12 months makes, and hopefully we are able to proceed to progress that manner internationally.”

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