CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT (REUTERS) - Jordan Spieth ended an up-and-down round on a high note, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt at the last on Saturday to carry a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship at River Highlands in Connecticut.
Spieth, who has led since the opening round in a campaign for his first win since the AT&T Pebble Beach tournament in February, had three birdies over his last four holes for a four-under 66 to squeeze ahead of fellow American Boo Weekley.
The closing charge by Spieth followed back-to-back bogeys from the 13th and put him at 12-under 198, while Weekley made five birdies in a bogey-free back nine including the last two holes to shoot 65 for an 11-under total.
Three shots off the pace was American Daniel Berger (66), with Pan Cheng-tsungof Taiwan, who fired a 64 for the low round on a breezy day, Sweden's David Lingmerth (65) and Briton Paul Casey (66) another stroke back.
World No. 6 Spieth, who has struggled of late to regain his top form, confidently poured in his right-to-left breaker on the last green with his sights set on notching a 10th PGA Tour title one month from celebrating his 24th birthday.
"With a few feet to go it was going to have a chance and it curled right in the middle," Spieth told reporters. "That was a loud roar and those are really fun to experience."
Spieth heard some other roars, notably at the par-five sixth where he holed out a chip shot for birdie and at the short par-four 15th where his tee shot settled in a greenside bunker and his sand shot stopped a couple of inches from making two for an eagle.
No player has ever won the Travelers wire-to-wire, and Spieth will be trying for his second career win from start to finish following his 2015 maiden Major triumph at the Masters.
The 43-year-old Weekley, who has slipped to 390th in the world rankings, is gunning for his fourth tour title and first since winning at Colonial in 2013.
World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, frustrated by his recent putting form, auditioned five different putters before Saturday's third round before choosing a half-mallet-styled flat stick.
It did not make a world of difference for the Northern Irishman, who shot 70 for an even-par 210 total that was one stroke inside the cut for Sunday's final round.