Spieth on a roll on uneven, soft greens

Jordan Spieth hitting his tee shot on the 11th hole in the third round at Pebble Beach. His putting was on target and with a six-shot lead, it was his tournament to lose heading into the final round.
Jordan Spieth hitting his tee shot on the 11th hole in the third round at Pebble Beach. His putting was on target and with a six-shot lead, it was his tournament to lose heading into the final round.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN FRANCISCO • Jordan Spieth putted superbly on Pebble Beach's bumpy, rain-softened greens to surge six strokes clear after the third round of the weather-hit AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Saturday.

Joint leader when the fog-delayed second round was completed earlier in the day, the world No. 6 fired a sparkling seven-under 65 on the picturesque Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three venues being used for this week's event.

Spieth, eyeing his ninth PGA Tour victory, needed no more than one putt on 13 of his 18 holes, as he posted a 17-under total of 198 to tighten his grip on the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker, twice the champion at Pebble Beach in 2013 and 2015, carded a 67 on the same layout to finish the day alone in second at 11 under.

Two-time Major champion Spieth has been frustrated by his putting in recent weeks but found his touch on Saturday.

"I hit my lines today," the 23-year-old told Golf Channel. "There were a couple of putts that went in that I thought maybe had a chance to miss but other than that I hit my lines and they rolled right there, which is a huge confidence boost for me.

"It's been something I've been struggling with, my putter this year, compared to what I would call is standard for myself.

"I've been striking the ball really well but my third- and ninth-place finishes were off of very average putting on strokes gained."

He finished third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for ninth at the Phoenix Open in his previous two starts on the PGA Tour.

World No. 1 Jason Day had been tied for the lead at the tournament's halfway point with Spieth and Derek Fathauer but dropped five shots in his first six holes at Pebble Beach on the way to a 73 to end the round at seven-under.

The Australian made a disastrous start on Saturday, with three bogeys and a double bogey in his first six holes.

"It was kind of a tough one for me out there," he said.

"It was just a mistake after mistake on the front side for me and unfortunately, that's sometimes how it goes. To be honest, I just kept on making silly errors and mistakes out there."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'Spieth on a roll on uneven, soft greens'. Print Edition | Subscribe